There are different kinds of actuators, some of which work with magnets that are actuated by coils and springs. Find out how stepper motors work with help from an ASE-certified mechanic in this free video on car actuators.
Good afternoon, my name is Tom Brintzenhofe, Certified Master Mechanic out of Reading, Pennsylvania. Today, I'm going to talk a little bit about how does an actuator work. Now, there's tons of different kinds of actuators out there. You have ones for door locks. You even have some right now for after market. When you take the door handles off; you hit your remote and it opens the door handle for you. You have actuators that controls your your throttle, I mean your air intake for your idle. You have actuators for for controllin' a lot of different things in your vehicle. There's several different types. A lot of them are are basically magnetic ones; they're coil and spring actuated. Now, when they energize it pulls the magnet together and actually pulls in. Now, when they turn off it's set with a spring. It'll separate it; makes it go in the opposite direction. Now the ones, the actuators that you use on the engine are usually what they call stepper motors. They're usually on a worm gear. They'll come out a little bit at each step. That's why they call them a stepper motor. Those are your basic types of actuators. Most of the ones are all computer controlled. The other ones for your door actuators are are magnetic controlled coil over spring. But hopefully, that can sum it up for you how they work. And that's basically how actuators work.