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The Importance of your Electrical System

We turn on our vehicles every day with the switch of the ignition, but have you ever stopped to think of how this is possible? It is your vehicle’s electrical system that makes it so. Not only is the electrical system important for starting up your vehicle, but it is also important for keeping your vehicle running as you drive it. In addition, it is the electrical system that is also responsible for the functioning of things such as your headlights, your radio, and your dashboard.

These are a Few of the Main Components of Your Electrical System:

The Battery – The battery is what gives life to all of your electrical components. Without it, your vehicle would not move. The battery is the component that gives power to things such as your alarms, your ignition, your signals, and your lights. Most batteries will need to be replaced every three to five years, potentially more if you live in a colder climate.

The Starter – It is also the battery that provides life to the starter. As the name states, it is the starter that helps to start the car. As a general recommendation, you should turn off as many electrical components (a/c, radio, etc.) as possible when starting your vehicle so that the starter does not become overloaded. The largest user of power in your vehicle, the starter generally lasts for quite a long time.

The Alternator – The alternator is the main source of power whenever the engine is running. It is the alternator that sends electricity to the battery, giving the charge that it needs to run properly. If the alternator is weak, your battery will lose charge quickly and soon, your vehicle will be unable to start.

To prevent any problems with your electrical system, it is highly recommended that you have routine maintenance tasks performed. A checkup of your electrical system is called a “load test” and tests to make sure that your vehicle is generating enough power to give life to all of electrical parts. Regular checkups on your electrical system can help to identify small issues that could affect your vehicles functioning – before they become large issues that prevent you from driving at all.

In addition to checking the alternator and the battery, electrical connections will also be checked. If there are any loose or faulty connections, you may also experience issues with your electrical components. Additionally, your battery will always be checked for signs of corrosion and your alternator will be cleaned to prevent a build-up of dust, dirt, or grease.

If you want your electrical system to run at full capacity, it needs to receive the proper voltage. Low voltages can lead to a variety of issues such as a failure to start, an alternation in controls, and stalling.

 In many cases, we ignore electrical problems until the very last minute. But because the electrical system affects the functioning of so many vehicle components, it is always recommended that you have any problems checked and repaired immediately. Preventative work can help to prevent problems from ever arising in the first place.

See our post about Bosch Launches ‘The Gut Knows’ Brake Campaign.

The Braking System of Your Vehicle

The brakes are by far one of the most important components of your vehicle. If you ever need to stop in a hurry, you will want to make sure that your brakes are working properly. In order for your brakes to work properly, you need to engage in routine maintenance tasks. These tasks are extremely important, mainly because your brakes work very hard to do their job. As such, you need to make sure that they are kept clean and properly lubricated.

 

When your braking system is functioning properly, your vehicle will stop easily and smoothly. If they are not functioning properly, it could affect your safety on the road. As such, you want to make sure that all brake repairs and maintenance tasks are performed by a trustworthy and confident mechanic who uses high quality materials. In addition, once all repairs are completed, you want to make sure you take your vehicle out for a drive to ensure that all issues are resolved.

 

What Components are Included Within Your Braking System?

 

The exact components of your braking system will depend on the make and model of the vehicle that you own. Having said that, most systems will have drum brakes in the back of the system and disk brakes in the front. Also included within the braking system are the brake pads, the rotors, the booster, the cylinders, the discs, the shoes, the drums, and the calipers.

 

 

Each wheel has its own brake that is connected (with tubes and hoses) to the master cylinder or hub.

 

In addition to the components listed above, the braking system also requires fluid to run. Braking fluid is manufactured so that it can withstand extreme temperatures so that it does not over-heat or over-cool.

 

How does the braking system operate? Each time you press the brake pedal, the master cylinder’s plunger is activated. When activated, the fluid is dispensed through the hoses and tubes and into the brakes that are located at each wheel.

 

Another option that most vehicles have is anti-lock braking (ABS). An anti-lock braking system is a good option to have, especially when you need to stop suddenly. Upon sudden stops, ABS prevents the brakes from locking, thereby preventing the vehicle from skidding out of control.

 

There are several different things that may suggest that you need to have your brakes checked:

  • Upon sudden braking your vehicle swerves, skids, or vibrates
  • You hear a grinding sound when you press the brake pedal
  • You experience a gradual reduction in your ability to stop
  • You run out of brake fluid suddenly
  • It is difficult to press down on the brake pedal

 

If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, have your brake system checked immediately. It is extremely important that your brakes are checked as soon as possible when there is a problem. Leaving braking problems to the last minute can put your life in danger.

