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Frequently Asked Questions About Alternators

April 03, 2019 3 min read

For most of us, the alternator in our car is a mystery. We simply expect it to work when we need to start the car. Most people don’t even understand the mechanics of starting a car. When their car gives them trouble, it’s unlikely they’d even think of the alternator as the source of the problem.


Here are some frequently asked questions about alternators from residents of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Miami, Florida.


  1. How will I know I may be having alternator problems?


Your car might have an ALT light that comes on, or it may have a battery icon that lights up. Whichever one it is, there’s a chance your alternator is the problem. Either light indicates there is a problem with the electrical supply to your car’s engine. The electrical supply comes from two sources: the battery and the alternator.


  1. How do I figure out if the battery or the alternator is the problem?


The simplest way to work out which of the two is the problem is to take a look at your dashboard display. Of course, that’s only if you can get the car started. Rev the engine and observe the dashboard lights. If they are the same brightness as usual, your battery is faulty. When the dashboard lights are dimmer, you need to have your alternator looked at.


  1. What happens once I establish my alternator is not working?


If you’re one of the over 90% of the population who has no idea of what an alternator does or where it is located, take your car to a trusted mechanic. Report your suspicions about your alternator. It’s likely your mechanic will start with a battery test to make sure your diagnosis is correct. Thereafter, the mechanic inspects the alternator. There may be visible problems that can be seen with the alternator in place. These include loose mounting bolts, loose connections, or corroded connections. Where none of these is present, the mechanic will remove the alternator for closer inspection.


  1. If my alternator needs to be removed, does that mean I need a new one?


Not necessarily. Your mechanic might find a fault inside the alternator that is easily fixed. It’s possible that part of your alternator is worn or broken. Luckily, this doesn’t mean you need an entirely new alternator. This is good news if you’re on a budget. A brand-new alternator can be pretty expensive. Your mechanic can send your alternator for rebuilding. Only the affected parts are repaired or replaced. This costs considerably less than a new alternator.


  1. Will my mechanic rebuild my alternator?


Few mechanics offer these services. Instead, they prefer to send your alternator to a specialist for rebuilding. There are several local alternator rebuilding organizations in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Miami, Florida. Your mechanic will have an established business relationship with one or two such organizations. These will be the mechanic’s preferred choice for alternator rebuilding owing to existing trust in the quality of work done. Be prepared to be without your car for a few days. The rebuild may take a couple of days. Thereafter, it is returned to the mechanic who must reinstall it. The process might take longer than replacing the alternator with a new one, but it is considerably cheaper.