Let us educate you, our Greenwood Village and Denver auto repair customers on Alternators.
The first myth to bust: “My car won’t start, but I can jump start it and I think I need an alternator”. If you can jump start your car and it continues to run after disconnecting the jumper cables, it does not need an alternator.
An alternators primary responsibility in a vehicle is to provide the electrical current for the vehicle to run. It supports everything from the computers, to the radio, to the sparks in the engine that make the car run. All the battery is responsible for is starting the car, end once running “smoothing” out the electricity that comes out of the alternator before it goes into the rest of the car. The Alternator creates “Alternating Current”, as the name implies, the vehicle then rectifies it into “Direct Current” for use by the car’s systems. The alternator’s secondary function is to recharge the battery once the vehicle is running. In order for it to provide either of these functions an alternator requires an electrical current applied to it as well as the spinning movement coming from the belts on the engine that drive it. Without both of these, the alternator cannot generate an electrical current.
When an alternator fails, more often than not the battery light on the dash will illuminate. That being said, an alternator can be failed without that light coming on and the light can come on without a failed alternator. When the alternator fails the car can continue to run on the battery until the voltage drops below 12V. At this point, the vehicle will die and need to be towed.
Reasons for Alternator failure include but are not limited to:
- Internal electrical contact failure
- Oil soaked into the alternator
- Basic electrical failure
- Bearing failure
- Clutch failure (on certain models)
Unfortunately these days, when an alternator fails it needs to be replaced. There is no cost-effective way to repair them “in the field”.
If you suspect an alternator problem, Call: (303) 919-7769