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ALTERNATORS FAQ

What is a car alternator?

A car alternator is an electromechanical device that converts mechanical energy from the engine into electrical energy to recharge the car’s battery and power its electrical components.

How does a car alternator work?

The alternator is typically driven by a belt from the engine’s crankshaft. As the alternator spins, it creates a magnetic field in its rotor. This magnetic field induces an alternating current (AC) in the stator windings. The AC current is then rectified to direct current (DC) by the alternator’s diodes.

What are the signs of a bad alternator?

Some common signs of a bad alternator include:

  • The battery warning light on the dashboard comes on.

  • The headlights dim or flicker when the engine is running.

  • The car stalls or won’t start.

  • There is a burning smell coming from under the hood.

Can I drive with a bad alternator?

It is not recommended to drive with a bad alternator. If the alternator is not working properly, the battery will eventually die and the car will stall. Additionally, a bad alternator can damage other electrical components in the car.

How often should I have my alternator checked?

It is generally recommended to have your alternator checked every 30,000 to 50,000 miles. However, you may need to have it checked more often if you live in a hot climate or drive in a lot of traffic.

How much does it cost to replace a car alternator?

The cost to replace a car alternator will vary depending on the make and model of your car. However, you can expect to pay between $300 and $500 for a new alternator and labor. 

However, nowadays, there are also cheap alternators (alternators produced locally) and the ones that are rebuilt.

Can I replace a car alternator myself?

It is possible to replace a car alternator yourself, but it is important to have some mechanical knowledge and experience. If you are not comfortable replacing the alternator yourself, it is best to take your car to a qualified mechanic.

What is the difference between an alternator and a generator?

An alternator and a generator are both electromechanical devices that convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. However, there are some key differences between the two. An alternator produces alternating current (AC), while a generator produces direct current (DC). Additionally, alternators are more efficient and produce more power than generators.

What are the different types of car alternators?

There are two main types of car alternators: internal voltage regulation (IVR) and external voltage regulation (EVR). IVR alternators have the voltage regulator built into the alternator, while EVR alternators have the voltage regulator located outside of the alternator.

How can I prolong the life of my car alternator?

There are a few things you can do to prolong the life of your car alternator:

  • Have your alternator checked regularly by a qualified mechanic.

  • Avoid driving in extreme heat or cold.

  • Avoid driving in a lot of traffic.

  • Keep the alternator clean and free of debris.

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