A battery starts your vehicle. Another part charges it: your original alternator. In fact, as part of a charging system, it runs several other electrical systems under your hood: your power windows, steering, dash display, windshield wiper blades, entertainment system, and even heated seats if you've got them. How does a car alternator work, though? By converting mechanical energy into electrical energy: your engine runs a drive belt, which runs a pulley, which turns a rotor shaft, which spins some magnetic coils. That movement produces alternating current (AC power). A rectifier then captures it and turns it into direct current (DC power). Your vehicle can then start up and stay running. Unfortunately, no alternator lasts forever. They can sometimes go bad, often without warning. The causes range from improper jump-starts and incompatible accessory installs to broken-down parts and plain old age.
What Are the Signs of Alternator Problems?
There are a few. Plus, identifying them is easy. They include car radio and headlighting malfunctions, a burning smell under the hood, a whining engine, and perhaps the most obvious, total charging system failure. A dead battery can even indicate alternator issues. If you think your vehicle has them, run a comprehensive inspection and test your charging system. Otherwise, you should replace your alternator about every 7 years. That's approximately every 80,000 to 150,000 miles or so. However, double-check your owner's manual; it'll tell you when it's time for a change. When you buy a new alternator, order a genuine OEM. It will fit your model best. Our auto parts store sells only Mopar, guaranteeing compatibility, and we can ship one to you in short order. Buy online today.
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