How does my starting system work?

An electric starter motor and a starter solenoid make up your vehicle's starting system. The starter solenoid is the electrical switch, activated by the ignition system when you turn the key, which engages the starter motor. The starter motor spins the engine a few times so the internal combustion process can begin.

How does my charging system work?

Your vehicle's charging system consists of three primary components: the battery, the alternator and the voltage regulator.

The battery supplies electrical power for your vehicle while starting and during periods of high electrical loads. It also acts as a shock absorber for the electrical system by smoothing out any voltage spikes before they get to the computer.

The alternator and voltage regulator provides power to the vehicle while the engine is running and maintains the battery's charge. The voltage regulator monitors the battery's state of charge and directs the alternator to recharge the battery as necessary.

What does my car have trouble starting in extremely cold weather?

Cold temperatures severely reduce the effectiveness of chemical reactions within the battery and increase the battery's internal resistance. As the temperature drops, so does the battery's cranking power. Cars also require additional cranking power in cold weather because the motor oil is thicker, which makes the engine harder to turn over. Weak batteries are also susceptible to freezing, which damages internal components and containers.

Does extreme heat affect my battery's performance?

Heat is the primary cause of battery failure. It causes the water in the battery's electrolytes to evaporate, making the positive plate grids corrode more rapidly.

Battery life varies from vehicle to vehicle and is based on a variety of factors. Batteries are manufactured to last anywhere from two to five years, but exposure to heat, vibration and malfunctioning components of your vehicle's electrical system can shorten the battery's useful life.

Whether you have problems starting your car or questions about batteries, solenoids and regulators, stop by Tuffy East Colonial today for a complete starting and charging evaluation.