As already mentioned on our site, the alternator
is one of the most vital parts of the electric car system. Its purpose is to generate DC current in order to supply the electric installation of the car during driving and to refill the battery. The rugged construction of the alternator makes it one of the most reliable parts of the car. Maintenance, if done on a regular basis can assure a long and quality exploitation life. However, when the exploitation period is at its end, alternator problems
can occur. Here are two of the most common alternator problems
that can happen:
Red Battery Warning Light On
In every car, on the dashboard, you’ll find a battery warning light. The purpose of the light is to warn the driver if something with the power supply or alternator is wrong. The light is connected to the alternator installation so if there is a malfunction the light will go on. This happens for numerous reasons like:
- the brushes of the voltage regulator are worn out (when the car is started, the light will first be dim and at the end will fully glow. If the brushes are fully worn out, the light will not show at contact).
- the diode bridge is faulty (the light will be dim after starting and will not go off)
- the stator is burnt out or damaged (happens if the voltage regulator electronics are damaged, light dim or glows fully after starting)
- the electronics of the voltage regulator are burnt out (the light will be dim after starting or there will be no light at all after contact). This can cause stator or battery damage due to high voltage output.
- bad contact of the alternator installation ( caused by corrosion, dirt or loosed screws that connect the wires to the alternator. The light will be dim or will glow fully after starting.)
Sounds From the Alternator During Driving or While The Engine Is Working
If you encounter unusual sounds from the alternator (squealing, scratching, grinding etc.) the possible reasons can be:
- squealing sound : in most cases this comes from a loose serpentine belt, in older cars loose v-belt. This is due to a worn out belt which can't apply grip to the pulley. This causes friction that produces sound. Also, this can be caused by worn out bearings in the alternator which cause more difficult turn of the pulley.
- scratching or grinding sound : in almost all cases caused by worn out bearings. The bearings hold the rotor in center and of course ease turning of the rotor. When the ball bearings wear out, the ball holders inside the bearing start to fall apart, the balls loose place in the bearing and start to produce the grinding or scratching sound. This should be repaired as soon as possible as this kind of malfunction can cause damage to all of the alternator parts (rotor, stator, commutator, pulley etc.)
This is the list of the most common alternator problems that you can have. Whatever the case, you should take care of the malfunction as soon as possible. The lack of efficient power supply can cause damage to the battery, extensive damage to the alternator, damage to the electroncs systems etc. Not to mention the fact that you can get stuck on the road or have more financial headaches due to extensive repairs.