A brief guide to car alternators

As a car owner, it is important to know what could possibly go wrong under the bonnet, so you can be prepared for every course of action. One of the major components in the engine is the car alternator; a charging system that works in tandem with the battery, generating power for the car’s dashboard displays and lights.

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Generating electricity, the car alternator is controlled by the rotating crankshaft, converting the pistons’ ‘up-and-down’ movements into circular motions. This enables the AC (alternating current), which the alternator produces, to channel the electricity into the vehicle’s battery, therefore enabling the car to function. As an essential part of a vehicle’s make-up, it’s important to either have a spare at home just in case, or know exactly where to get one, such as Mountfield Spares.

How to spot problems with the alternator

With the alternator working so closely with the battery, sometimes the battery is the component blamed when the car doesn’t start properly. You can’t be blamed for thinking that, as the battery light on the dashboard will flash. But even if there is a problem with the alternator, the battery light will still flash. You don’t want to be spending money on a new battery when this might not be the problem, as shown in https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/21-million-faulty-cars-uk-14521614.

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Jump start

To definitively find out if it is the alternator causing the problem, you don’t need to pay for a mechanic to check; simply try to jump start the car yourself. Connect the jump leads from your battery to another car’s battery, with the engine running, and if the engine cuts out shortly after removing the jump leads, this is a solid indication that it is your alternator causing the problem.

Early signs

Of course, the jump start test only proves effective once the alternator has actually ceased to work, so what could be the warning signs? Headlights dimming, aroma of burning rubber, a whining noise coming from under the bonnet or the vehicle starting far slower than usual, all point to an alternator that is about to come to the end of its shelf life. Visit https://www.diyspareparts.com/parts/, or similar, to ensure you have an alternator ready at home for when this happens.

With the alternator playing a straightforward but important role in getting you from ‘A’ to ‘B’, always make sure you have one spare!

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