All You Need to Know About Your Vehicle’s Alternator

Knowing how your car’s charging system works is the first step in truly understanding your vehicle’s alternator. Although the technology in modern cars has been developing in a real fast pace, the truth is that the charging system has not changed much in several decades. The “holy trinity” remains the same: the battery, the voltage regulator, and of course, the alternator. The battery is the one responsible in distributing electricity in your car. But that’s before the engine starts. Once the engine is on, this responsibility is transferred to the alternator. The voltage regulator, on the other hand, is for maintaining the proper spark levels on the alternator to prevent it from overcharging the electrical system.

What Does An Alternator Do

Simply put, the alternator’s main job is to generate electricity while the engine is running. It turns the energy coming from the crankshaft to electricity, which is used to power all the electrical components in your vehicle. The alternator is also responsible in recharging your battery. So if your battery is dead, you should check first if it is just depleted of its charge before replacing it.

Common Symptoms of a Failing Alternator

All electrical components in your car relies on the alternator to work. So if you encounter problems like flickering headlights or other electrical failures like the power windows acting up as well as the air conditioning system, dashboard lights, and even the car radio, then there’s a high change that your alternator is failing. Car stalling is also another symptom of a bad alternator since the spark plugs need enough electrical power to keep the engine running. But of course, nothing beats the “ALT” or “GEN” warning indicator light in telling you that your alternator is starting to fail. Once this happens, it’s recommended to have your alternator checked or replaced to prevent “overcharging” that might cause serious damage to your car’s electrical devices.

Author: JC Whitney

JC Whitney is the largest and oldest catalog and Internet direct-to-consumer auto parts and accessories retailer in America. Since 1915, JC Whitney has been filling the needs of customers by providing the right part at the best price. You can always shop with confidence at

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