Has your vehicle’s alternator failed? Are you confident enough to say that this isn’t a battery or starter issue? When it comes to auto parts, they are “innocent until proven guilty”, which means you have to prove convincingly enough that a certain part is indeed in need of replacement before replacing it. So before you pronounce your alternator dead, here is a condensed look at the steps you can take to be sure whether it is indeed in auto part heaven or not.
If you own an alternator testing machine, you can test to see whether your car’s alternator is charging correctly. For most people this isn’t practical as few motorists own such an expensive piece of equipment. So if you are like the average motorist who can only dream of owning such equipment, there’s a fast and accurate way to discern whether your alternator is still functional:
Connect a volt meter to your car’s battery
Start your vehicle.
So you can be sure of making a judicious prognosis of your alternator, keep a close eye on the voltage output showing on the volt meter.
If there is an increase in voltage when you start your car, then your alternator is more than likely working just fine. However, this may not augur well for your battery, so you would want to inspect its connections and the entire battery to come up with a prognosis.
If there is no increase in voltage, you are likely looking at having to replace your alternator.
So if you have concluded that the alternator does indeed need replacement, would you replace it on your own or have somebody else handle it? You have to ask yourself a few other things, such as the following.
If you trust your vehicle to a mechanic, what will the total cost of the work be including the part and labor? Does the mechanic offer a guarantee?
If you decide to embark on this project by yourself, do you have the equipment needed to accomplish this task? Do you own a repair manual? Are you willing to settle for a remanufactured unit, or can you afford a new alternator?
Unlike how things were a decade ago or earlier, you have more options when it comes to affordable auto prices, especially with the rise of Internet shopping. In fact, there are wholesalers who operate online and sell auto parts direct to the buyer. Compared to your average online or offline retailer, prices are significantly more inexpensive and they come from trusted, venerable auto part manufacturers you can rely on.
There isn’t a doubt about the money and time you can save by handling everything on your own, not to mention the accomplishment you would feel from doing such a task. So what are you waiting for – dust off that repair manual of yours and proceed to replace the alternator of your vehicle with little to no difficulty!
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