Hi there, Briohny here from Accelerate Auto Electrics & Air Conditioning on the Sunshine Coast. We don’t usually think much about how our car starts up every morning until the day it doesn’t. In today’s video, we’re going to look at your car’s starting system. We’ll also cover how the different components work together to get you up and running every day. Lastly we will give you some examples of common starting faults and how to identify them. 

Battery

We’ll start with the backbone of your vehicle’s electrical system, the battery.

Essentially, your battery is there to store power for your starting system. Your battery supplies power to the ignition and starting system. It also delivers extra power when the electrical load exceeds the supply of the alternator.

Alternator

The alternator, on the other hand, is your car’s electrical charger. Most people think that their car’s electrical energy comes from their battery, when in fact it’s the alternator that keeps everything powered up. The alternator takes mechanical energy of the car and turns it into electrical energy.

The various components of the alternator are contained in an aluminium housing and generate current for recharging your vehicle’s battery. It’s also responsible for powering the electrical engine components like your ignition coils, fans, lights and parts of the fuel injection system. It also keeps all the creature comforts in your car running, like your air con and radio.

Starter Motor

When it’s time to get your vehicle up and running this is where the starter motor comes in. The starter motor is usually located on the back of the engine or the front of the transmission, depending on your vehicle. In contrast to the alternator, the starter motor uses electrical energy of the car and turns it into mechanical energy.

This energy is used to trigger the ignition, starting the crankshaft to turn, which gets your vehicle up and running. If there’s a problem when any of these three main components of your starting system, chances are you won’t be getting very far.

Common Starting Faults

Some common signs that there is an issue with your starting system are:

  • The engine cranks but doesn’t start, it’s usually an ignition system or immobiliser.
  • You turn the key, and nothing happens, it can be a battery or starter motor.
  • If it takes a long time to crank over, it’s generally a battery or starter motor.
  • If the battery light is lit up on the dash, it’s generally alternator.
  • If the car loses power while you’re driving, or your radio or AC stops, it’s usually your alternator.
  • If you notice any of the signs we’ve mentioned, it’s best to take your vehicle into an auto electrician as soon as possible.

We have a great video that shows examples of these common faults. You can watch it here. 

Here at Accelerate Auto Electrics, we offer a free start and charge test which can identify which component of your car’s starting system is in need of repair or replacement.

If you have any questions about your car’s starting system or you want to find out why your car won’t start, give us a call on 1300 227 353, contact us online or comment below.