Get the Facts About Alternators
What one is: Part of the charging system in your vehicle, and a critical one. Without it, the vehicle wouldn't run at all.
What one does: Transforms mechanical energy (the movement of parts) into electrical energy (electricity). This is how your car battery charges and other electrical systems run. In fact, alternators help power everything from the dash lights and displays to power windows, the car radio, the steering system, the windshield wipers, and more.
How one works: basically, by creating a magnetic field. The engine, serpentine and drive belts, a pulley, and a rotor shaft work together to move a set of magnetic coils to do it. The alternator's rectifier captures the field's energy as the aforementioned electricity, turning it from AC into DC current managed by a voltage regulator.
Why they fail: four reasons -- parts damage or breakdown, an alternator belt that's too tight, jump-starting incorrectly, and installing an incompatible accessory. An alternator failing usually happens without any warning, too.
The signs of a bad one: there are several. Look for battery and alternator warning lights on the dash, erratic lighting and electronics, and alternator fluid leaks. Listen for a squeaking engine. Test for a dead battery, and smell for burning under the hood, near the battery or alternator. If you see these, inspect the alternator and test the charging system. Replace what's necessary, as indicated by the results.
When you change one otherwise: every 7 years or every 80,000 to 150,000 miles, whichever comes first. For more information, and further instructions on what to do, check your owner's manual. Before ordering a new one, be sure it's genuine.
Why buy a genuine OEM alternator: it'll be a guaranteed fit for your brand and model.
Where to order a replacement alternator online: from our catalog. All it takes is a few clicks. To find what's compatible more easily, browse by make, model, and model year. Buy now, and we'll ship in short order; the delivery will come right to your door.
No results found for "alternators". Here are some helpful search tips:
- Search by a part name. Example: water pump.
- Be less specific. Example: brake instead of ceramic brake.
- Remove information such as make, year or model.
- Can't find the part you are looking for? Contact us and we'll find it for you!