An alternator works together with your car’s battery to charge the electrical systems. In other words, while you are driving, the alternator’s job is to charge the battery. For a car to start and run correctly, it requires lots of juice, and the alternator provides the electric power needed by the various parts of the vehicle.
Your car might have a battery with superior capacity. Still, without an alternator to keep the charging on point, the heater, stereo, headlights, and other car parts will eventually drain the battery of all power.
What are the Symptoms of a Damaged Alternator?
The alternator has parts that inevitably wear off, including brushes and rotors. These signs indicate that at some point, you will have to replace the alternator. So, how do you know that your car’s alternator needs replacing? The secret is looking out for the following symptoms.
- Weird Sounds- An alternator has lots of moving parts, and they smoothly spin when it is working well. However, if it is damaged, there might be funny grinding noises implying that the bearing is worn out.
- Besides, whining sounds from the alternator might be a voltage regulator sending a signal to the damaged alternator to up the charge.
- Electric Failures- The alternator is the primary source of power in the vehicle. A bad alternator can cause electrical failures. These failures can manifest in many ways, for instance, power windows operating sluggishly, headlights pulsating from bright to dim without warning, and windshield wipers malfunctioning.
- Challenges in starting your car- If your vehicle won’t start or it turns over severally before starting, maybe the alternator is the problem.
- Dead or weak battery- A car battery that has died or become weak might indicate a damaged alternator. But it is vital to differentiate between a dead battery and an alternator problem.
Why Repairing or Replacing an Alternator is Crucial
Your car needs electric power to accomplish a myriad of functions. Without the alternator, this power will be absent, and most of the tasks in your vehicle will be rendered useless.
The GPS, the seat warmer, the radio, headlight are a few of your car’s features that depend on electricity.
The battery enables the car’s electrical system to function satisfactorily, and it is the alternator that supplies the battery with electric power.
This relationship is why an alternator is an indispensable and essential part of your car. To show you how crucial the alternator is, in case it malfunctions, you can be stranded until you replace or repair it.
Imagine accelerating to overtake, and your car loses power suddenly. Spine-chilling, isn’t it? This problem is what a spoiled alternator can cause.
If you experience any of the outlined symptoms of a bad alternator manifesting, your best bet would be to consult a certified auto shop for the correct diagnosis.
How to Repair or Replace an Alternator
Once you have identified that your alternator has seen better days and it needs to be repaired or replaced, you should head to an auto repair shop.
The first question that you should ask is whether you need to repair or replace the alternator. Well, this depends on the degree of damage.
You should first disconnect the vehicle’s battery, then loosen the timing belt, and finally, disconnect the wires. After you have done this, separate the alternator’s housing and the brackets before removing it entirely from the vehicle.
Remember, different vehicles have varying mounting and removal procedures, so it is in your best interest to have a service manual nearby.
Replacing parts of the alternator, for instance, the bearing or the rotor, is quite straightforward. If you need to install a brand new one, you follow the steps given above.
How Much does it Cost to Repair a Damaged Alternator?
You should know that alternators are not that complicated, and you can repair them. Besides, you might think that the whole alternator is damaged while, in reality, it is only the rotor bearings, the brushes, or any other part that you have to replace.
The cost of repairing or replacing your alternator depends on several factors. These factors include the type of vehicle, the model year, the brand, among others. Typically, the price of the alternator ranges from between $200 to $600.
What makes the final fees different is usually the cost of repairs. While you can anticipate the cost of the parts, it is difficult to know how much the mechanic will charge as labor. The labor fee will depend on the experience and reputation of the auto expert.
Keep in mind that working on older car models is easier and cheaper as compared to newer models, especially luxury cars, which might need specialized tools to reach the area. This requirement will usually influence the cost of labor significantly.
One issue that might determine how much you will have to part with after alternator replacement is the kind of alternator that you will buy. If you settle for a brand new alternator, definitely you will pay more than a second-hand or refurbished part.
Why it is a Great to Junk or Sell your Vehicle Instead of Fixing a Damaged Alternator?
Let’s face it; sometimes we can become so attached to our cars that they feel like family. As such, letting go of them can be traumatizing. But what happens when the vehicle can no longer serve its purpose, and it is doing is just adding to the repair and parts replacement bill?
Let’s say that your car has a problem with the alternator. At what point do you say that you will replace or repair the faulty alternator? Also, when do you reach a point where you feel that selling or junking the car far outweighs the benefits of fixing the alternator?
Well, it makes absolutely no sense in keeping a car that spends more time at the garage or auto repair shop than on the roads. So when do you decide that it is finally time to sell or junk your car?
If the cost of repairing or replacing the alternator is higher than the car’s worth, then calling us, your friendly neighborhood junk dealer near me and you, is the best decision. And if you cannot afford to replace the alternator, you can always consider finding a buyer for your car.
The point is; it is not logical to keep a car whose alternator problems keep on draining your finances.
An alternator is an integral part of your car, and you cannot expect your car to run like a dream if this part is damaged or faulty. If your vehicle experiences the symptoms of a damaged alternator, have it checked and from there, decide whether the alternator needs replacing or repair. And when keeping the car is no longer a viable option, talk to your used car seller or car junk dealer.