Changing an alternator – All you need to know

An alternator replacement is not a task for the typical do-it-yourselfer. It demands a person with a strong mechanical aptitude and knowledge of motor repairs. You’d be much better off leaving the task to the specialists if you’re not confident in your ability to complete it.

An electrical component in the engine compartment of your car is called an alternator. It must produce electricity so the battery can be charged. Through a connection to the engine drive, it accomplishes this and generates power as it rotates.

An alternator

The stator, a nest of copper wires, and the rotor, a collection of rapidly rotating magnets, are what generate electricity. To guarantee that the proper amount of power flows throughout the vehicle, a regulator is also included in its parts. A variety of tools, a new alternator, and a new alternator belt are required. You’ll need a belt tensioner tool, a voltmeter, and a few other little bits and pieces among those tools to keep things easy.

Step 1: Protect the electronic settings in your car

You might need to use a memory saver to record all of your electronic preset information, depending on your vehicle and the requirements of the repair manual.

After you’ve resolved that, cut the negative battery cable. To find out if your alternator belt is a V-belt or a serpentine belt, check it out. A serpentine belt will have ribs on the underside and be flat and thin. Unsurprisingly, a V-shaped belt has a V shape to it. You can skip to step 5 if your alternator uses a V-belt instead of a chain.

Step 2: Release the serpentine belt

Being that the belt tensioner is spring-loaded, extreme caution must be taken to prevent injury if it snaps back into place. Wherever possible, avoid touching your hands. If you only have one hand available, the task will be much more difficult!

To make it simpler to remove the belt, loosen the belt tensioner. The belt may require some patience because it can be difficult to move or take off.

Step 3: Take the belt off

It should be considerably simpler to remove the belt once you have removed the tensioner. Checking that the belt tensioner is in working order at this point is a smart idea. It’s time to replace it if it snags, is rusty, or doesn’t operate smoothly.

You can access tight spaces more easily and with more leverage if you use a belt tensioner tool. If you don’t already have one, think about adding one to your toolbox. Compared to using a regular socket wrench, it greatly simplifies the task.

Step 4: Disconnect all the components

To ensure that you know which wires and fasteners go where during reassembly, mark all of the components.

Step 5: Loosen the alternator in

If a V-belt is present, the alternator must first be loosened to remove the belt. In these circumstances, the alternator, rather than a separate tensioning component as with the serpentine belt, supplies the tension for the belt.

 Step 6: Install the new alternator in

Make sure the fit is tight. Align each bolt hole, then tighten each bolt to the proper tension. All the connecting parts should be swapped out for their proper counterparts, which you have previously marked. Replace the belt next. There are a few techniques you can use to put the belt back on your alternator if you have any difficulty. A transverse bolt on some alternators enables the alternator to move on its mounting bracket. This enables the belt tension to be adjusted.

If there isn’t a transverse bolt, you can hold the alternator in place using a “cheater” while you tighten it into the proper position. Alternatively, a capable helper can assist you in maintaining the belt’s tightness as you tighten the mounting nuts.

Step 7: Verify the tightness of the belt

You run the risk of causing actual issues if the tension isn’t right. To determine exactly how tight your belt should be, consult your service manual. You should check the tension again after a few days to make sure it’s still accurate after some time of getting used to it.

Read more: Removing & replacing the car seat belt – All you need to know

Step 8: Reconnect the battery in

Start the car, attach your voltmeter, and reconnect the negative battery terminal. Your alternator’s correct output should now read between 13.1 and 16.5 volts. You’re done if your reading was accurate. Give yourself a high five and treat yourself to a hot beverage.

What is the cost of replacing an alternator?

The cost of replacing an alternator in a garage can range from £100 to £700, with an average cost of between £300 and $400. Dealerships and auto franchises will likely charge you more money.

You can anticipate a corresponding increase in pricing for higher-end vehicles as well. The cost to replace the alternator in a luxury model might range from £500 to $1000.

Repairing an alternator

Again, not just anyone can do this job. Repairing an alternator is not for the faint-hearted. The proper working condition of your automobile depends on it, so even though it’s not very difficult, you still want to make certain you can complete the task correctly. You’ll need some patience as well as the appropriate replacement parts.

The alternator must first be taken out of your car using the steps described above. The plastic cover must then be removed so that you can inspect the bearing. It must be comfortable. It must be replaced if it is even slightly loose or jammed.

The rectifier can then be accessed and removed after removing the resistors. Before removing the mounting screws, you must unplug the soldered wires. After reconnecting the wires with the solder, you can swap out the old rectifier for the new one. Your next step will be to replace the brushes while cleaning the armature shaft. When remounting the springs, make sure they are in the proper location.

The voltage regulator must be changed as the sole remaining step. Having made it this far, congratulations! That is how an alternator is rebuilt. All that’s left to do is reinstall it, fasten the belt, and verify that everything functions.

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