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How to deal with alternator failure?

The Alternator is a key part in your vehicle’s charging system. The alternator charges the battery when the engine is running. It also has the function of powering the electrical system of the vehicle, which are the ignition coils, engine fan, headlights, various parts of the fuel injection system, and comfort parts such as the air conditioning system and radio.

As with any important component on your car, there is always an inherent risk of failure. But how can your alternator fail, and what should you do? We’ve put this handy guide together to help you out should your alternator need some attention. (Remember that when checking your alternator, you should never examine the belt or pulley unless the engine is off.

Flat battery

Does the battery in your car keep going flat? If so, that can be a sure-fire way to tell your alternator is on its way out. The alternator’s primary function is to charge the battery so that it has enough juice to start the car.

Solution: You’re going to need to replace the alternator

Loose Belt

The alternator is driven by the auxiliary belt, which usually powers things like the water pump, alternator, power steering and sometimes fan. If this belt is old, it can slip or become slack and thus its grip on the alternator pulley can lessen. Less grip means it won’t spin. If it’s not spinning, it won’t charge.

Solution: If the belt is old or worn, you’ll need to replace it. The same if the belt is tight, but the alternator still doesn’t seem to be charging.

Grinding Noises

Your alternator is basically a big dynamo, and within it you have a copper core that rotates around an axis. It’s this rotation that, at speed, creates the electrical charge needed to keep the battery topped up.
Listen to the alternator when the engine is running.If there is a grumbling or rattling noise coming from it, then the bearings are shot.

Solution: Stop driving the car, as you’re only going to make it worse. A specialist may be able to rebuild the alternator and fit new bearings, but in most cases, it will be cheaper to just have a new one fitted.

Sporadic Function

Does your car sometimes function fine, but then other times you get a warning light on the dash (the red battery symbol). Does it start some days, but not others? Are you confident your battery is in good health?
You could have a couple of things wrong with your alternator. Firstly, the wiring could be loose, and secondly, the voltage regulator could be failing.

Solution: Hopefully cleaning the wiring will cure it. If not, some alternators will let you swap out the voltage regulator for a new one. Sadly though, on some cars, the regulator is built-in, so it’s going to mean a new alternator.
Dependability is critical to you and we know that the efficiency of the starting and charging system is crucial to this.

Our alternators are made using high quality internal components – including brushes and bearings. They’re designed and assembled to ensure longevity and keep your operating and owning costs down.




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