When you say the word alternator, you may have heard of it before, but it’s likely that you don’t know what it actually does in your vehicle. Your car's alternator powers all of its internal parts. Even though you may have thought that your battery is what powers your vehicle, the fact is that your battery supplies the initial power required to start your engine when you get into your car and turn the key. After that, the alternator starts working, powering most parts and recharging your battery.
What Does the Alternator Do?
The charging system of a car includes an alternator, which is crucial to keeping your car running. To keep electrical components working, the alternator collaborates with the battery and voltage regulator. The alternator pulley is operated by either a serpentine belt or v-belt, depending on the vehicle. As internal components work to create a magnetic field that is used to produce the alternating current output, this mechanical energy is then transformed into electrical energy that drives your car. The alternator can quickly reach high temperatures, making a functional cooling fan essential. Even if the battery can keep the car going for a short while, if the alternator breaks down, it won't be able to do so for very long. In actuality, the alternator also acts as a battery charger or like a small generator.
Signs of a Failing Alternator
There are several signs that your alternator is deteriorating, some of which include:
· Warning lights - a malfunctioning alternator can trigger a warning light on your dashboard; this warning light may be shaped like a battery or even spell out "ALT."
· Dim lights - as your alternator starts to fail, it won't be able to power your dashboard lights, headlights, and other accessories as well as it once did.
· Noises and odors - because your alternator is constantly operating and is often connected to a number of other devices via a belt, if one part of the belt malfunctions, it's possible that the others may as well. An excessively worn belt could smell like burned rubber or produce odd noises.
The Importance of Alternator Repairs
If you notice any possible problems with your alternator, you should immediately have the alternator repaired or replaced because a damaged alternator will eventually render the car inoperable. You might lose all power while driving or be unable to start your car, leaving you stuck in potentially hazardous circumstances.
You can rely on the staff at Pneus et mécanique Normand in McMasterville, QC to get your car working like new when you need expert advice.
How Do We Make a Diagnosis?
We can perform a number of tests to identify your alternator issues.
First, we will rule out other plausible issues, including your battery. Without removing your alternator, we can frequently diagnose visually and acoustically by physically turning parts, feeling for excess "wiggle," or listening for certain noises.
If your alternator is the most likely culprit, we will remove it to verify our suspicions. We will use a computerised charging system tester to check it. This test, known as an AVR, can determine whether the charging system is susceptible to failure or whether your alternator needs to be repaired or replaced. Additionally, it can detect faults like blown fuses, flawed wiring, a broken ignition switch, a loose drive belt, and other difficulties.
Our mechanic could also do a voltage test, which checks the battery's voltage both when the engine is running and when it is not. When the engine is started, voltage should rise since the alternator uses more energy. If it doesn't go up, there's a problem.
What Causes a Failed Alternator?
A faulty alternator is typically caused by one or more widespread issues:
· The carbon brushes or the contact rings can wear out over time.
· If your alternator is making a whining sound, it may be due to poor bearings, or the voltage regulator may have been harmed.
If you suspect any problems with your alternator, the automotive experts at Pneus et mécanique Normand in McMasterville, QC can detect the problem and fix it for you.