Interested in Online Automotive Training? Discover the Ins and Outs of Car Electrical Systems

As an aspiring mechanic, you are probably very familiar with different car engines, models, and parts. But how much do you know about automotive electrical systems? 

Electrical systems are an important part of the course for students enrolled in online automotive training. You could learn about how a car generates power to keep moving, how to fix a car with a faulty electrical system, or how to help drivers’ enhance a car’s battery life.

Read on to find out more about car electrical systems and how they work. 

What is a Car Electrical System?

An automotive electrical system includes the battery, the starter, and the alternator. All of these parts work together to generate power to start the car and keep it moving. From the moment that you turn on the ignition, the battery supplies power to the starter motor. The starter motor then rotates the flywheel, turns the crankshaft, and triggers the engine’s piston to start moving. 

The alternator keeps the battery charging while the engine is running.  This means that a car with a faulty alternator might be able to start, but it might struggle to keep working, as the battery will quickly lose charge and the engine will lose power. 

While the car is on, current is flowing throughout the car in a single direction, from the battery to the powered component and back. Almost like a human heart pumping blood around the body! 

Spotting Electrical System Problems When You Become an Auto Mechanic 

When you become an auto mechanic, you might be asked to inspect and repair a car with a faulty electrical system. Here are some telltale signs that may point to common issues:

  • Engine light – if the engine light is off or flickering, this is a sign that the battery power is weak 
  • Slow to start – if the engine is slow or sluggish to start, this could be a problem with the electrical system 
  • Low battery fluid level – if the fluid level is lower than the lead plates, the battery and charging system need to be tested
  • Battery leak – if liquid is leaking from the battery, it might need to be replaced
  • Old age – car batteries have a life span of 3-5 years, so regular checks are required after three years 

Even in situations where the electrical system appears to be running fine, regularly looking for these problems when servicing vehicles can help to ensure that your customers don’t break down.

Checking the car’s electrical system will avoid future breakdowns

How to Improve an Electrical System’s Lifespan 

A number of things can damage car electrical systems over time, and most batteries and electrical systems have a lifespan of 3-5 years. However, there are a few good practices you can suggest to car owners after automotive training to help prolong a system’s life and reduce the risk of problems. 

For one thing, extreme temperatures, both the scorching heat and freezing cold, can seriously affect a car’s electrical system. Encourage car owners to check their cars after a hot summer or harsh winter. When it’s zero degrees or less, a car’s battery might have 50% less power than normal, so advise customers to be cautious when driving in freezing temperatures.

As well as this, only using a car for short 20-minute journeys can prevent the battery from being able to recharge fully. Suggest that car owners take their vehicle out on both long and short drives where possible. 

And lastly, always encourage customers to make sure that all lights or power adaptors are switched off and unconnected when the car is switched off. Otherwise, the car battery can drain, and it won’t be able to start. 

Do you want to find out more about automotive careers?

Contact ATC Montreal to learn about online training!

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