The human body runs on various systems. We have our circulatory system, skeletal system, respiratory system, and so on. We need each system to work properly to remain healthy. Our vehicles are the same. They contain a series of systems that work together to keep it functioning properly. Each system needs to be properly maintained and taken care of.

This is the eighth in a series of blogs we will be posting about the various vehicle systems and their function. Please also see:

Vehicle Systems: The Brake SystemVehicle Systems: The Exhaust System
Vehicle Systems: Belts and HosesVehicle Systems: Fuel System
Vehicle Systems: Emission SystemVehicle Systems: Lighting and Wipers
Vehicle Systems: The Engine Cooling System  


Your car’s battery, along with the starting and charging systems, helps ensure reliable vehicle operation in various driving conditions. These systems should be checked regularly.

Parts of the battery, starting and charging system include:

  • Alternator
  • Battery
  • Belts
  • Ignition coil(s)
  • Ignition module
  • Spark plugs
  • Spark plug wires
  • Starter

Your battery stores electrical energy and the starter converts energy into mechanical force to turn the engine for starting. The alternator produces an electrical current to replace what the starter used from the battery in start-up to support electrical loads when the engine is running. An ignition module turns the low-voltage supply to the ignition coil on and off, and the coil produces the high voltage for the ignition system. This creates the spark at the spark plugs igniting the air/fuel mixture in the engine. A belt will transmit power from the front of the engine to the alternator’s pulley, along with other accessories. If any part of this system fails, you won’t be able to start the car or use any of its electrical components (radio, lights, electric windows, etc.).


Your driving habits, such as frequent engine on/off cycles can cause more wear on the starter than a trip back and forth to work.  Driving and weather conditions, vehicle mileage, vehicle age, and excessive electrical draws like in-vehicle entertainment systems, will also have an effect on the amount of wear.

Signs that it is time to have maintenance performed include:

  • Car doesn’t start or struggles to start
  • Electrical components don’t work well (lights dim, or flicker, windows roll down slower than normal)
  • “Check Engine” and/or battery light comes on

To avoid being stranded on the side of the road or stuck in a parking lot with a car that won’t start, bring your car into Meridian Automotive and have it serviced as soon as you notice any of these symptoms.

Meridian Automotive provides complete automotive repair in Meridian, Idaho, for most cars, light trucks, and SUV’s. For over 20 years we’ve been Meridian’s auto repair experts. Don’t just trust anyone with your automotive repair needs, trust the experts at Meridian Automotive. Call us today (208) 297-5573 or schedule an appointment online.

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