Learn Everything About Car Alternator

You might believe that your battery powers everything electronic in your automobile, including the windshield wipers, headlights, and radio. Most of your vehicle's electricity is produced by the auto alternator; your battery is mostly used to start your vehicle and provide power while the engine isn't running. The alternator is an important part of a vehicle's charging system. Read along to know more about your car alternator and its associated functions.

What Is A Car Alternator?

An alternator is an electrical generator that converts the mechanical energy to electrical energy, which would be as alternating current. Because of the reasons for cost and simplicity, many alternators would use the rotating magnetic field with a stationary armature.

What Are The Important Features Of Car Alternators?

Do you want to know the essential features of the alternator? You have arrived at the right place. Have a look below to know the important features of the alternator:

  • It should have great deliverable ampere capacity.
  • There should be output current characteristics concerning varying rpm.
  • There should be an in-built safety in design against reverse polarity and the “load dump“ effect.

How To Choose The Right Alternator?

How Does My Car Alternator Work?

Are you searching for how the alternator works? Then all you have to do is to have a look below and then you will understand everything.

  • There are many people who might think that it is the battery that powers the electrics in your car, but that is not the case. The electricity which is required for the starter motor to start the car is provided by the car battery. Now when the car will run, then the energy would be generated by the alternator to feed the electrical system as well as to charge the battery. Earlier the alternator was known as a generator and it works in the same way. Now, in this case, the car’s internal combustion engine would spin the pulleys under the bonnet, which would then turn the pulley on the alternator, and then the energy would be created.
  • It is the alternator that works together with the car battery so that the power can be supplied to the electrical components of the vehicle. The output of the alternator is known as the direct current (DC). When there is a rotation of the alternator pulley, alternating current (AC) passes through a magnetic field, and then there is a generation of the electrical current. It would be then converted to DC via the rectifier.
  • With the advancement in technology, alternators have changed a lot in the last 50 years. Earlier the alternators were only used to generate a current that was controlled by an external regulator. In the 1990s, the built-in regulator was introduced which used the warning light to excite the alternator and then begin the charging process.

  • A load request type charging system is adopted by the latest automobiles with introducing smart charge systems and CANBUS systems, which are now used widely. It is the engine control unit (ECU) that controls these systems. If more load would be demanded by the vehicle, then a signal would be sent to the alternator by the ECU requesting it to charge. The alternator would have to cope up with the different electrical loads and its charge rate is adjusted accordingly.

Which Tools Do I Need To Repair My Car Alternator?

To change the Alternator, you may need the following tools:

Which Top Brands Alternator Parts Should I Choose?

Some leading car parts brands are more than just products or services as they give rise to memories and emotions related to quality. So have a look at some top brands for Alternator.

  • Wilson Alternator
  • Armature DNS Alternator
  • Remy Alternator
  • Mr. Gasket Alternator

To know more about top brand car Alternator, visit our “What Are The Best Alternator Brands For My Vehicle?” section.

Which Parts Are Related To My Car Alternator?

Are you familiar with basic car Alternator-related parts? If no, then what are you waiting for? Have a look at some important components of the car Alternator.

  • Alternator Fuse
  • Alternator Bearing
  • Alternator Brushes
  • Alternator Bracket
  • Alternator Coupler
  • Alternator Pulley
  • Alternator Resistor

What Is The Repairing Cost Of My Car Alternator?

The first question which comes to the minds of most people when they see some faults in the Alternator is how much would its replacement cost? The reality is that unless a professional technician looks at your car; it is going to be a hard question to answer because the overall cost depends on a lot of factors. The foremost thing on which it depends is the size and the type of the Alternator. The other factors like the replacement of the Alternator will be brand new, used, rebuilt, or remanufactured play a major role in deciding the total cost. The average cost for an alternator replacement is between $562 and $498. Labor costs are estimated between $121 and $154 while parts are priced between $441 and $604. The estimate does not include taxes and fees.

What Are The Steps Of Changing My Car Alternator?

Do you want to change your alternator on your own? Then have a look at the steps of changing the alternator below:

Step 1: Disconnect the Battery

The first step is to disconnect the car battery. There might be many wires or just one wire on your car alternator, but one of them is hot. If you don't detach the batteries first, you'll ground a live wire, giving you quite a little shock.

Step 2: Disconnect the Wires

Disconnect the wire/wires from the back of the alternator, now that the battery is out of the way. This is typically an easy procedure, but if you're not sure where they should go, label them as you release them.

Step 3: Remove the Belt From the Pulley

Then the next step is to remove the belt from the pulley. Make sure that you move it enough to slip the belt off the pulley. In some automobiles, you can find screw-type or rod-end type tensioners that apply tension by turning a bolt through threads to increase/decrease the length of a rod. Simply crank the bolt/rod-end with a wrench or socket until enough tension is released to allow you to remove the belt.

Step 4: Remove Bolts

Simply remove the nuts that link the alternator to the bracket, once the belt has been removed, and you're ready to go. 

Step 5: Putting the new alternator

When you are about to reach your home with your old alternator in your hand, you are aware of the size of the bolt heads, then you will probably find that putting the new one in goes considerably faster.

Step 6: Replacement should be examined

Before you start reassembling, examine the replacement unit. Keep in mind that it should work for your application.

Step 7: Pay attention to the belt routing and tensioning

To complete the process, removal steps should be reversed paying the most attention to belt routing and tensioning.

If you are still confused about which type of car Alternator you should buy, then you can visit our The Ultimate Alternator Buying Guide. You should always look for the warning signs of a bad Alternator and replace them at the earliest you can. With us, you can find Alternator at the most economical costs.

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A dashboard light that is illuminated can signal a problem with the vehicle's charging system. However, starting the car and disconnecting the positive connection of the battery is a fairly simple approach to see if the alternator is working. If the vehicle stops running, the alternator is most likely broken.
Yes, without a doubt. A failed alternator might cause the battery to overcharge, causing damage. The battery will be left flat if the alternator is undercharging, accelerating its breakdown.
If there are some faults in your car alternator, then it will start producing whining and grinding sounds. You may hear a few unusual noises if your alternator is failing. A loose bearing in your alternator could be causing a slight rattling or grinding sound when your engine is running.
It solely depends on the car battery's capacity. The vehicle may run for 5 to 30 minutes if the battery is not fully charged. If the battery is completely charged, the runtime will be longer.
Driving a vehicle through water deep enough to splash or flood the alternator shaft bearings, as well as the brushes and electronics inside the unit, might cause damage. Water can also create corrosion, which can harm the alternator's wiring and bearings.
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John Framigllia
Technical Writer
Our technical writer is known for simplifying automotive parts and services. Intuitive with various vehicles and manufacturers, he knows how to simplify complicated problems.