How To Check A Car Alternator
Learn More About How To Check A Car Alternator ;
What Is Meant By A Car Alternator ?
“An alternator, as an integral part of every combustion engine vehicle, its main responsibility is to convert chemical energy to electrical energy so that you can charge and replenish the battery in your engine and other electrical components in a car.”What Does an Alternator Do? The alternator powers most car’s electronic components while you’re driving around or idling, including your headlights, electric steering, power windows, windshield wipers, heated seats, dashboard instruments, and radio. The alternator supplies all of them with direct current (DC) power.
Why is it called an alternator in a car?
The car alternator got its name from the phrase “alternating current” or AC. The alternator turns mechanical energy into electrical energy which gets directed to the battery and goes on to power all your car’s electrical systems.
How much does a new alternator cost?
Typically, it costs between $400-$600 to replace a faulty alternator with parts and labour. However, this price usually reflects a remanufactured alternator. New alternators can run you approximately $500 to $1000, again, depending on the type of vehicle you have.
How To Check A Car Alternator
It’s hard to tell whether or not an alternator works if you don’t know what to look for. The easiest way to test it is by using a voltmeter. If you’re well in tune with your car, there are a few other methods you may try as well. This test is to give a general health of your alternator and battery. Some newer vehicles may have computer controlled charging systems and would require additional testing.
Using a Voltmeter
- Buy a voltmeter.
- Check the battery first.
- Start the vehicle and rev the engine to 2,000 RPM.
- Keep the engine running and retest the battery with the voltmeter.
- Repeat the process with the lights, radio, and AC on. The alternator is charging if the battery voltage stays above 13 volts with the engine at 2,000 rpm and all accessories on.
Monitoring Your Alternator
- Check the alternator gauge. If you have a volt/amp gauge, it will read the alternator output for you. Run engine at 2,000 rpms for tests and turn on the blower fan for the AC or Heater, the headlamps, and any other accessories that put a strain on the alternator, and watch the gauge to see if it decreases voltage or amperage. As a rule, if the voltmeter is higher when the engine is running than when the engine is not, you can confidently assume that the alternator is charging.
- 2Listen to the alternator while the engine is running. If there is a problem with the bearings you may hear a squealing sound coming from the front of the car, which becomes louder with more electrical accessories using power at the same time.
- 3Turn the radio on and rev the engine. Tune your radio to a low number on the AM band with no music. If the radio whines or goes fuzzy whenever you hit the gas, the alternator is quite likely the culprit.
- 4Find an auto-parts store that tests alternators for free. Since every store would love for you to buy your new alternator from them, many will try to get the edge-up on their competitors by offering free testing. Dismount your alternator and bring it in to be sure.