“Its primary job is to keep the electrical system up and running in place of the battery. The battery’s job is to start the car, and the alternator keeps it running.” Gunning says an alternator typically lasts about seven years — or about 100,000 to 150,000 miles, says Waits.Feb 9, 2015
Alternators can average anywhere from $100 to $350 depending on make and model. Most vehicles will have an average cost between $350-400 for the total job of an alternator replacement if no other parts need to be replaced. If the serpentine belt is included in the process, add another $20 to $50 to your bill.
It’s usually a better idea to replace the alternator entirely if it is malfunctioning. While new ones can be spendy, they are usually a better choice than remanufactured or rebuilt options. Those probably won’t last as long as a new one since the mechanical parts have miles on them already.
When an alternator goes bad, there is a chance it can overcharge the battery. When an alternator overcharges the battery, it will result in an excessively high voltage, and this will end up in a premature cell. … ripple voltage is fatal because it can not only kill the battery but also the entire electronics of the car.
A simple test to check the working of the alternator is by running your car; and then unplugging the positive connection of the battery. If the car stops, then you most likely have a problem with the alternator. Another simple test is to check your interior lights.
In general, you can expect alternators to last about 6-10 years, or about 80,000-150,000 miles.
Most of the time, alternators fail as a result of age or use. However, some other factors can cause an alternator to fail prematurely. Fluid leaking on the car alternator can commonly lead to failure. Often, engine oil or power steering fluid can work its way into the alternator and cause it to malfunction or fail.
The alternator is a key component in running the electrical systems in your car. … When your alternator begins to fail it can cause a variety of different electrical problems in your car, and eventually cause a breakdown. Alternators can go bad suddenly, or slowly over time.
Some of the things to look for are no-starting and trouble starting, dimming lights and problems with stereo system output. If your car starts but stalls when you’re underway, your battery is probably not being recharged due to a faulty alternator.
An alternator has brushes because it has a slip ring (like a commutator) The slip ring can corrode and the brushes can stick – both are possible causes of failure after a year standing.
If your engine won’t turn over or takes far longer than usual, it’s time to grab the jumper cables and attempt a jump-start. If your engine starts and stays running but won’t start again later, it’s likely a battery problem. If your vehicle immediately stalls, it’s probably a bad alternator.
If the engine starts but dies immediately, your alternator probably isn’t keeping your battery charged. If a jump starts and keeps your car running, but the car can’t start again off of its own power, a dead battery is likely your answer.
When replacing and alternator, other upgrades are worth doing too. Go ahead and change the serpentine belt, tensioner and idler roller when replacing an alternator on your car or truck.
In this situation, the battery could last as little as 30 minutes. If you are lucky and could get up to two hours. Note: In case you have to start the car without an alternator, don’t turn off the engine once you’re going. Starting the car flattens the battery down quickly.
When an alternator fails, these systems no longer receive the correct amount of electrical energy. This can cause these systems to operate erratically or not at all, resulting in stalling and poor running of the engine.
Every AutoZone in the USA will check your alternator, starter, or battery at no charge.
Alternator Whining Noise
A common sound made by failing alternators is a very high pitched whining noise that you’ll hear when the engine is running. When the RMPs increase, such as when you accelerate, you’ll hear the noise get higher in pitch as the pulley spins faster.
Running in full charge mode continuously can kill an alternator, so trying to have your new alternator try and charge your dead battery can result in immediate alternator failure.
If your alternator goes out – your car isn’t going anywhere fast. Because your alternator charges your car’s battery, without it, you won’t be able to start your car, which means you’ll need a tow to the mechanic. When you have a dead alternator, your battery will also die during normal use.
For the unfortunate souls who realize that this vital part of the vehicle is failing, how long will a car run without an alternator and what can you do to elongate the vehicle’s ability to function? Without this essential component, your car will only function for up to two hours and as little as five minutes.
In addition to mitigating the effects of external factors like heat, vibration, and contaminants, you can also prolong the life on an alternator by replacing certain components before they wear out. For instance, some manufacturers recommend that you check the regulator and brushes every 12 to 24 months.
This means that in most cases, there is no extra labor and you will only have to pay extra for a new drive belt, which is not very expensive. Should the battery be replaced whenever an alternator is replaced? It’s not necessary, however it’s not uncommon for an old battery to fail when an alternator stops working.
You can bring the vehicle to AutoZone and have the alternator tested on the vehicle to ensure the charging system is performing correctly. … For the best prices on name-brand alternators, affordable hand tools, and precision replacement parts, visit your local AutoZone.
Never work in the engine bay of a vehicle without first disconnecting the battery for safety. Working on the alternator without disconnecting the battery could result in getting shocked or damaging the vehicle. You can leave the positive cable attached.
Simply check the voltage of your battery by touching the multimeter prongs to the terminals with the car shut off. Take note of that number; it should be somewhere in the 12-to-13-volt range, according to Hines. Then, start the car and check the voltage at the battery again while the vehicle is running.
Strange Noises From the Alternator
Your alternator may continue to work for a little while, but eventually, the bearing will seize and that often breaks the belt on the motor. … Without the water pump, the engine will overheat and could cause damage to the motor.
Your local O’Reilly will test your alternator for free on or off your vehicle so you can know for sure whether or not that’s the problem with your vehicle.
alternator recharges your battery so it doesn’t go flat and generally just powers the electrical system while the engine is running. it’s got a pulley which the aux belt goes around . it’s not really a big job to replace them as it’s a couple of bolts , one on the bottom and one on the top.
If something is wrong with your alternator, starter or battery, a Firestone technician will talk to you about the different options you have when it comes to replacing or repairing a bad alternator or starter.
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