Your alternator is the electrical power plant of your car. It is connected to your engine, and it generates electricity which charges your battery.
Every time you start your car, your battery needs to use a substantial amount of charge to turn the engine over and get your car going. Did you know it can take between 12 and 13 minutes of freeway driving for your alternator to replenish your battery after you start you car?
So what can go wrong?
If your alternator fails completely, symptoms include:
- The battery light on your dashboard may come on
- If you have one, the Voltage indicator may be below its normal point
- As the battery drains, your headlights may begin to dim
- Your engine may cough and splutter
- Eventually, your car won’t start and nothing will turn on
During a regular service, an Auto Electrician will test your alternator to look for signs of decreasing output. Your Auto Electrician will be able to give you an idea as to how long your alternator may last, and what options you have for replacement.
This is a vital check as your Car Battery is designed to be kept fairly close to fully charged at all times, and when a Car Battery drains chemical changes inside the battery may mean it needs to be replaced.
Repair or Replacement
Fortunately, most vehicle manufactures design the alternator as a serviceable part. It can be removed from the vehicle, and either repaired or replaced. Depending on the cost, it is sometimes cheaper to swap your faulty alternator with a new, after market unit.