It’s easy to take automobile electrical systems for granted, as many drivers in Forest Lake do. Even as professional mechanics, we understand, as we’ve come to rely on electrical components in our everyday lives. Let’s take a closer look at your car’s electronic ecosystem and give you a better idea of how it all operates.
Common Electrical Elements in Cars
1. The Starter
Turn the key, or push the ignition button. The starter cranks the engine. Your car’s starter might be located on the back of the engine or on the front of the transmission. Its performance depends on pulling the correct amount of current.
2. The Alternator
This important component of your car’s electrical network generates the current that recharges the battery, and it helps with other electrical loads across the system. A loose alternator belt can reduce output and run down your battery.
3. The Battery
Most drivers understand how a car battery stores and supplies power to the electrical system. However, it also takes over when loads exceed the alternator’s supply. Car batteries should be replaced every two or three years.
4. The Distributor
The distributor lives up to its name by distributing voltage to engine cylinders and allocating spark plug current. Often, replacing the distributor cap and rotor can significantly improve engine performance.
5. The Computer
This network holds your car’s electrical ecosystem together. Most vehicles manufactured after 1995 rely on a Controller Area Network (CAN). The CAN is a series of wires, sensors, and software running throughout a car. It’s also in charge of electronic control units (devices that manage electrical elements), and it acts as a self-diagnostic system. How smart is the average CAN?
- It directs communication between different electronic control units.
- The CAN network continually circulates critical data.
- Processing power can handle up to 2,000 signals.
- It all works without a routing system or central hub.
When the doors lock as you pull out of the driveway, that’s just one of a thousand examples of your car’s computer system doing its job. The network keeps everything running smoothly and keeps you safe on the road.
A Word of Caution
DIY work on a car’s electrical system isn’t as easy as changing the oil. When you need the best mechanics in Minnesota, swing by our Forest Lake shop or any of our Kennedy Transmission locations. We’re the region’s go-to choice for auto service and repairs, and we’re proud to be at your service.