If you are a motorhead, you would know a great deal about cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles – how they are constructed, what is their working mechanics and when you need to replace certain parts of your vehicle.
For example, if you are a car person, you would know how often you need to replace the battery of a car as it gets wrecked promptly and is ephemeral compared to other parts like the alternator.
This article has summed up a little bit about one of the most fundamental parts of cars, and that is the alternator. The article kicks off with a needed introduction heeded by ubiquitous signs of wrecked alternators and frequently asked questions about it.
Follow up on the underlying text to know a little bit about alternators!
What are Alternators?
If you own a car, you must have encountered garages quite a few times. Did you ever notice a cumbersome thing similar to an automobile engine with a rotating apparatus and a bunch of slots housing thick cables that mechanics take out and inspect from all sides?
You must have one because that is one of the primary parts that mechanics check as soon as a wrecked vehicle approaches them.
Well, that part is what we call an ‘Alternator’. Like your phone battery needs a charge to stay awakened, your car battery needs a charger to keep moving on roads and highways, and that is provided to your car by the alternator.
Okay, let’s not confuse things. We will try to make it as easy to understand as possible.
Alternators are one of the essential parts of a combustion engine motor vehicle that transform mechanical energy into electrical energy. This produces electrical energy and then supplies power for the optimum functioning of all electrical accessories of the car.
Primary Parts of an Alternator
Listed below are three main parts of an alternator that are integral in the conversion of mechanical energy to electrical power.
1. Rotor and Stator
The rotor is one of the main parts of an alternator that act as a spinning magnet. It is present inside an alternator. The stator is a metallic, rounded structure that is enclosed by a bunch of wires.
Both these components rotate synchronously to produce an alternating current or AC. This alternating current is eventually converted into a direct current or DC.
2. Voltage Regulator
Remember the concept of hormone secretion from your educational books? Your teacher must have told you how the under-secretion of a particular hormone, say growth hormone, can cause dwarfism. Whereas, over-secretion of the same hormone causes acromegaly.
You don’t want both of the conditions. Right?
Similarly, your car functions. It becomes vulnerable to devastation if it is subjected to undercharging or overcharging. To avoid that condition, voltage regulators are installed inside the car engines.
These voltage regulators direct the amount of electrical power passing from an alternator to the battery. Thus, maintaining a balanced approach and steady flow of power.
Signs of a Wrecked Alternator
Given below are symptoms that signify that the accelerator of your car needs repair or replacement.
- Failing alternators produce unpleasant whining or buzzing sound from within.
- Headlights and dashboard lights become strikingly brighter when the engine is hastened. These lights otherwise remain dull and dim.
- Worn-out voltage regulators and carbon rings are two of the most witnessed symptoms of dying alternators.
- When alternators malfunction, the battery light on the dashboard remains on when you drive the car. On normal days, it switches off while driving.
Frequently Asked Questions about Alternators
Do you have to replace the battery when replacing the alternator?
Battery and alternators are closely related to each other, and that is why most people think both of these need replacement at the same time.
Without complicating the concept, it is relatively important for you to find out the truth.
You don’t need to change the alternator and battery at the same time. This is because both have different life spans. It means that the malfunctioning of one of the two doesn’t mean that both are faulty and need replacement.
The former is designed to pass approximately 7 to 8 years and, in most cases, a decade. On the other hand, a car battery has a maximum life of 3 to 4 years. What you can do is test the battery when replacing an alternator via a battery load tester or multimeter.
If the test comes out in favor of your battery, you don’t need to replace both. Only replacing an alternator would be enough.
What will happen if you change the alternator at home?
Changing alternators at home can be damaging for you if you are not good at dealing with them. However, if you have any previous experience, you can do it yourself. It will save you a good amount of money.
How many hours are needed to replace an alternator for you?
Replacement of the alternator is a time-taking task that takes 2 to 3 hours of work. Note that this is an average time. It varies from garage to garage, depending on the skills of the mechanics.
Likewise, the sum cost of replacing an alternator varies from place to place. It usually depends upon the number of hours consumed by it.
Can you run a car without an optimally functioning alternator?
Yes, you can.
For a transitory state, you will be able to move your car from one point to another without an alternator. During this time, it will use up all the charged power and eventually stop when it runs short of electrical power.
Why do you hear a clicking sound when you start the car engine?
You always hear a buzzing or clicking sound when you start the engine of a car that has a drained alternator.
Do you have to replace the battery when replacing the alternator? Questions like these circulate in the minds of many. This article has compiled some important things you must know about alternators. By the time you finish reading the article, you will be able to understand the basics of alternators. Adieu!