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Alternators


Did someone tell you that your vehicle needs an alternator?  Did you try to start your vehicle and the battery was dead, but it is brand new? The mystery may lie with the alternator.

The alternator is like a little electrical generator.  Your serpentine belt on your engine turns it and then the alternator makes electricity which is then used to power the electrical systems required to run your vehicle.  The alternator also powers all your electronic accessories like your stereo, navigation, heated seats, and air fans, as well as the all so important charging of all the personal electronics you have plugged in. 

After the alternator is used for all of that, any electricity that's left over is used to charge your battery. So, if your battery isn't getting enough electricity to stay charged one of the possible causes, may have something to do with the alternator and how well it is functioning. 

Alternators do wear out over time. Inside an alternator are several components such as bearings, rotors, fans, brushes and slip rings to name a few.  Back in the day, mechanics would open the alternator to see which of these components had failed and rebuild the alternator from there.  However, today, it is much more cost effective with the parts and labor involved in rebuilding to simply replace the alternator than it is to take it apart and repair it.

Jammin’ J Automotive technicians can test your alternator to see if it needs to be replaced.  We will look at the entire system that helps the alternator generate power and its ability to do its job to generate all the electricity that your vehicle needs, from charging the battery on to the other components that rely on the alternator.

Another possible problem is a worn or slipping serpentine belt. This belt is the main source of power for the alternator.  The pulley system that the belt travels on may have weak, wobbling or damaged pulleys and the belt may not be tight enough to spin the alternator and other accessories.  When the belt is too loose, it can slip on the alternator pulley and, once again, not enough electricity is made.  A worn or stretched serpentine belt can cause the same problem, even if the pulley system is functioning properly. 

To summarize, the alternator is an important part of the starting and charging system required to keep your vehicle starting when you turn the key and to keep all the parts working properly while the motor runs.  At Jammin’ J Automotive, we have dedicated diagnostic equipment designed specifically to test each part of the system to help pinpoint the true cause of the problem.  This equipment combined with a visual inspection performed by a trained technician of the components involved and detailed information gathered from the vehicle owner work together to help us to get to the bottom of what went wrong and fix it.

Call us at Jammin’ J Automotive to schedule an inspection of your vehicle’s starting and charging system today.

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