When a vehicle is experiencing mechanical malfunctions, it will let you know. This is especially true for a car’s electrical system. In fact, one of the most common automotive electrical malfunctions has to do with the alternator. Since the alternator is a significant component to all vehicles, it is important to keep it in good working condition, and address any problems early on.
Continue reading to learn more about alternators, including what they do, how they work, and common signs of trouble.
An alternator, as mentioned before, is a significant engine component in a vehicle’s electrical system. Its job is to turn mechanical energy into electrical energy to recharge a car battery. As an extension of a car engine, an alternator is generally powered by the timing belt. It works by producing electrical energy as the car’s motor runs and the alternator spins. Its role is important because this entire operation is meant to run a vehicle’s electrical system, such as electronic safety programs, personalized comfort settings, and screen displays.
Common Signs of Alternator Malfunction
When an alternator is experiencing mechanical trouble, it will show in various ways. The most common signs that suggest your alternator needs repaired or replaced include:
⛮ Illuminated Check Engine Light (MIL)
⛮ Dimming or Flickering Headlights
⛮ Dead Battery
⛮ Smell of Burning Plastic
⛮ Stalling Engine
⛮ Squealing or Grinding Noises
⛮ Electrical Issues (i.e. power seats, power windows, stereo, etc.)
Alternator Repair and Replacement
The cost of a new alternator varies depending on several factors, including the make and model of a vehicle, the retailer, and the cost of installation. You can expect to spend anywhere from $200 to $600 for a new alternator, including the cost for paying a mechanic for installation. Keep in mind that purchasing a new alternator for a luxury and foreign vehicles will likely be more expensive. For those on a tight budget or have an old car that may not last much longer, there is the option to purchase a used or refurbished alternator at a reduced price. Most refurbished alternators come with a warranty, so you can feel confident in your purchase.