What is an Alternator and how does it work?

What is your vehicle’s Alternator and how does it work?


Your vehicle’s alternator provides electricity to power its accessories such as the lights and radio, and also to charge the vehicle’s battery. It uses the mechanical energy created by the crankshaft in the engine and converts it into electrical energy via induction. This conversion of energy process creates a magnetic field,and this charges the car battery and also powers the other accessories that are connected.

Symptoms Of A Bad Alternator

1. The vehicle has to be jump started on a regular basis

One of the first symptoms of an alternator going bad is the need to jump start the vehicle on a regular basis. The main purpose of your car’s battery is to provide the power necessary to crank the engine and start the vehicle while the job of the alternator to make sure that the car’s battery is staying charged. If the alternator is developing a problem, or it has failed, it won’t meet your car’s electrical needs, which includes keeping the battery fully charged. A battery low in charge won’t be able to keep up with the load required to start an engine multiple times, and will always result into the battery dying. So therefore, having to get your vehicle jump started regularly can definitely be a sign of faulty alternator.


2. Your Lights Are Dimming

Another symptom of a problematic alternator is the dimming or flickering of the vehicle’s lights. If there is noticeable flickering or dimming of the lights when the vehicle is being operated, then this may be a sign that the alternator isn’t putting out enough power to keep up with the vehicle’s electrical needs. Flickering of the lights maybe noticed when you press on the gas pedal, turning up the volume on car radio or just simply turning on another light. This is a primary indicator of your alternator not being able to keep up with the car’s electrical needs.

3. Battery Light Comes On

Another common symptom of a problematic alternator is an illuminated Battery Light on your instrument panel/gauge. The Battery Light usually comes on when the car’s computer detects that the system voltage has fallen below a certain requirement. This can mean that the alternator or one of its internal components is failing / has failed and it therefore is no longer able to keep up with the vehicle’s electrical requirements. A consistently LIT battery light also is telling you that the vehicle is now running on limited battery life. Depending on the condition of your battery, the car should be able to run for a short amount of time before the car and battery finally dies on you. At that point, the vehicle will certainly shut off and service will be required.