December 21, 2017

Noticing an Issue with the Alternator

  Taking proper care of your vehicle means making sure it is brought in on a regular basis for maintenance inspections. The alternator is a critical component to your vehicle’s operation. It only contains a few parts, but if the alternator starts to go, you may have issues with your vehicle. The alternator turns the mechanical energy of the engine’s rotating crankshaft into electricity through induction. The alternator also has wires that cut through a magnetic field that helps to induce the electrical current. The current is used to power the accessories in your vehicle like the headlights or radio. The alternator also helps to keep the battery fully charged to the power it needs to start the vehicle. If you have numerous accessories turned on, like the radio, headlights, and others, the alternator will need to work harder to maintain the necessary voltage needed.     The alternator for your vehicle supplies the power for the vehicle’s electrical needs. If it begins to lose electricity, so do the accessories that need that electricity to run properly. There may be erratic symptoms in your vehicle that could range from dim or extremely bright headlights, to the radio stopping abruptly. Other accessories like the power windows may start to slowdown if the alternator is starting to lose its current. When the alternator begins to fail, the battery starts to work harder to make up for the difference. This can cause the battery to wear out quicker than it should. The vehicle’s battery is not designed for any long-term power use, and it may result in it becoming unreliable. No matter what issue you notice with your vehicle, make sure to bring the vehicle in and we can inspect it for you.    
September 1, 2017

Why the Alternator is Important

  The electrical charging system in your vehicle is generally made up of three major components: the battery, voltage regulator, and alternator. The battery and alternator will work together to generate power for the electrical components of a vehicle. Alternators are generally found near the front of the engine. They are driven by the crankshaft, which converts the up and down motion of the pistons into a circular movement. When this movement turns the components of the alternator it produces power through electromagnetism.   Alternators are usually small and lightweight. Most alternators are constructed using an aluminum outer housing since lightweight metal does not magnetize. Aluminum also dissipates the tremendous heat generated by producing the electrical power. If you look closely at an alternator, you will also see vents on the front and back also for relieving heat. A pulley is attached to the rotor shaft on the front of the alternator. When the engine is running, the crankshaft turns the drive belt, which spins the pulley to turn the rotor shaft. The alternator transfers this mechanical energy from the engine into electrical power for the vehicle.   If your alternator is not functioning, the electrical components of your vehicle will quickly drain your battery. Since automobiles cannot properly function without the electrical system, this can be a big issue. Alternators have moving parts, get dirty, and are subject to stress from the drastic temperature changes. All of these causes can make the internal parts gradually wear out. The most common is bearing failure. The needle bearings allow the rotor to spin freely to produce electricity. When these fail, the alternator will not work efficiently and can completely seize up. This failure will normally cause a loud grinding noise.   Older vehicles with generators tend to require much more maintenance than newer models, but there’s no standard rule for how long an alternator will last. Generally, alternators are less expensive to replace than many other parts of the vehicle. If there are any issues you notice, make sure to bring the vehicle at the first sign of them. Any odd noises or odd smells you notice will mean at least one part will need maintenance done to it.  
March 18, 2016

What is the Alternator

                  The alternator is a part of the engine that produced electricity. It is a generator which is powered by the engine. Whenever the crankshaft is rolling, there is a belt which is attached to the alternator. This will generate the electricity that other parts of the car will use. It is an integral part of making sure that the engine and the rest of the vehicle will have the power that it will need in order to operate correctly. The lines running in and out of the alternator lead to the battery and to the rest of the vehicle.   The alternator also assists in operating the air conditioning, radio, headlights, and GPS without any loss of power in the engine. The alternator is an integral part of the hybrid vehicles because it helps in making sure that the vehicle will be able to generate enough electricity so that it will be able to operate while the engine is not running. You will notice an increase in power whenever the alternator is working properly.   If there is an issue with the vehicle starting or if it shuts off right away, it could be a sign that the alternator is failing or has failed. Often, you will notice that the lights in your car are dimming while you are driving at night whenever you have a faulty alternator. This is something which needs to be addressed immediately. If it is not, it will completely drain your battery and cause you to have to replace that as well. You can bring the vehicle in and we can test the battery and check the alternator for you.