If you have got an imported car for yourself and your family, it is better to have a basic understanding of its electrical system to not go to your car dealer every now and then to solve small problems that keep arising with usage. This is also prudent from the point of view of saving your hard earned money as you can be charged heavily for a minor problem that you can rectify on your own at home. If you have some basic knowledge of physics, it is easy to deal with the electrical snags arising in your car. The electrical system in your imported car comprises its battery, alternator, and the starter of the car.
No matter what car you are using, its battery is the backbone of its electrical system. It is mostly a lead acid battery contained in a plastic box where there are separate plates made of lead to indicate positive and negative charge. There are terminals to which these plates are connected and it is through these terminals that power is supplied to your car. Without this 12V battery, it is impossible to start the engine of your imported car. The plates of the battery are separated by insulators and immersed in a liquid called electrolyte (a mixture of water and H2SO4). There is always reaction between the lead plates and this electrolyte that produces gases. These gases are allowed to escape through holes in the cover of the battery.
If the car is not taking self, it is most probably the result of a low battery. You require a volt ohm meter to check the condition of the battery. If the meter shows low voltage, you require a battery charger to charge the battery to start the car. However, if the battery is quite old, you may be required to replace the battery altogether with a new one. For proper maintenance, check the level of electrolyte frequently and replenish it regularly. Also, see that the battery is properly secured as vibrations tend to lower the life of a battery.
It is the alternator fitted in your imported car that allows the car to make use of the stored energy in your car battery. It also keeps on charging the car battery. All electrical accessories and the ignition of the car make use of the power produced by this alternator that is AC but converted into DC later. The workload on the alternator decides its life. If you listen to stereo a lot and even watch movies in your car, you are putting too much of load on your alternator to cause its death in 3-4 years. Shortened life of alternator also leads to prematurely dead battery. Alternator is required for drawing current for various electrical activities such as using rear window defogger, blower, wipers on the windshield, ignition, brake lights, headlights, and so on.
Check the belt tension of the alternator drive belt frequently to prevent it from going dead prematurely. Before spring every season, do not forget to get the charging system of your car checked by your mechanic.
Starter of the car is used only a few times in a day but is very important part of the electrical system of your imported car. If connections are properly made and do not get overheated with deposition of dirt and grime, starter should keep on working for a long time. Do not try to turn on the car with other components like AC, blower, and stereo etc on to reduce the load on the starter.
Keep the load on the electrical system checked frequently to prevent any major breakdown.