When it comes to understanding your car alternator, and everything else under the hood, it is best to consult the experts. Bowers Automotive in Colorado Springs has been servicing vehicles since 1993. Our team offers friendly, efficient service at the right price. And helping customers understand their vehicles better is one of our passions. While many components of vehicles have modernized and changed over the past few decades, alternators have held their basic structure and function within your car.
What Does the Alternator Do?
The purpose of your car’s alternator is to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy, to produce an AC current that can be used to charge the battery. A standard car’s battery lasts for years and does not need to charge from an outside source. This is thanks to the alternator, which harnesses mechanical energy from the motor while the engine is running and turns it into an electric current capable of charging the battery of your car.
The battery needs to maintain a constant charge in order to be capable of turning on the lights, radio, heating systems, GPS and internal computers within your car. If you have ever found that your car’s battery is dead after not using the vehicle for an extended period, this is because the battery depends on a regularly running motor to remain charged.
How Does It Work?
Understanding your car alternator is a little complicated. It uses the principle of electromagnetic induction to produce electricity. This is when voltage is generated across a conductor by a changing magnetic field. The alternator is composed of an iron conductor with coils wound around it and a magnet that can be rotated inside the conductor. To create the changing magnetic field, the magnet must be physically rotated. Whenever the engine is running, the moving drive belt produces the force necessary to set the magnet rotating.
What Happens When the Alternator Malfunctions?
Some signs of a failing alternator include dimmed headlights, failing electrical components and difficulty starting the car’s ignition. A loosened belt could be the culprit, and the problem can be easily solved by having it tightened up.
If you notice that your battery fails to retain a charge, leaks or is completely dead, it may be time to replace the alternator. A good way to check for an alternator malfunction is to charge the battery from an external source. A loud grinding noise will be produced by the alternator if the bearings have started to go and need to be replaced.
At Bowers Automotive in Colorado Springs, we have the latest in diagnostic tools and auto repair technology. We can take the guesswork out of understanding your car alternator by quickly identifying any malfunctions. We pride ourselves on delivering high-quality, reliable repair services. If you suspect any issues with your vehicle’s electrical system or mechanical parts, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. More often than not, the quicker we address the problem, the easier it is to fix!