Your Cars Electrical System

Written by Kevin Schappell

Whenrepparttar automotive industry was in its infancy, it used electricity only to igniterepparttar 102756 fuel insiderepparttar 102757 engine. Byrepparttar 102758 late 1920's,repparttar 102759 electric starter replacedrepparttar 102760 hand crank, electric headlights made acetylene lamps obsolete andrepparttar 102761 braying ofrepparttar 102762 electric horn drowned outrepparttar 102763 squeak ofrepparttar 102764 hand-squeezed air horn. Today, an automobile requires an elaborate electrical system of circuits just to produce, store, and distribute allrepparttar 102765 electricity it requires simply for everyday operation. The first major component inrepparttar 102766 electrical system isrepparttar 102767 battery. The battery is used to store power for starting, and for running auxiliary devices such as clocks, radios and alarms whenrepparttar 102768 engine is off. The next major component isrepparttar 102769 starter motor, which is used to startrepparttar 102770 engine. The third component is a charging device powered byrepparttar 102771 engine, known asrepparttar 102772 alternator. It powersrepparttar 102773 electrical system whenrepparttar 102774 car is running, and restoresrepparttar 102775 charge withinrepparttar 102776 battery. With these basic components,repparttar 102777 car maintains its supply of electricity. A device calledrepparttar 102778 voltage regulator keepsrepparttar 102779 power level stabilized, andrepparttar 102780 fuse box keeps minor problems from becoming major ones. Many different auxiliary electrical devices are used in modern cars, such as: radios, cellular phones, rear window defrosters and electric door locks, as well as a vast array of motors powering everything fromrepparttar 102781 moon roof on down. The above information is directly fromrepparttar 102782 Auto Insight program, which you can buy online from Common Problems: ·The battery is usuallyrepparttar 102783 first part ofrepparttar 102784 system to wear out. Most batteries last between 3 and 7 years depending on brand and design. Batteries can be fine on minute, and deadrepparttar 102785 next. More on this later. ·Blown fuse: Is one part ofrepparttar 102786 electrical system not working likerepparttar 102787 interior lights or dash lights? The first thing to check isrepparttar 102788 fuses. Look forrepparttar 102789 fuse panel underrepparttar 102790 dash, inrepparttar 102791 glove box, or even inrepparttar 102792 engine compartment in some cars. Most fuse boxes will be labeled by circuit. Modern cars use a blade type fuse which is rectangular in shape and transparent. Look forrepparttar 102793 wire, which runs throughrepparttar 102794 fuse, and see if it is burned through. Any discoloring ofrepparttar 102795 fuse is a good signrepparttar 102796 fuse has blown. If you have doubts, replace with a new fuse and testrepparttar 102797 system, which is not working. ·Alternator: Does your car start ok, but your headlights dim when idling. It could be a bad alternator. Whenrepparttar 102798 alternator cannot produce enough electricity to keeprepparttar 102799 electrical systems running andrepparttar 102800 battery will have to be used to take uprepparttar 102801 slack. This will eventually wear downrepparttar 102802 battery and not allow your car to start. Troubleshooting: I don't think there is a tougher system to troubleshoot on your car thanrepparttar 102803 charging/starting system. This is due torepparttar 102804 fact that there are many things that can go wrong and it's tough to test some components without special equipment. Let's go over some possible situations and their possible causes. ·Car won't start, all I hear is a click butrepparttar 102805 engine does not turn. oFirst check all battery cables for corrosion as this will keep power from flowing freely torepparttar 102806 starting system. If they are dirty, clean with a wire brush and reattach. Apply a light coat of grease torepparttar 102807 top ofrepparttar 102808 terminals to prevent further corrosion. oBattery could not have enough power stored in it to spinrepparttar 102809 engine. This can be caused by a bad cell inrepparttar 102810 battery or from a bad alternator not chargingrepparttar 102811 battery whenrepparttar 102812 engine is running. If you can getrepparttar 102813 car to a mechanic, have him or her testrepparttar 102814 battery and charging system with a special tester. This tester places a load onrepparttar 102815 battery and can tellrepparttar 102816 condition. They can also check to see ifrepparttar 102817 alternator is working to it's full potential. oStarter or solenoid could be bad. If you can not jump startrepparttar 102818 car and all ofrepparttar 102819 battery cables are ok then suspectrepparttar 102820 starter.

