If you’ve ever had to jump-start a car, you already know that the battery is a critical part of the charging system. What you might not know, though, is that it’s not solely responsible for keeping your car “charged up.” Your car has an entire charging system, and it includes the battery, alternator, voltage regulator and more!
While this system is essential year-round, it’s especially crucial during colder weather.
Here’s what you need to know about your car’s charging system, and how to keep it in great shape as winter sets in.
The Importance of the Charging System
As the name might imply, the charging system powers your car’s electrical components. While most people associate automobiles with gasoline, cars use electricity to start up and head down the road. If a vehicle were powered by an ordinary battery, it would run down quite quickly. Because of this, cars have a rechargeable battery system that keeps the engine running.
The charging system has three primary components. These are as follows:
- The alternator. The alternator includes a starter, which is a set of wire coil windings that house a rotor.
- The voltage regulator. The voltage regulator regulates the voltage produced by the alternator and keeps it between 13.5-14.5 volts, which protects the engine’s electrical components.
- The battery (or batteries, in the case of larger engines). The batteries in a car work very similarly to the batteries in a traditional system: they provide the jolt of electricity needed to provoke electrical components to work.
Caring for Your Car’s Charging System
As the winter months close in, many people become concerned about their car’s’ charging system. And rightfully so – dead batteries are a common occurrence during cooler weather.
Fortunately, you can cut down on the likelihood of a vehicle that won’t start with these simple tips:
- Keep your car out of the cold, if you can. If you have a garage, park your car inside it during the winter. This helps prevent excess strain on your charging system and protects your battery from being drained by chilly temperatures.
- Keep your battery clean. When the cool temperatures set in, your engine oil thickens. This makes the battery work harder. As it does, grime and corrosion on the battery terminals can enhance the resistance. Because of this, it’s essential to keep your battery clean. Check your terminals for a white residue. If you see buildup, use a damp cloth to wipe the residue away and keep your battery running strong.
- Conduct regular auto maintenance. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. With this in mind, see your Pensacola auto repair specialist regularly. They’ll be able to check in on your charging system and catch small issues before they become big ones.
Does your car need a cool weather check-up? Contact our team today to book an appointment.