what does an alternator do in a car exactly, if you own a car then it is very important to know what an alternator do. Just like the way other parts of the vehicle have there functions in the car the alternator is in charge of electric power supply.
The alternator is the part of which is in charge of supplying electrical power to all parts that needs it. The headlight, air condition, warm seats even your cars battery depends on the alternator to stay alive.
Don’t get all confused just yet cars batteries are only needed to start the car in the first place. The Alternator on the other hand produces current to keep the battery charged and healthy and also keep the electronics in your car alive.
With this explanation you should understand what an alternator do in a car and how. The alternator just like every other car part also gets spoilt sometimes and makes your cars electronics to start misbehaving as a result.
What are the symptoms of a bad alternator?
Now that you have understand what and alternator is and how it works, its time to know What are the symptoms of a bad alternator. How do you know when your alternator needs to be replaced or when it starts being faulty.
Well you don’t need to consult any specialist to know if you alternator is misbehaving. Let me work you through how the alternator works again just for you have a very good picture of how easy it is to tell if you have a bad alternator.
- Weak or a dead Battery
A weak or dead battery means your would not start because there is not power to ignite the engine. If you remember well i mentioned before that the cars battery is only needed to star the car, that is why wen u have a bad battery then yo have to jump start your car.
If your car’s battery keeps becoming week or dead there is a big chance that your alternator is not working or is faulty. Recall that what the alternator does in your car is keeping your battery charged and other electronic components working.
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When your cars alternator is dies, then a lot of things can can start misbehaving very fast in your car. Your battery no matter how new it is, it is bound to start giving your problems when starting your car and will eventually die if the alternator is not replaced in time.
- Battery Light On dashboard
Your cars dashboard is packed with a lot of signs and indicators connected from inside the cars computer. These signs and indicators helps you to know when your car needs some certain care and repair, they also help you drive safely.
Among these dashboard sign includes a small battery sign indicated with ALT or GEN. When you cars alternator gets faulty the battery sign in the dashboard is an early sign you would see on the dashboard.
Grinding or Whining Noise from pully belts
Bearings, the stator and rotor, and other components that are spinning inside the alternator to create the energy can begin to fail and produce whining or grinding sounds.
- Disturbing Smell from pully belts
Disturbing and very unpleasant smell tends to start to emit from the cars. This smell is caused by failure from the alternator’s robber belts to rotate normally thereby creating friction which brings about the unpleasant smell from the cars alternator.
Now that you have known what an alternator does in a car, how the alternator works and signs and symptoms of a bad alternator, lets see other things to the alternator.
How does the alternator charge the battery
Your car’s does a mechanical work of converting mechanical energy into electrical energy. Whenever you start your car the engine turns and powers a drive belt that rests on a pulley attached to the alternator.
The alternator’s rotor shaft is turns and keeps turning by the pulley which spins a set of magnets around a coil. These spinning magnets generate alternating current (AC) around the coil, which is then channeled to the alternator’s rectifier. The rectifier converts that AC power into DC power, which activates your car’s electrical systems.
Now that you have the exact picture of how and what the alternator does in the car lets see the faults. What are the symptoms of a bad alternator, Good question, there are few signs and indicators that your alternator needs replacement.
Signs and symptoms of a bad a alternator includes troubles and unpleasant noise when starting the car, flickering headlights, dim lights on the dashboard. Among other symptoms of a bad alternator includes the following
What Are The Risks Of driving With a Bad Alternator
There are not much risks in driving with a bad alternator but am sure You don’t your car to stop half way in the woods or on your way to work. Well i guess not much since the risk is not life threatening right but am sure you hate disappointment too.
To avoid getting disappointed by your car in the middle of no where in the woods then you should not drive with a dead alternator. If you do risk to drive with a deal alternator then your car would not go far before it dies and your cars battery will die too no matter how new it is.
A friend of mine last week was narrating his experience to me about huis car alternator he said “I just replaced my battery and at first it would still run, then sounded lumpy, then wouldn’t start, then wouldn’t jump start then i gave up. This was all in the space of about 10miles.”
The work of an alternator in your cannot be replaced by any part, so always try to always check for indicators and make sure your alternator is good shape. Remember that the alternator supplies all the cars electronic components of the car with direct current (DC) power. Your alternator is also responsible for charging your car battery while driving.
Can a bad alternator kill a new battery?
The battery is only there to help your car ignite and start the engine in the first place while the alternator does charge the battery subsequently. Your cars alternator is a means of livelihood to the cars battery and other electronic components of the car.
The alternator does not start the 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. So yes a bad will alternator sure kill a new battery.
How far can I drive with a dead alternator
How long an alternator can last before you start experiencing issues is not certain as this depends on many factors. Some factors that determine how long includes weather condition and mode of car use.
No one can actually tell how long an alternator can last or for how long one can an alternator serve before it starts being faulty. But is certain that a good alternator should last for up to 100,000 miles in reasonable conditions.
However, like i have mentioned before, the whether condition matters a lot when it comes to how long an alternator would serve. In Areas with very high or extreme heat your cars alternator might not stay long in good shape like for others in areas where the whether condition is okay.
Try to constantly look out for symptoms that may be clue you in if the alternator is beginning to fail. You may notice some minor unusual behavior such as:
- Flickering headlights
- Dim headlights
- Difficulty starting the car
Other times, there may be more obvious symptoms that the alternator is struggling, indicating that the electrical system will need to be tested. Finally, always endeavor to look out for indicators of a bad or faulty alternator in your to avoid been stranded by the road side. Don’t forget that what the alternator does in the car is provision of current to your car’s electronic components.
The cars battery cannot serve the work of the alternator and vise versa. Your cars battery only serve in starting the cars while the alternator keeps the battery alive by charging it. For any questions and unclarified please use the comments box to ask.