What is the Alternator?

The alternator is the part that charges the battery in your automobile. When you use electrical components in your car (stereo, lights, etc.), the battery loses energy. The alternator recharges the battery, replenishing the lost battery power. The alternator is found in the engine compartment. If the alternator is not functioning properly, your vehicle will only stay running for as long as the battery has power stored. Once the battery loses power, your vehicle will not start. Normally, a malfunctioning alternator will turn on the battery warning light or will have a low volt gauge reading.

SEE ALSO:How the Alternator and its components work

Bear in mind:

The mechanic should inspect the entire charging system before installing a new alternator, including checking battery cables for corrosion and the condition of the battery.

How it is done:

  • Inspect entire charging system (battery, cables, alternator).
  • check the drive belts.
  • Test alternator output.
  • Remove and change alternator if found to be faulty.
  • Re-test alternator output.


Ask your mechanic to check the condition of the charging system during every major service. Mechanic should also clean and tighten the battery cables during every major service.

What common signs indicate you may need to change the Alternator?

  • Dead battery or battery will not hold a charge.
  • Dim lights.
  • Battery warning light is on.

How vital is this service?

Your alternator charges the battery, which powers the electronics in your vehicle, such as the radio and the air conditioning. The battery is also required to turn on your vehicle. A malfunctioning alternator will not charge your vehicle battery, and your car will eventually run out of battery life and not be able to start.