Alternator Repair

What is an alternator?

An alternator is a device that converts mechanical energy into alternating current (AC). A rectifier converts AC current to DC current, which charges the battery and runs the electrical system.

How do I know if the alternator is going bad?

Since alternators fail in stages, it?s very possible to not know at first that it is going bad, especially if high current using accessories like headlights or air conditioning aren?t being used much. An inexpensive voltmeter can be used to check the voltage to determine if the alternator is working properly. Although a loud grinding noise can be caused by other problems, there?s a good chance it means the alternator needs to be replaced.

What are my options?

Dependent on the make and model of the vehicle, it can either be taken to a local dealer or repair shop, or the owner can repair it. There are numerous automotive and other websites that explain how to repair or replace an alternator, and one site offers rebuilding and conversion kits. You can also purchase a repair manual or how-to book from a vendor online. One such service manual available online explains how to repair the part, or provides a shop repair hour estimate.


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