Electrical and Lights

By David Sturtz, June 11, 2008

A vehicle's electrical system is a combination of the charging, starting, computer, ignition, and lighting systems.

The heart of a car's electrical system is the alternator, which keeps the battery charged. Together, they supply all of the electrical needs of the vehicle.

The starter is an electrical motor that uses power from the vehicle’s battery in order to start the engine. When you turn the ignition key, current is sent from the battery directly to the starter, which cranks the engine’s flywheel. More >>

The alternator produces the electrical power needed to recharge the battery and power the vehicle’s electrical system while the engine is running. Depending on its size, an alternator can produce 150 amps or more to power the vehicle's electrical system. Normal operating voltage is between 13.5 and 14.5 volts. More >>

Key Component — Battery

The battery stores and supplies the electrical energy used by the starter to initially start the engine. When the vehicle is running, the battery serves as backup power if the alternator cannot meet the electrical demands of the vehicle. More >>

Additional Key Parts

Ignition switch, Fuse box, Head lights, Alternator, Starter


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