See our post about The Cooling System in Your Vehicle.

Learning About Auto Fuel Systems

We all care about how our vehicle looks and functions, but most of us couldn’t care less about how the engine operates or any of the mechanics behind the functionality. But sometimes it can be interesting to learn about your vehicle. One question that many ask is “how does fuel reach my engine?” Prior to 1980, it was the carburetor that sent gas from the tank to the engine. Today, it does so through the help of the fuel system.

 

Some may think that the workings of the fuel system are more complicated than they really are. The truth is, it’s very easy to understand how fuel reaches the engine. Simply put, the fuel system collects gas from the fuel tank and transfers it to the cylinder chamber located in the engine. In more detail, the fuel sits in the tank until it is needed. Once it is, it is sprayed into the engine’s cylinder. Once the fuel reaches the cylinder it is vaporized and mixes with the air that is also in the chamber. Soon, the mixture of fuel and air will be burned, giving your vehicle the power it needs to run.

 

There are several different parts that make up the fuel system. Included within these are the tank, the pump, the line, the filter, and the injector. The fuel tank is what holds the fuel and the pump is what transfers the fuel through the filer and lines and into the injector.

 

 

As mentioned previously, the fuel system did not always work as it does now. In earlier days, it was the carburetor that powered the fuel system. However, as vehicles began to evolve, the functioning of the carburetor also needed to change. To be more specific, vehicle updates required manufacturers to add over 7 new circuits to the carburetor, making it way too complicated use. As such, it was eventually replaced with the fuel injection system which was much easier to manufacture, maintain, and repair.

Of course, today’s fuel injection system is significantly more efficient than the carburetor. Not only does it produce better gas mileage, but is also much more precise, injecting the exact amount of fuel that the engine needs.

Without your fuel injection system, your vehicle could not run. If there is a problem with your fuel injection system, your vehicle may not run efficiently. If you have any future issues with your fuel injection system, you should now know exactly where the problems could stem from.

See our post about Your Vehicle’s A/C System.

How to Keep Your Vehicle Looking Like New

Let’s face it, vehicles aren’t cheap. As such, we want to do everything that we can to keep them looking like new. Not only will maintenance of your vehicle make it look good, but it will also improve performance, decrease repair bills, and increase resale value. If you perform small maintenance tasks regularly, keeping your vehicle in tip-top condition will be easy. Here are a few things that you may want to consider doing on a regular basis if you want to keep your car looking like new:

1) Clean and wax the exterior – Cleaning the exterior of your vehicle won’t just make it shine, but it will also help to prevent the paint from rusting. To clean your vehicle properly, start with a good wash and scrub to remove any built-up dirt or grime. In addition to washing the body of the car, also be sure that you remove any dust from the wheels. Once washed, give your vehicle time to dry. Then, wax it. As you go about cleaning and waxing, be sure to pay attention to areas that might often be neglected (such as the trim).

2) Vacuum once a week – Every time we step into our vehicle we load it with dirt from our shoes. If we don’t clean it regularly, this dirt can quickly build-up until our vehicle becomes almost unbearable to sit in. Always be sure to vacuum the seats, the floors, and spots that are difficult to reach (in the seats, under the seats). In addition, pay close attention to the floor mats which accumulate the greatest amount of dirt.

3) Wash your headlights – If you don’t wash your headlights, they can quickly become a victim of oxidation. When this happens, they can become foggy and dimmed, failing to do their job properly. And while they can be cleaned after becoming discolored, headlights are much easier to clean if maintained regularly. Before wasting any money on headlight cleaner, try toothpaste – it works wonders!

4) Clean the inside – Clean the inside of your vehicle just as often as you clean the outside. Use a damp cloth to clean seats, dashboards, and paneling. In addition, use protectant to help preserve your fabrics.

Not only should you follow the tips above, but you should also have your upholstery detailed one or two times each year. In addition, use engine shampoo every few months to remove any grime that is built-up on engine parts.

If you want to keep your vehicle looking and running like new, you need to treat it good. Keeping it clean is just one of the many ways that you can help preserve your vehicles youthfulness and beauty.

See our post about Preventative Maintenance for your Vehicle.