A car battery starts a vehicle. An alternator, however, charges the battery in the first place. As part of your vehicle's charging system, it runs several electrical systems under the hood. In fact, it illuminates your dash display, turns on your headlights, activates your power steering, runs your windshield wipers and power windows, and keeps your car entertainment system playing. It even helps warm heated seats if you have them. How does an alternator work, though? By turning mechanical energy into electricity, during a process that begins with your engine and a drive belt. That belt runs a pulley, and that pulley turns a rotor shaft. The shaft spins some magnetic coils, and that movement generates alternating current (AC power). A rectifier captures it, turning it into direct current (DC power). Your vehicle can then start up and stay running. Unfortunately, though, alternators can sometimes go bad, often without warning. The causes of a bad alternator range from bad jump-starts and installing incompatible accessories to broken-down parts and plain old age.
What Are the Symptoms of Alternator Problems?
There are several and spotting them is easy. They include headlighting and car radio issues, a burning smell under the hood, engine whines, and even total electrical system shutdown. A dead battery can even indicate them. If you think your car or truck has alternator issues, inspect it, and test its charging system. Otherwise, change your alternator about every 80,000 to 150,000 miles. That's approximately every 7 years. However, double-check your owner's manual to be sure. When it's replacement time, a genuine OEM alternator will fit your model best. Our auto parts store can ship one to you in short order. Buy it online today!
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