What does the alternator do?

Car alternator

Your car’s alternator is responsible for generating electricity as the engine runs. This keeps the battery charged and supplies power to the various electrical components in your car. As well as keeping the battery charged, the alternator powers the lights, the air-conditioning system, the electronic locking and immobilization systems.

The alternator is powered by the drive belt, which often delivers energy to various parts of your car such as the power steering system, air conditioning and water pump. If the drive belt fails, the alternator will stop working until the issue is fixed.

Without the alternator, your car’s battery will not remain charged for very long. This will eventually result in your cars battery going flat and preventing your engine from turning on. In this case you might only hear a click or clicking from you engines starter motor or nothing at all when you try to start the engine. For this reason, many people misdiagnose issues with the alternator as a battery problem. If you jump-start the car and the battery dies shortly after, you could have a faulty car battery or the problem could be due to a faulty alternator or other charging system component.

Learn more about how the charging system work >


How long does the alternator last?

On average, an alternator will last from over 150,000 km of driving. However, some drivers will never have to replace their alternator for the lifespan of their vehicle.

You can extend the life of your alternator by practicing the following maintenance tips:

  • Jump-starting the car correctly (.
  • Correctly installing electrical accessories to prevent overloading
  • Maintaining the alternator bearings by ensuring the drive belt isn’t too tight.


When to replace the alternator:

We recommend that you replace your car’s alternator when it begins showing symptoms of wear or damage. This will prevent your car’s battery dying unpredictably. A faulty alternator may also cause the battery to wear and fail quickly, adding to your repair bill if the problem isn’t fixed early.

Below are some of the most common symptoms associated with a faulty alternator:

  • Dim headlights – If you notice that your car’s lights are dim or flickering, the alternator may be on its way out. The dimness of these lights may coincide with certain actions such as accelerating, increasing your radio’s volume or turning the air conditioning on and off.
  • Warning light on – Most modern cars will have a battery warning light which will appear on the dashboard when the voltage falls below a certain level. Some cars will even display a message saying that there is a problem with your alternator or charging system.
  • Car constantly needs jump starting – When the alternator begins to fail, it will not provide the correct amount of power to your car’s battery. This can lead to your car’s battery discharging as you drive and needing to be jump started more often.
  • Noise coming from alternator – if your alternator bearings wear out you can get a variety of noises coming from your car engine alternator, such as a low pitch rumbling noise, ticking noise, whirring noise, whining noise (if an alternator phase or diode becomes shorted to grounded) and a squealing noise of the drive belt as the alternator bearing are seizing up. Your local mechanic should be able to easily diagnose each of these noises for you.


Car Alternator Replacement Service in Hamilton

Is your car in need of a new alternator? If so, we can help! At Grimmer Motors, our team of skilled mechanics can change the alternator in your car for you. This will allow for your car’s battery remaining fully charged and healthy plus allow your electrical accessories to keep functioning correctly.

For alternator repairs and replacement in Hamilton, contact Grimmer Motors today!


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