Starting & Charging - Batteries
The vehicle battery provides the charge that starts the engine and powers the accessories. It provides power to the starting system, which cranks your engine, after which the alternator recharges your battery for the next start.
Everything's connected, which means that a problem with one component can sometimes seem like a problem with something else. This section will provide you with more information on how the starting and charging systems work and what to watch for.
How it Works
In addition to the battery, there are two other major components to your vehicle's starting and charging system. And these two components must be in good working order for your vehicle to start and run properly.
- Starter — when you turn the ignition key, you are actually turning on the starter, which then cranks the engine. When a starter isn't working correctly, the engine may start with great difficulty, or not at all. Starter problems may be due to electrical/mechanical failure or outright breakage.
- Alternator — the alternator carries out two important tasks. It recharges your battery while the vehicle is running to keep it at peak starting power. The alternator also works with your battery as a team to operate electrical components, such as headlights, windshield wipers, and more. A malfunctioning alternator can cause electrical components to operate erratically, or even cause your engine to suddenly stop running.
What to Watch for
Our batteries offer advanced features. But if you experience battery trouble, there are a couple of things you may want to check before calling for service.
- Be sure the battery is tightly secured and clean. Vibration caused by an unsecured battery can affect battery life.
- The cables to the battery terminals must be clean and tightly connected. Build up of corrosive elements on the terminals can seriously weaken starting power. (Be sure the side terminals aren't over-tightened as well.)