What is an alternator and why should I care?
Your alternator is a device powered by your engine that maintains the charge in your battery. The battery in your vehicle depends upon your alternator greatly in order to make sure that your car or truck starts every time without issue. Without this crucial part, you will not be able to travel very far in your vehicle before your battery is totally depleted which would cause your ignition system, fuel pump and other required components to stop functioning.
How do I know if my alternator is working properly?
Checking your alternators function needs to be done with specialized equipment available at most automotive part stores. If you feel uncomfortable performing the checks yourself, many larger chain parts stores will do this for you at no cost. If you are experiencing unexpected power loss from your vehicle after jumping or charging a good tested battery, this could indicate a faulty alternator. Your battery volt gauge on your instrument panel inside your vehicle should read between 12.5 and 14.4 volts. If your battery gauge reads a lower or higher reading, your charging system needs to be checked. If a loud whining noise appears and becomes stronger under the hood while the engine is operating, the alternator could be the culprit.
I need to buy a new alternator, what should I do?
Most popular auto part stores offer many different replacement options when it comes to your vehicles alternator. Choosing what?'s best for your vehicle and budget can be tricky. The old adage ?"you get what you pay for?" rings true in the automotive part world. Whether the replacement alternator is a remanufactured unit or a factory built unit, you must always study the offered warranty information before making a decision about purchasing.
What is a factory built alternator?
Factory built alternators are original equipment replacements that are exactly what was installed in your car or truck when built on the assembly line. Factory replacements are usually seen as the best option when quality is come into question. The drawback of purchasing a factory replacement, however, is the heftier price tag as opposed to remanufactured units.
What are remanufactured replacement alternators?
Remanufactured units where originally factory equipment types with one exception; these units have been rebuilt or fixed by a company that specializes in ?"recycling?" these automotive parts. The most common complaint among consumers who buy certain remanufactured alternators is the lack of reliability and life of certain cheaper varieties. When dealing with less costly remanufactured alternators, look for units that have an extended warranty. Purchasing the lowest costing alternator with a paltry thirty day warranty will increase the likelihood of replacing the unit again much sooner than expected. The issue with the cheaper alternatives is the lack of consistent quality and reliable replacement parts that go in to the reconstituted alternator. There are quality remanufactured units available for much less than a factory replacement with full lifetime warranties and these should be considered in your purchasing decision.
Whether or not you choose a factory replacement or remanufactured one should depend on many factors including the age and condition of your vehicle. For example, if your vehicle is on its last leg and you need to get a little more life out of the clunker before its junkyard bound, consider buying the cheaper alternator available. If you have a newer vehicle, consider purchasing original equipment replacements in order to preserve consistent reliability and operation of the vehicle. Remember, If your vehicle is under warranty, it may be imperative to only purchase and install factory approved replacements in order to minimize the risk of voiding the warranty.
How much does an alternator cost? That depends on whether your car is foreign or domestic, older or late model.
Alternator charging problems come in about five flavors. Find out which one is causing your trouble.
The main components of an alternator are the elements that produce the electric charge that is crucial to your car's smooth functioning.