Car Alternator Problem –

Having problems starting the car? It just won’t “spark” to life? Than maybe you have an alternator problem. The alternator is one of the main parts of your car’s electrical system. It recharges the battery while the car is running and powers the lights and other electrical peripherals. If the car seems to have trouble starting than you have too options: the alternator, or the battery. After long use alternators wear out and will need replacing. It is important to know the condition of the alternator and the car battery so that you know what to look for.

First of all make a list of possible faults so that you may diagnose a bad alternator. The typical symptoms are hard or slow cranking when you attempt to start the engine, weak headlights, battery consumption high (which you will be notified of on the dashboard).

Open the hood and locate the alternator and the belts connected to the alternator. The entire contraption will be in front of the engine right next to the car radiator.

Car alternator

Verify the alternator corresponding light on your dashboard and see if it is working. The light should light up when the engine starts. On some models even failure will turn on another light related to the alternator.

The simplest of solutions is to check for bad or worn belts that may cause low rotation to your alternator. This prevents the battery from charging properly, especially if you have your headlights, air conditioner or car stereo on. Another simple solution would be to check the alternator and battery connections, battery terminals or possible worn out ground connections. All these may cause electrical discharges that weaken the battery, making it unable to spark the engine properly.

Watch out for possible cracks or glazing when the engine is cold. These may cause the belt to slide on the turning wheel, and once again underpowering your battery despite the good health of the alternator. Adjust any looseness in the belt but, carefully and always consulting your service manual’s instructions.

The next step would be the inspection of your battery’s voltage and connections while the engine is on idling.  Using an electronic voltmeter look for a tension reading between 13.8 and 15 volts (analogical ones are more expensive but better at visualizing tension spikes or variations). If the reading goes under 13 volts than your alternator is malfunctioning.

You can test your electric connections by connecting a circuit with a light bulb inside from power to ground and the other way around to see if the bulb lights. If you have light than the connections between the battery and other components are working properly. Next step is to check the connections from the battery through your alternator. If you have light here as well then the battery is working and charging accordingly therefore, most likely your alternator is causing all the problems.

Listen for a loud and grinding noise caused by the rotor failing within the alternator. Take one end of the heater hose and put it next to your ear while moving the other end close to the alternator. The volume will increase drastically if the alternator is faulty. In this case the only thing you can do is go and get a replacement. The alternator is easy to spot and inspect, but taking it out and taking it apart, that is another problem. Try to get the car as soon as possible to a certified mechanic.

Post tags: Tags: alternator belt problem, Car Alternator Problem, problem starting the car