Getting To Know Your Car’s Electrical System

Getting To Know Your Car’s Electrical System

Your car just won’t start. You furiously try to turn the key and hope and pray that it starts but it doesn’t. Most people will blame the battery.

They’ll think that this electrical problem is simply due to the dead battery.

In some cases, that may be true but not for all. You see, the battery is just a part of your electrical system. There are other components that make the system run such as the starter and alternator.

So before you blame the batteries every time your car won’t start, get to know the other parts of your car’s electrical system first.

Car Electrical System Parts


The battery is the heart of your car’s electrical system. It supplies the power to the starter and ignition system. Until the vehicle starts, it will be the source of electrical current for your entire vehicle. It may also provide extra power when the supply provided by the alternator is not enough to meet the electrical demand.

Whenever you go for car maintenance or car checks, make sure that the mechanics also check the battery and the connections. It is also best to replace the battery if you have been using it for 3 years. Although it may still be able to carry a charge, it may not be as efficient and reliable as a new one.


Even if the power is provided by the battery, it is the starter that gets the engine going. Without a working starter, the engine would not begin to function. The battery gives a small amount of power to the starter to start the motor. When you start the car, the starter is responsible for rotating the flywheel, which will then cause the crankshaft to turn. This will start the movement of the engine’s pistons.

Starters don’t have an exact lifespan. They can fail at any time but there may be warning signs. Have your mechanics test if the starter is still capable of drawing the right amount of current.

When it draws an excessive amount of current, then that would mean that the starter has worn out. On the other hand, if it draws a lower amount, it is possible that the cables or connections are already corroded.


The alternator is responsible for keeping the battery charged when the engine is already running. Although you can still start a car with a faulty alternator, the car won’t run for a long time. If you observe that the electrical system performs erratically, there may be a need to replace the alternator. Similarly, the battery will also be discharged and the engine loses power when the alternator needs replacement.

Aside from the alternator itself, the alternator’s drive belt should also be checked because a loose one can reduce the output of the alternator. This can mean your battery won’t get charged.

Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start

Now that you’ve learned about the car’s electrical system, you’ll notice that there is so much more to the car’s electrical system and it’s not just the battery. There are actually different reasons why your car won’t start and they are as follows:

Note: If you think there is a problem with your electrical system, always consider having it done by a professional especially if you don’t really know much about it. It is a dangerous DIY repair because you can accidentally get electrocuted.

Dead Battery

Yes, a dead battery is the most common reason why the car won’t start. It can be due to draining the battery because a wire is loose, you left a light on for a long time, there is poor conductivity or your battery is old. Try to jump-start your car.

If that works, then it is likely that your battery is the culprit and might need a replacement. However, if your battery is fairly new, first consider cleaning the connections or have someone else do that for you.

Faulty Ignition Switch

Another thing to consider when your car won’t start is the ignition switch. Try to turn your lights on and if you succeed, then the batteries are fine.

It may just be due to the bad ignition switch that’s hindering you from getting your car to start.

Broken Starter

Another common reason for not being able to start the car is a broken starter. You can identify that the starter is the culprit when you start the vehicle and hear clicking sounds instead of the car starting.

Fuel Filter Clog

When you start your car, it needs gasoline to reach the engine for the engine to work. If the fuel filter is clogged, there won’t be enough fuel to reach the engine so the car can properly start.

Fuel filters are usually replaced every 10,000 or 15,000 miles traveled.

Empty Gas Tank

Similar to the fuel filter clog, having an empty tank will hinder you from starting your vehicle. If you don’t have enough gas, the engine won’t run no matter how many times you try to start your car.

Always check your fuel meter to prevent running out of gas while on the road.

Speedy Fleet Towing

Speedy Fleet Towing Service is a fully insured and certified roadside service company with services for Cleveland Ohio and the surrounding communities. We operate on a 24/7 basis and take pride in our full suite of tow trucks and equipment to address your unique Road Assistance situation.

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