The common signs of a bad automotive alternator include a weak battery, dimmed headlights, an odd or burning smell and a whining or grinding noise coming from the front of the vehicle. Alternators are electromechanical devices that power the electrical requirements of the vehicle and charge automotive batteries while the engine is in operation.Continue Reading
Alternator failures can be classified as electrical or mechanical in nature. Electronic components, such as the voltage regulator and rectifier, over or under supply the required voltage output to the mechanical parts of the alternator, and in some cases cause electrical failures. An electrical breakdown usually produces an odd burning smell and prompts the charge lamp on the vehicle's dashboard to warn drivers. Other common electrical failures include burnt copper windings, loose terminal connections, broken slip rings and depleted carbon brushes.
Since alternators are powered by automotive engines via fan belts connected to crankshafts, rotor bearing failures may arise from under- or over-tensioned fan belts. The rotor bearings can overheat and eventually fail. This type of mechanical failure commonly produces a whining or grinding sound.
Other common mechanical failures include broken mounting studs and broken casings. Mounting studs are susceptible to slight movement due to vibrations, and out of position mountings cause low power output and put stress on rotor bearings that lead to potential damage.Learn more about Car Parts & Maintenance
To adjust your automotive headlights, stand the vehicle in front of a wall, switch on the headlights first to the Low and then to the High setting, measure and mark the distance between the ground and the two headlamps and the low beam centers, and connect the markings via horizontal and vertical lines. Use the lines drawn and the adjustment screws of the two headlamps to adjust the low and high beams of the headlamps appropriately.Full Answer >
Optical headlamp alignment refers to a method of ensuring that headlights on the front of a motor vehicle are configured to properly emit light at the correct angle. The method involves using an optical headlamp aligner to read the strength and focus of the light to determine any necessary adjustments.Full Answer >
Common signs of a failing alternator include an illuminated warning light on the dashboard, dimming lights during the vehicle's operation, and a constantly dead battery. Many auto parts stores can test an alternator for free to determine if it needs replacing.Full Answer >
Tips for changing an alternator include parking the vehicle in a well-lit and flat area, allowing the engine to cool down, and unplugging the car battery to avoid shock. Read your owner's service manual before starting the installation. You need socket wrenches of various sizes and a replacement alternator to complete the process.Full Answer >