There are many people who may not know exactly what their alternator is, what it does, or how it works. Because alternators play a large role in keeping your vehicle running the way it's supposed to, we've decided to shed a little light on how to keep your alternator properly maintained, and how to tell if it needs to be changed. The alternator in your car is like a portable charger that supplies power to the battery as well as your vehicle's electrical and computer systems. In fact, the number-one cause of dead batteries is a bad alternator. While alternators generally last a long time, they were not designed to last forever. Let's take a quick look at some things you can do to keep your alternator healthy.
If you ever need to jump start your vehicle, make sure you know the proper way of doing so. Alternators can easily fry if you improperly jump your car, and then you'll have much bigger problems to face than trying to find someone to give you a jump. In addition to improperly jumping your vehicle, improperly installing aftermarket electronics in your vehicle is a great way to overload your alternator. Always make sure you know exactly what you're doing, and if you don't, let somebody who does know work on your car!
Keeping up with regular and routine vehicle check-ups is a great way to ensure your alternator is running smooth. If there is anything wrong with your alternator, like it's leaking fluid, these check-ups will bring these issues to light and save you from the struggle of having a dead alternator right before you head off to work. Also, if you notice that your headlights appear to be dimming, or a warning light appears on your dash, get it checked out right away because it may be the alternator and not the dash that is causing the issues.
More than anything, routine auto maintenance is key to keeping your alternator running in tip-top shape throughout its life. If you do not have the time to do maintenance on your vehicle yourself, let our team of highly-trained and certified technicians here at Sherwood Ford do the work for you. If we do find anything that needs a little work while checking over your car, we'll let you know as soon as possible and let you know our professional recommendation.