In response to another question about windscreen wipers running slowly on my car, someone wrote:
"I'd have a free charging system check performed on that vehicle asap."
I'm not sure if that post was from the US or UK (I'm in the UK).
If it is in the UK, would my regular mechanic likely do it, or is it only larger garages that'd do it for free?
Thanks so much -- this board is great!
The charging system on any car has the following things.
The battery, which is like a bank account, it holds electrical energy for starts, which take the most voltage, to spin the starter motor, which starts the engine.
The alternator, which runs while the engine is ruining, to produce electrical power, to run the system, and to put a charge back into the battery, to keep it topped up.
The voltage regulator, which decides how much the alternator needs to produce, to make everything run nicely.
It is like a circle, with the energy being produced by the alternator and used to fire the spark plugs and power the radio and all the other electrical parts, and the excess being put back into the battery, for future use. All of the system components have to work together to make it all run properly.
Signs of problems with the charging system can be..... dim headlights, slow turn signal flashing, heater motor running slower than normal, and of course, failure to start at all.
A charging system test is not just a test of the battery alone. It has to check all of the parts of the system, including the alternator, voltage regulator, wiring and battery connections. A corroded battery terminal or cable, can prevent enough power getting to the starter motor, to make the car not start. The starter motor draws the MOST power of any part in the electrical system in the car.
Most modern repair garages have a charging system tester that will diagnose the problem, and point to what needs to be replaced, to make it right, again. Don't just start buying parts, know what it needs by doing a proper test, first.
Jim B. Toronto. Otnario. Canada,
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