Do you know what a car alternator is? Well, some of you must have heard about it. Today, we are going to discuss everything about alternators. Keep Reading, if you want to gain some knowledge about this important auto part.
Come on! Everyone owns a car and every car has an alternator! So, I think you must have some knowledge about alternators.
What is A Car Alternator in a Vehicle?
This component in your vehicle is one of the pivotal parts in the electrical system. One came to know about this auto part only after getting a problem in the electrical system. Well, the alternator mainly comprises of two portion i.e.
- Magnetic Coil
By operating together, these parts ensure the efficient working of your vehicle. To start a vehicle, electrical energy is required which is being supplied by the electric system of your vehicle. When you ignite your car, the rod moves with a belt. We all know, we have a battery in our cars that is being charged by these alternators even when we drive it. So, that means it is the alternators that supply power to the whole electrical system.
Types of Car Alternators
- Fixed Voltage – As the name suggests, it delivers a fixed amount of voltage constantly. The current is given at a higher level when the car is being started whereas it minimizes the current while you drive your car. This type of alternator is mounted in old version vehicles.
- Smart Alternators – These are found in modern vehicles that can set the voltage as per the electrical system’s requirement. A smart alternator often diminishes the voltage output to reduce the pressure on the engine. This type of alternator maintains the level of charge in the electrical system and also keeps a balance between the regular emission and engine management. It sends a certain amount of voltage only after observing the charge level of the car’s battery. As while starting a car, it requires more charge while driving your car needs less voltage.
What Are the Main Components of A Car Alternator?
As we discussed above, the car alternator maintains the battery. A battery is responsible for the smooth and flawless working of the heater, light, and other car accessories. You can not think of a car without an alternator because in that case, you need to charge the battery manually before providing an ignition to your car. If we talk about the count of main components of the alternator then it is four in number. Every component plays an important role in charging a car’s battery.
Rotor and Stator
A stator is made-up of wire coils around an iron rod. The stator is round in shape that surrounds a rotor. The rotor and stator are joined with a belt and copper wire coils that generate magnetic fields. The rotor spins at very high speed & produces a current which is passed on further to the iron housing. The electricity generated is an AC i.e. Alternate Current.
The diode is responsible to convert AC (Alternate Current) to DC (Direct Current). DC is the type of current used in vehicle batteries. It is a two-terminal system that operates by letting the current generated in the stator run in one direction.
It is similar to the surge protector that creates current when there’s a need. After monitoring the voltage of the battery and alternator, the voltage regulator regulates the current.
The whole process of generating current, regulating the voltage produces a lot of heat. A fan inside the alternator protects the system by helping dissipate that heat.
What are the Signs of Car Alternator Failure
Just like other auto parts, car alternators can fail at any time. But the good thing is that you can judge or analyse it earlier before your vehicle completely gets off. So, change it when you feel like changing. For prior notice, just read the following points once.
The dashboard always indicates warnings in advance. All you need to do is to check them before they become too problematic to handle. The car alternator-related alerts can be noticed easily as they are displayed on your vehicle’s dashboard. You must have seen a battery-like icon liting that shows the battery-related issues. So, if you notice them, just turn off the electrical components such as air-condition, blower, stereo, or extra lights, etc. Don’t switch off your car’s ignition until you reach the mechanic’s place or a place where you can get help easily.
Dim headlights or dashboard is another warning sign of alternator’s failure. Another common symptom is an alert in lowering the energy to heated seats that eventually reduce the alternator’s operation.
Oh Yes! It is something you can notice quickly- unusual sounds. An alternator works with various other components that keep it in a working position. If there is any problem even in one part or component then it may produce grinding sounds that are an obvious sign of a failing alternator.
Whenever you find there is a smell like burning rubber, that means your car’s alternator needs an expert’s hand. It often happens when misalignment produces friction that causes belt heating up.
How to Change an Alternator?
If you have a faulty alternator then you can either change it or refurbish it. People often choose a budget-friendly option i.e. refurbishing alternator. But whether your alternator can stand for long or it will again trouble you can only be explained by an expert mechanic. Though refurbishing is the most affordable option.
Buying a new car alternator ensures the uninterrupted working of your car. All you need to care about is to ensure the sellers of auto parts. Check all the parts before buying them. Don’t go for the cheap options because you may end up in an expensive one. You may go for a cost-effective car alternator.