All About Dead Alternators and Alternator Repair

All of us who have to drive know the feeling: you wake up in the morning prior to heading into work, go to your vehicle, climb inside, turn the key and…nothing. Just clicks. The first thought most of us have when hearing this click is to check the battery or get a jump. But what happens when you jump the battery and the car still won’t start, it just continues clicking ad nauseam? It could be your alternator.

What, though, does an alternator do? Before you start your car, your battery already has an electrical charge. Yet this electrical charge doesn’t just show up out of the blue: that is the alternator’s job. By taking the energy created by your car, it resets the charge on the battery and helps maintain a charge throughout the engine. Once this goes out, the entire electrical system can malfunction, causing the car start up to fail.

So how do you fix a malfunctioning alternator? Don’t worry! There are ways to fix this problem, but first let’s go over methods to test whether your alternator is working correctly or not.

One way to test the alternator is through what has come to be called the “headlight test.” For this, simply turn your key in the ignition, turn your headlights on, and press the accelerator. Have someone look at the lights and tell you what they see. If the lights get brighter or dim—or even flicker—your alternator is bad.

If you have no one there to check the lights, you can also do a quick battery test. Simply start your car, open the hood, and remove the negative cable from the battery. If the car dies, your alternator is on its way out (or already gone!), but as can readily be pointed out, if the car starts fine with a jump, but you can’t get the ignition to work regardless, its common sense to know it is the alternator.

Luckily, repairing or replacing an alternator is one of the easiest repairs you can do on your own. First, disconnect the battery: this is extremely important to make sure you don’t ruin electrical wires in the process. Next, disconnect the alternator wires and remove the belt and bolts that connect the alternator. Take your replacement and simply reverse the steps!

Some mechanics will suggest a special set of tools to help you with the job—particularly the belt removal. When buying the alternator, you can inquire about such tools, but normal ones will do with a little more elbow grease! If you think a DIY alternator repair is out of league then come on and visit our expert techs at Marc’s Transmission! We specialize in auto repairs and will have you back on the road in no time! Click Here to contact us today!

 

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