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Automotive Q & A

Starting and Charging Systems

Question: How do starting and charging systems work?

Answer: Your vehicle’s starting system consists of two parts: the electric starter motor and a starter solenoid. Turning your key in the ignition triggers the starting system by sending power from the battery to the starter solenoid. The starter solenoid then activates the starter motor, which spins the engine a few times to turn it on. Charging systems deliver electrical energy to power your vehicle while it’s running and sustains the battery’s charge. Your vehicle’s charging system consists of three parts: the battery, the alternator, and the voltage regulator. The battery supplies the necessary electrical power to start your engine. The alternator generates the electrical currents to power everything electrical in the car, while the regulator controls the voltage of the currents. The voltage regulator also makes sure the battery stays fully charged. When the battery has lost its charge, the voltage regulator will signal the alternator to recharge the battery.

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