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What is an Alternator and where is it Located?
Your alternator is a vital part of your vehicle's electrical system. Mounted onto a car or truck’s engine, the alternator converts your vehicle's mechanical energy into electrical energy. With the help of some other components, the alternator manipulates Alternating Current (A/C) into Direct Current (D/C) to keep the battery in your vehicle charged to factory specifications, and power your automotives’ electronics. Without an alternator, your vehicle will run out of juice very fast, leaving you stranded.
Here is how it works. Inside the alternator there is a rotor (rotor = field windings) that spins inside the stator (stator = induction windings). Basically, it is two big magnets spinning next to each other, but never touching. As the alternator rotor is spun within the confines of the stator, the magnetic field between them creates Alternating Current. Since cars run on Direct Current, the A/C needs to be turned into D/C. In order to do this, diodes need to enter the picture, which are called a rectifier bridge in the alternator realm. They are basically devices that straighten out the alternating electricity waves. As the Alternating Current is produced by the spinning magnets, it is pushed through the rectifier bridge, which then converts the A/C output into D/C voltage out the opposite side. The newly made D/C electricity then travels over to the vehicle’s battery through some wire. Since the car’s battery is full of D/C energy, it further cleans up the ever-so-slightly imperfect Direct Current that it is getting from the alternator. This makes the electricity perfectly clean for sensitive automotive electronics to enjoy.
Along with your battery, a voltage regulator also plays a role in this process. Newer alternators today have the regulator built right inside of them, while in older cars the regulator was separate from the alternator. Regardless of location, the voltage regulator tells the alternator how much electricity to make based on the current needs of the vehicle. In a nutshell, it is the boss of the alternator and tells it how hard to work.
The majority of automotive alternators fail in the same exact way. They just flat out give and don’t produce any worthwhile energy to charge the battery with. Signs of a failing alternator include low voltage readings on your dash gauge, dimming of headlights at night with other accessories running, battery overcharging and a dead battery which makes the car or truck unable to restart.
For more detailed information about alternators, how they work, replacement tips and more, check out our in-depth alternators guide.
Need an Alternator Replacement?
If you are in need of an alternator replacement, you have come to the right place. 1A Auto not only knows everything about car and truck alternators, but we stock the highest quality, best fitting aftermarket alternators available.
1A Auto Alternator Features:
At 1A Auto, shopping for an alternator replacement for your car, truck, SUV or van is easy - we're here to help you select the right one for your vehicle! Call our customer service toll free at 888-844-3393 if you have any questions about the product, warranty, compatibility or to purchase, or you can buy online. For answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about alternators, please see our FAQ section below. Don't be inconvenienced by an incapacitated automobile; buy a new alternator from 1A Auto today and you can rest assured your car electronics won't fail anytime soon.
Frequently Asked Questions About Alternators:
1. How do I know if my alternator needs replacing?
If you experience dimming lights, poor heater function, and a dying radio while driving, then there's a chance your alternator is failing. If your battery constantly loses its charge or your car has slow engine turnover, those are also good signs that your alternator may be on its way out.
2. Why would my alternator fail?
Common reasons for Alternator failure include defective wiring, rotor failure, worn brushes, excessively tight or loose belts, overheating, electrical overload from the battery, and oil or coolant leaking into the alternator among other problems.
3. How do I know I've got the right alternator?
Our product development team spends 8,000 hours a year researching our parts, providing you with 4x more information per part than the competition. Each alternator is listed with all years and models it will fit, saving you the aggravation of selecting the wrong part.
4. Can I install an alternator myself?
That depends on the tools you have available and your mechanical skill. It requires a lot of time and can be very difficult for people with little automotive experience, so attempt it at your own risk. Finding a shop manual for your automobile and reading through the procedure before you begin is the best way to see what you're up against and whether or not you want to begin the project.
Welcome to 1A Auto....
We employ USA based, knowledgeable support technicians. They'll help you through your project. We always make sure you get the right part. And we boast the industry's most generous returns policy. You won't find a company more passionate about auto parts than 1A Auto.