Alternator Service and Diagnostics
About Alternator Service and Diagnostics
Nearly all vehicles, with the exception of some hybrids, have an alternator. It is a common misconception that your vehicle's battery is what powers its components - it is in fact your alternator that does this! When you get in your vehicle and turn the key, your battery is responsible for the initial power used to start your engine. Afterwards, your vehicle's alternator kicks in and powers most components as well as recharges your battery.
How It Works
Your alternator is one of the many components attached to your serpentine belt (along with your A/C unit, power steering pump, and more). When your engine is running, it turns your crankshaft pulley, which drives your serpentine belt and the attached components (in this case, your alternator). As the pulley in your alternator rotates, it coverts the mechanical energy into electrical energy that powers your vehicle. Your alternator is, in all senses, a miniature generator.When you need expert advice, you can count on the team at Integra Tire to get your vehicle up and running in tip-top shape.
Why Alternators Are Important
If your alternator begins to fail, your battery will not be recharged while you drive and will begin to drain. Your vehicle may power off entirely while driving or you will not be able to start your vehicle, leaving you stranded in potentially unsafe situations. A boost to your vehicle's battery may get it to start; however, your vehicle will likely die again in a short period of time.
There are a number of indications your alternator is failing; these can include:
- Warning Lights - Many vehicles have systems to detect a failing alternator. You will see an illuminated warning light on your dash that is either shaped like a battery or may even say "ALT".
- Dim lights - When it begins to fail, your alternator will not power your dashboard lights, headlights, and other components as well as it used to.
- Noises and Smells - Because your alternator is always running and typically connected to many other accessories by a belt, if a single component on the belt fails, the others may fail too. When a belt is overly worn it may emit a "burnt rubber" smell or make strange noises.
How Do we Diagnose?
To diagnose your alternator, we can run many tests. This may start with ruling out other components, such as your battery. Often, we can diagnose visually and audibly by manually turning components, feeling for extra "wiggle," or listening for distinct noises without taking your alternator out. If we believe your alternator is the likely cause, we will remove it and confirm our findings.
Our experts are ready to help!Request an appointment, or reach out for more info today.
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