Many of us believe that it is the car’s battery that supplies power to various car components. In reality, an alternator takes all these things by an alternator that starts the vehicle and gives power to the non-working engine. If you have been experiencing trouble starting the car, it is probably due to a bad car alternator.
What Exactly is an Alternator?
Alternators play a prominent role in supplying electricity to the components of the vehicle and recharge the battery. It is generally found in vehicles with internal combustion engines and lies in the front of the engine surrounded by a belt.
Parts of an Alternator
An alternator isn’t just a single entity, but several parts coordinate with each other for the smooth working of this component. Let us dive deeper into each one of them:
Stator and Rotor
The electricity is generally generated by two components named stator and rotor. A rotor is basically cylinder-shaped with magnets around it that are placed within the stator. Conducive copper wiring is also a vital component of the stator. The motion created by the magnets produces electricity.
The voltage regulator monitors the power created by the alternator. It generally manages the voltage and supplies the power to the entire vehicle.
The voltage produced by the alternator is converted into a form that the battery can utilize.
A lot of heat is produced by the alternators and must be cooled down. It consists of a vent, aluminum casing with cooling fans to eliminate excess heat.
Working of the Alternator
The alternator supplies the electricity to the vehicle and helps to recharge the batteries. It is the responsibility of the alternator to convert the mechanical energy into electrical one.
Signs of a Problematic Alternator
It is difficult to start a vehicle with alternator problems. If you suspect any of the following symptoms, know that it’s time to determine car alternator cost and replace it with a new one:
Dim or Overly Bright Lights
A failing vehicle starts giving inconsistent voltage to the vehicle. A problematic alternator starts behaving like a too dim or extremely bright headlight. You might face issues such as flickering lights or the ones which turn bright to dark or vice versa.
Battery Becomes Dead
Over time the battery becomes dead. It keeps the vehicle charged and reaches the end time after a few years. A dead battery is the warning sign which reveals that there are issues with the alternator.
Charging a vehicle becomes impossible with a bad alternator, and the battery starts deteriorating after charging. There is only one way to determine the charging issue by jump start the car. In case you jump start and the battery stays on running mode, know that it’s time for a battery replacement. However, if you jumpstart the vehicle and it dies after a short time, the alternator isn’t getting enough power.
Slow or Malfunctioning Accessories
If the alternator is unable to supply adequate power, the accessories of the car start working slowly. If the window is taking a lot of time to go up and down or there are issues with the speedometer or other instruments, it’s time to replace the alternator.
Many vehicles come with a priority list informing the onboard computer where to cut the power source. Driving with a problematic alternator makes the vehicle’s radio lose power before the power of the headlights goes off.
Difficulty Starting or Stalling the Vehicle Frequently
As mentioned earlier, you might face issues in starting the vehicle, possibly because the alternator cannot charge the battery. Start the ignition, and your engine would generate clicking instead of purring sound.
If you suspect frequent stalling while driving, know that the spark plugs are unable to draw adequate power from the engine while driving.
Growling or Whining Noises
Cars produce odd sounds; some among them are harmless. In the case of others, it is possibly due to mechanical problems. If you ever encounter growling or whining noises coming out of the hood, get it inspected by the professionals.
This growling sound is produced by the belt attached to the pulley becoming misaligned. You might hear the sound in case of bad rotor shafts.
Smell Coming from Burning Rubbers or Wires
The foul smell coming out of the burning rubber clearly indicates that the alternator has started wearing out. The belt of the alternator experiences constant tension and friction as it is close to the engine, thereby releasing a foul burning smell.
Dash Showing Battery Warning Light On
The moment the dashboard shows the battery warning light on this is not a battery issue. However, it is possible because there are issues with the electrical system along with the alternator.
Alternators are supposed to work in a battery range that lies between 13 to 14.5 Volts. A failing alternator might drop below a certain capacity, making the battery warning light appear on the dash.
How to Buy a Car Alternator?
Sometimes it is difficult to find an alternator just by entering the vehicle’s make and model number. You can find an ideal car alternator using OEM(Original Equipment Manufacturer) part numbers in such cases. You can visit dealerships with a VIN and obtain an OEM number.
Also, it is vital to have sound knowledge about car alternator prices before making a buying decision. Associate with a trusted store such as ‘The Auto Parts Shop‘ that brings genuine, quality, and cost-effective products to you.
How to Keep the Alternator in Top-Notch Condition?
Now you have got rid of the bad alternator, follow the tips mentioned below to keep the alternator in optimum condition:
Eradicate Dirt, Dust, and Debris on the Vehicle
You can obtain maximum performance from an engine that is free from contaminants. It is going to slow down in case it gets overheated. The best way to prevent this situation is by keeping the alternator clean and tidy. The moment you suspect signs of dirt, dust, or debris, try wiping it off. The air can’t pass if such signs are suspected all of a sudden.
Keep it aligned properly
You can easily suspect the pulleys of the vehicle are misaligned. There must be synchronization between the crankshaft and pulley for the smooth working of the vehicle. Minor cuts, frayed edges, or wear and tear are the prominent reasons that lead to misalignment.
Get a Proper Belt for your Vehicle
If you want to increase the longevity of the alternator, take good care of the belt. After traveling for about 40,000 to 70,000 miles, the belt would start giving issues. Get it maintained on a routine basis as when left unattended, it could hamper the engine severely.
Follow these tips to increase the shelf life of the car alternator and keep the cost into account before making the buying decision.
The car’s alternator plays a significant role in keeping the battery charged and supplying power to various car parts. If the car’s alternator gets bad, get it replaced to yield optimum performance from the vehicle.