American Tire and Service
Serving Rio Rancho, Sandoval and Bernalillo Counties
Batteries and Electrical System
Let’s face it: you may have the most beautiful vehicle on the road in the Albuquerque or Rio Rancho area, but it won’t start without the right battery, and it has to be properly installed and appropriately fit for your vehicle. Your car battery does more than help get you from point “A” to point “B”, it makes other systems, from your ignition to door locks, work properly.
Here’s a brief overview of the electrical system that makes transportation happen:
- Battery: Your car or truck’s battery is made up of a series of lead plates submerged in a 35% sulfuric acid/65% water solution. Your 12-volt battery then houses a chemical reaction that releases electrons through conductors; that produces electricity which is then channeled into your vehicle’s electrical system. The battery supplies electricity to all of the electrical system components, including the essential power required to start your vehicle. In periods of high demand, the battery also supplements power from the charging system.
- Charging System: The charging system is the life force of your vehicle’s electrical system, consisting of three main mechanisms: the alternator, various circuits, and the voltage regulator. The alternator does two things:
- Provides power to the electrical system, and
- Recharges the battery when the car is running.
The circuits act as conduits for electrical power. The voltage regulator controls the voltage passed through the circuits. Remember, all of these components require consistent attention and maintenance. It’s not just your battery that needs to be replaced; if any of the electrical components fail, your vehicle’s power source becomes a lifeless, twenty pound paper weight.
- Starting System: Sure, you’d expect that starting system is what turns your vehicle’s engine on, but did you know that this process actually consumes more electrical power than anything else your car or truck does? The starting system is made up of three components that work one right after another. These components are made up of the ignition switch, the starter relay (also called the solenoid), and the starter motor.
- Here’s how it works: When you turn the ignition, it causes a small amount of current to pass through the starter relay, causing a stronger current to flow through the battery cables and into the starter motor. The starter motor then cranks the engine, forcing the piston to create enough suction to draw a mixture of fuel and air into the cylinder. Then, the ignition system creates a spark which ignites the mixture and presto, your engine starts! If your vehicle doesn’t do that, call American Tire and Service in Rio Rancho for battery replacement or electrical system repairs.