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Burnt Alternator: How to Find Out and Why It Happens

Before knowing the signs that indicate that the alternator is burned it is important to know what an alternator is, since it is an essential part for the proper functioning of vehicles.


What is the alternator?

The alternator is an energy converter that serves to transform mechanical energy produced by the motor into electric energy, recharging the battery and powering the car’s electrical system.


What is the function of the alternator?

It is the alternator that charges the battery and powers all power-consuming components. Its main function is to provide power to the electrical components of a vehicle, allowing various elements of the car, such as air conditioning, electric windows, headlights, and parking sensors to function in the best way possible.


What are the main symptoms of a burned alternator?

Diagnosing a faulty alternator can avoid more serious problems, so do not ignore the signals and resolve the problem as soon as possible.


1. Excess electrical components

The most common problem is overconsumption, where the installed power is greater than the useful capacity of the alternator. For other words it is the wear caused by the excess of electrical components in the vehicle.

The vehicle leaves the factory with an alternator capable of providing power to all installed electrical components. However, some people later decide to install a large number of accessories, such as: high-power sound system, electric glasses, DVD, lamps and these components end up requiring more energy than can be supported by the original factory alternator.


2. Difficulty in engine start and irregular operation

A large amount of power is needed to drive the car engine, and if a battery is not recharging the power properly due to a faulty alternator, it will no longer be effective.



3. Smell of burnt

The malfunction of the alternator can cause the electrical part of the system to smell burned. In sure that the driver can know what is happening to the car, it is necessary to check if the regulator is at the maximum voltage limit during the load. If this occurs, it may be a sign that there is an overload in the battery and electronic components. The battery voltage should always be on average at 13.8 Volts and 14.4 Volts. If the system has values above this range it may be a fault signal in the alternator.


4. Battery light

When the car’s battery light comes on, it means you could run out of battery, but why does this happen? When the car turns on the light it is because one of the system components (battery or alternator) is not working properly.

If this happens, go to a workshop to make a diagnosis.


5. Battery discharged

Battery discharge can happen by numerous factors, including a problem in the alternator. In addition, the battery life may have ended and in this case it should be replaced with a new one.


6. Alternator temperature

Generally, the temperature supported by the alternator is not taken into account. The high temperature at the mounting site and the temperature developed by the load can be harmful to the alternator.


Faulty alternator

Problems in the alternator are more common than you think and generally easy to solve. Whatever the case, an assessment of the condition of the alternator is essential and the  replaced should be taken in consideration if necessary.  Although it is an expensive component, depending on the model of the car, the investment can compensate, as a faulty alternator can result in failures of other components and result in greater expense. Always consult a good mechanic.

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2 thoughts to “Burnt Alternator: How to Find Out and Why It Happens”

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