What Does an Alternator Do?
It turns mechanical energy into electricity. The resulting current charges your battery and runs your vehicle's electrical systems. For example, an alternator can power your dashboard displays, car entertainment system, windows, steering, and windshield wipers. It can also help warm heated seats.
How an Alternator Works
Your engine drives a belt, which moves a pulley, which turns a rotor shaft, which spins magnetic coils. The coil movement produces AC power, which a rectifier captures and turns into DC power. This is what starts your vehicle and keeps it running.
Unfortunately, alternators can go bad if you don't jump-start your vehicle right, or if you install an accessory that isn't compatible with it. Also, alternator parts can go bad, wearing out with age if not otherwise degrading from getting damaged. Luckily, there are some signs of alternator trouble that you can look for.
Symptoms of Alternator Problems
- Malfunctioning headlights
- A malfunctioning car radio
- A burning smell coming from under your hood, near your alternator or battery
- A whining engine
- A dead battery
- Charging system failure
Think you're having alternator issues? Run a complete inspection to figure out what's going on. Test your vehicle's charging system in particular. If you need to, replace your alternator. Otherwise, put a new one in about every 7 years or every 80,000 to 150,000 miles. For more info on that, consult the maintenance schedule in your owner's manual.
What Alternator Fits My Car?
A genuine OEM alternator will be your best bet. After all, it'll be compatible with the make and model you drive, guaranteed. You can order a new one online at our auto parts store. We'll ship straightaway, right to your door. Buy now!
No results found for "alternator". Here are some helpful search tips:
- Search by a part name. Example: water pump.
- Be less specific. Example: brake instead of ceramic brake.
- Remove information such as make, year or model.
- Can't find the part you are looking for? Contact us and we'll find it for you!