Understanding the Basic Car Electrical System

car electricalUnderstanding the working of the electrical system in a car doesn’t have to be difficult. A car’s electrical system is composed of three main components which are the battery, starter, and the alternator. The battery works towards powering the starter. On the other hand, the alternator gives the battery the energy it needs to power the vehicle. If one of these parts are not working properly, your car will not be able to start correctly. If you are faced with an electrical problem, it’s time to call an expert technician to work towards restoring normalcy in your car.

That said, you need to understand the essential and different electrical components that make up a vehicle. Here we go.

Understanding AC/DC

When we talk about electricity, we are basically referring the flow of electrons through a circuit. This flow creates two ends, where one is positive, and the other is negative. There are two basic types of electricity – the alternating current (AC) and the direct current (DC). When batteries are discharged, they produce a constant DC power. When we supply electrical power through the positive terminal to the negative one, we are charging.

Most of the automotive components will need DC charge to work properly. Because batteries will at the very last discharge completely, the issue of alternator comes in. Alternators are just small cells that are responsible for turning mechanical energy into electrical one. Alternators are driven by the engine belts and are responsible for charging the batteries. A big issue with electrical components in a vehicle is that not all of these components can tolerate the same amount of current all the time. This is where the issue of regulators comes in.


car batteryThe first and most important electrical component in a vehicle is the battery. Until the vehicle starts, the battery works at providing your car with electrical current. It supplies electric power to the ignition and the fuel systems. These two parts are responsible for providing and creating the combustion that is necessary for the engine to function.


A starter is next component we shall talk about. The starter is the element that gets your engine going. It takes its power from the battery. When the battery supplies power to the starter motor, the motor rotates the flywheel. The flywheel is responsible for turning the crankshaft which begins to move the engine pistons. Sometimes the engine might misfire if it is not getting the sufficient power from the starter. Any battery problem could sufficiently affect the engine.

The Alternator

When the engine is in a running state, it is the work of the alternator to keep the battery charged and power all the electrical systems. Your vehicle may be able to start with a faulty alternator, but might not be able to run for an extended time. If the alternator requires being replaced, the electrical system of your vehicle will perform dismally. The battery will discharge since it won’t have any component to charge it up.  You can perform a complete electrical system check to see if all parts are working properly.