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: June 27, 2018
The charging system will normally consist of two major components: An Alternator which actually supplies the necessary electrical current in order to charge the battery, and a Voltage Regulator. The latter insures that the system does not overcharge the battery, and that the correct system voltage is maintained. Most vehicles produced within the last 20-30 years use a voltage regulator which is an integral part of the alternator itself. This article assumes that your vehicle uses this type of alternator.
If the car's dashboard battery light comes on, you might be able to make it home or to a service facility for a repair. The car will continue running as long as some juice is left in the battery, but if the charging system isn't working or you have a bad alternator, your car's engine will stop running once the battery is drained. If you turn off the engine, you won't be able to restart it if the battery doesn't have enough charge left to power the engine's starter motor.