Video Blog

 


Alternator

A Non-Starter (Alternator Problems in Cold Weather)

Feb 09, 2020

As the temperatures dip, we all know there could be problems starting our vehicles. After all, batteries can grow old and not hold a charge as well as when they were newer. Or starters can go bad.  But there's one more component to keep an especially sharp eye on during winter: your alternator.

The alternator is sort of like a small generator. It sends power out to various parts in your vehicle that need electricity.  That includes the battery, which needs charging to keep its power topped off.  The alternator creates electricity by taking mechanical energy from the engine and turning it into electricity.  It is connected to the engine by belts and pulleys. 

In cold weather, the material the belt is made from is less flexible than it is in warm weather.  That means it may not be turning the pulleys as effectively since it doesn't have the same grip. Also, when it's colder, lubricants, including the engine oil, are a little stiffer and parts just don't move like they do when the weather's warmer.  With that extra strain, sometimes it takes the alternator longer to recharge the battery. That, in turn, may leave the battery a little less power to start the engine when it's cold.

You may have a warning light on your instrument panel that looks like a battery.  If it lights up or if you notice your headlights flickering or not shining quite as brightly as they usually do, it could mean a weak alternator. But it also could be an aging battery, corroded battery terminals, a loose belt or another charging system part. Yes, it's complicated. 

Pinpointing the cause involves testing the battery and charging system with diagnostic equipment.  If it does turn out to be an alternator, there are options besides replacing it with a brand new, original equipment part.  Ask your service advisor for recommendations. Obviously, you want your vehicle to start reliably, especially in cold weather.  Take care of your charging system and it will take care of you.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Automotive Tips: Alternator

May 31, 2017

Your alternator makes electricity to start and run your engine and all of the vital electrical systems in your vehicle. That’s everything from the on-board computers to the turn signals. And of course there is the entertainment system, seat heaters, power windows and everything you plug into the power outlets. After your alternator makes enough electricity to do all that, it recharges your battery with what’s left over.

When Lancaster drivers constantly have a low or dead battery, the alternator is usually a prime suspect. However, the alternator is just one vital component of the starting/charging system, and a problem with any of the other components could be the actual cause.

In addition to the alternator, the charging/starting system includes the battery, starter, serpentine belt system and all of the electrical cables that connect them. Your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor has a systematic process of testing components and connections to get to the source of your trouble. The initial symptoms determine where to begin the diagnostic process, and he follows the procedure until he tracks down the culprit.

For example, diagnostic tests at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley could reveal that the alternator is not generating enough electricity to keep the battery charged. Is the alternator bad? Not necessarily. A worn serpentine belt tensioner could be allowing the belt that spins the alternator to slip. So the perfectly good alternator is not spinning at the proper speed. The solution for Lancaster drivers is to replace the serpentine belt system – not the alternator.

The good news for Lancaster drivers is that our highly-trained technicians at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can properly diagnose all your vehicle troubles and make the necessary repairs to get you back on the road in Lancaster.

Give us a call.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com






Archive

September 2020 (3)
August 2020 (5)
July 2020 (1)
June 2020 (1)
May 2020 (2)
April 2020 (1)
March 2020 (5)
February 2020 (4)
January 2020 (5)
December 2019 (5)
November 2019 (4)
October 2019 (5)
September 2019 (3)
August 2019 (3)
July 2019 (2)
June 2019 (5)
May 2019 (2)
March 2019 (4)
October 2018 (1)
September 2018 (5)
August 2018 (4)
July 2018 (5)
March 2018 (1)
February 2018 (4)
January 2018 (5)
September 2017 (1)
August 2017 (3)
July 2017 (5)
June 2017 (4)
May 2017 (3)
April 2017 (2)
March 2017 (4)
February 2017 (4)
January 2017 (5)
December 2016 (4)
November 2016 (4)
October 2016 (5)
September 2016 (4)
August 2016 (5)
July 2016 (4)
June 2016 (4)
May 2016 (5)
April 2016 (4)
March 2016 (4)
February 2016 (11)
December 2015 (3)
November 2015 (4)
October 2015 (4)
September 2015 (3)
July 2015 (2)
June 2015 (5)
May 2015 (2)
April 2015 (4)
March 2015 (5)
February 2015 (4)
January 2015 (5)
December 2014 (4)
November 2014 (4)
October 2014 (4)
September 2014 (5)
August 2014 (5)
July 2014 (4)
June 2014 (2)
March 2014 (1)
February 2014 (4)
January 2014 (2)
December 2013 (4)
November 2013 (4)
October 2013 (5)
September 2013 (4)
August 2013 (5)
July 2013 (4)
June 2013 (4)
May 2013 (3)
April 2013 (5)
March 2013 (4)
February 2013 (19)
January 2013 (5)
December 2012 (4)
November 2012 (5)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (4)
August 2012 (4)
July 2012 (5)
June 2012 (4)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (4)
March 2012 (4)
February 2012 (5)
January 2012 (4)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (3)
October 2011 (3)
September 2011 (4)
August 2011 (4)
July 2011 (4)
June 2011 (5)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (4)
March 2011 (5)
February 2011 (3)
January 2011 (4)
December 2010 (4)
November 2010 (3)
October 2010 (2)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (3)
June 2010 (5)
May 2010 (4)

Categories

Air Conditioning (13)
Alignment (15)
Alternator (2)
Auto Safety (7)
Automotive News (9)
Battery (12)
Battery Replacement (1)
Brake Service (2)
Brakes (14)
Cabin Air Filter (7)
Check Engine Light (3)
Cooling System (15)
Customer Detective Work (1)
Dashboard (3)
Diagnostics (6)
Did You Know (4)
Diesel Maintenance (2)
Differential Service (3)
Drive Train (9)
Emergency Items (1)
Engine Air Filter (2)
Exhaust (7)
Fluids (18)
Following Recommended Intervals (3)
Fuel Economy (7)
Fuel Filter (1)
Fuel Pump (1)
Fuel Saving Tip: Dirty Oil (1)
Fuel Saving Tip: Slow Down (2)
Fuel System (46)
Headlamps (3)
Inspection (5)
Keys to a long lasting vehicle (5)
Maintenance (56)
Making Your Vehicle Last (1)
Monitoring System (3)
Oil Change (6)
Older Vehicles (4)
Parts (9)
Safe Driving (1)
Safety (6)
Serpentine Belt (3)
Service Intervals (9)
Service Standards (12)
Shocks & Struts (7)
Steering (11)
Suspension (2)
Timing Belt (8)
Tire Rotation and Balancing (1)
Tires (1)
Tires and Wheels (43)
Transfer Case (1)
Transmission (7)
Warranty (1)
What Customers Should Know (36)
Wheel Bearings (1)
Windshield Wipers (7)
Winter Prep (1)