Your Drive Train Explained

Written by Kevin Schappell

The drive train serves two functions: it transmits power fromrepparttar engine torepparttar 102755 drive wheels, and it variesrepparttar 102756 amount of torque. "Power" isrepparttar 102757 rate or speed at which work is performed. "Torque" is turning or twisting force. Multiple ratio gearboxes are necessary becauserepparttar 102758 engine delivers its maximum power at certain speeds, or RPM (Rotations Per Minute). In order to userepparttar 102759 same engine RPM's at different road speeds, it is necessary to changerepparttar 102760 "Gear Ratio" betweenrepparttar 102761 engine andrepparttar 102762 drive wheels. Just like a bicycle,repparttar 102763 car has to switch gears in order to move at a wide range of speeds. Unlike your bicycle,repparttar 102764 car's drivetrain also has to allow you to back up. (Well, you could push it backwards if you ate your Wheaties) There are actually two sets of gears inrepparttar 102765 drive train;repparttar 102766 transmission andrepparttar 102767 differential. The transmission allowsrepparttar 102768 gear ratio to be adjusted, andrepparttar 102769 differential letsrepparttar 102770 drive wheels turn at different speeds. Manual transmissions usually have four or five speeds, and often have "overdrive", which means thatrepparttar 102771 output shaft can turn faster thanrepparttar 102772 input shaft for fuel economy onrepparttar 102773 highway. Some use an electric clutch and a switch that controls whetherrepparttar 102774 overdrive is engaged or not. An interesting development on a few cars isrepparttar 102775 "clutchless" manual transmission, which uses a stick shift and an automatic electric clutch. Speed and position sensors, mini computers, and throttle controls keeprepparttar 102776 engine from over-revving whenrepparttar 102777 driver shifts gears. As with many automotive "inventions", this is an old idea, which may now reach feasibility due torepparttar 102778 computer revolution. Automatic transmissions commonly use three forward gears to blend speed and torque. Inrepparttar 102779 case of a three-speed transmission, first gear delivers maximum torque and minimum speed for starting. Second gear offers medium torque and speed for acceleration and hill climbing. Third gear allows maximum speed with minimum torque for highway travel. A reverse gear permits backward movement. A transmission is a speed and power-changing device installed at some point betweenrepparttar 102780 engine and driving wheels of a vehicle. It provides a means for changingrepparttar 102781 ratio between engine RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) and driving wheel RPM to best meet each particular driving situation. Some types of drive train layouts use a "Transaxle", which is simply a combination ofrepparttar 102782 transmission andrepparttar 102783 differential. These are usually found on front wheel drive cars, but are also used on mid- and rear-engine cars. Some exotic cars have their engine inrepparttar 102784 front, and a transaxle inrepparttar 102785 rear ofrepparttar 102786 car for better weight balance. Torque is derived from power. The amount of torque obtainable from a source of power is proportional torepparttar 102787 distance fromrepparttar 102788 center of rotation at which it is applied. It is logical, then, that if we have a shaft (in this case,repparttar 102789 crankshaft) rotating at any given speed, we can put gears of different sizes onrepparttar 102790 shaft and obtain different results. If we put a large gear onrepparttar 102791 shaft, we will get more speed and less power atrepparttar 102792 rim than with a small gear. If we place another shaft parallel to our driving shaft and install gears on it in line with those onrepparttar 102793 driving shaft, we can obtain almost any desired combination of speed or power withinrepparttar 102794 limits ofrepparttar 102795 engine's ability. That is exactly what an automobile transmission does by means of gears and other devices. There are two types of transmissions; manual and automatic. If you have a manual transmission, you have to shiftrepparttar 102796 gears yourself, usually with a stick located on your console andrepparttar 102797 clutch pedal. If you have an automatic transmission,repparttar 102798 mechanism changes without any help from you. This is accomplished through a system that works by oil pressure. Each shift ofrepparttar 102799 gears is controlled by a shift valve;repparttar 102800 gears shift change depending on speed,repparttar 102801 road, and load conditions.

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