Seems like these days, we're hearing about more and more electric or hybrid vehicles. Keep in mind that conventional gasoline internal combustion vehicles have important electrical components, too, and it's important to make sure they're operating at their peak.
In a vehicle with a gasoline engine, the part that keeps the battery charged is the alternator. It converts the mechanical energy created by the engine into electrical power. To do that, a shaft in the alternator has a pulley on one end that's driven by a belt that is turned by the engine. A series of magnets then spins around coiled wires and it creates alternating current, or electricity. Your vehicle uses that to charge the battery that, in turn, keeps other electrical components in your vehicle working.
Here are a few signs that the alternator isn't doing its job right. The battery keeps going dead, your instrument panel's battery light is on (it looks like a rectangle with a - and + inside and a couple of "terminals" on top), or your lights are dimmer than they usually are. You may also have a voltage gauge that shows lower than usual power. If bearings in your alternator are seizing up, you may hear a grinding noise coming from your engine compartment. If you have any of those signs, bring your vehicle to us so we can check your electrical system.
A technician will run diagnostics on your alternator, the cables and the battery. Because the alternator is driven by a belt, the technician will check what shape all the drive belts are in. Plus, we'll see how much electricity the alternator is putting out.
If your alternator has failed, it can be replaced with a new or a remanufactured one. Speak with your service advisor about which will best suit your needs. Oh, and keep in mind that sometimes other parts may have to be replaced at the same time. For example, if your alternator's bearings froze up, that may have damaged the drive belt, and it may have to be replaced at the same time.
Ed's Car Care Center
7811 North Clinton Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46825