Undoubtedly, one of the most crucial components of your engine is the alternator. It maintains your battery’s charge while you travel down the road and is typically located attached to the front of the block. Without it, your battery would quickly lose power, leaving you stranded. Do you suspect a problem with your alternator?
In this article, we’ll walk you through how to check the alternator in your car. Even so, you’ll get to know the signs of a faulty alternator, how often you should check your alternator, and how to fix the alternator.
So, let’s get started!
How To Check An Alternator
- Buy or borrow a multimeter.
- Select DCV (DC Volts) above 15 on the multimeter you’re using.
- Make sure the positive and negative terminals on your alternator are clean.
- Connect the red cable of the multimeter to the positive terminal and the black cable to the negative terminal.
- A reading of 12.6 or so would be considered ideal for an alternator.
- Start the vehicle and check the gauge for a reading of 14.2 to 14.7.
- If the reading is over 14.7, the alternator is overcharging the battery; if it is under 14.2, the alternator is undercharging the battery.
- Turn on the lights, radio, fog lights, fan, and other devices, but watch out for the voltage reading dropping below 13.
- When you shut off the car, ensure that the reading is above 12.6.
- If any of these readings are incorrect, your alternator probably has a problem, and you should take it to a mechanic.
This Video Provides Practical Steps On An Alternator Test. Check It Out Now:
How Often Should You Check Your Alternator?
Basically, there is no set time frame for you to check your alternator, but it is important to be aware of the signs that may indicate a problem with the alternator. A faulty alternator may cause a variety of issues, which include dim or flickering lights, battery-related problems, warning lights on the dashboard, strange noises, electrical failures, stalling or difficulty running, and a smell of burning rubber.
It is advised that you have your vehicle’s charging system checked by a certified technician at least once a year. Regular maintenance can help prevent alternator failure and extend the life of your vehicle’s electrical system. In addition to regular inspections, there are some steps you can take to help maintain your alternator and prevent issues.
Keeping your battery terminals clean and free of corrosion can help ensure a proper electrical connection and prevent strain on the alternator. It is also important to avoid overloading the electrical system by using too many accessories or charging too many devices at once.
If you suspect a problem with your alternator, it is important to have it inspected and repaired as soon as possible. A failing alternator can lead to further damage to the electrical system and other components of the vehicle. A professional mechanic can diagnose the problem and recommend appropriate repairs or replacements.
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In conclusion, every owner of a vehicle should be able to check their alternator. The electrical system of your car can run smoothly and unexpected breakdowns can be avoided with routine alternator health checks. A sensible and economical method to keep your vehicle operating dependably is to be proactive about alternator maintenance, whether you conduct a do-it-yourself voltage test or hire a professional.