Your car is comprised of many parts, all of which play a pivotal role to help keep your car operational and keep it the dependable piece of machinery you have either grown to love or that has become the money-draining thorn in your side. One of the main stars in your car’s daily operations is the alternator, once your alternator has failed don’t expect your car to leave your driveway unless it’s on the back of a tow truck. While you are racking up the miles from the tow truck be prepared to shell out more money as alternator replacement costs will cut your wallet deeply.
What Is An Alternator?
We’ve all seen those medical dramas on TV, someone is flatlining and outcome the lifesaving paddles to jump-start those heart monitor beeps back into action. Imagine that an alternator serves the same purpose as those life-saving paddles. An alternator is the spark of life that your car depends on each time it starts up. Without a working alternator expect your car to flatline.
The alternator is a small, maintenance-free, generator of electric power that is found bolted to the engine and is driven by a serpentine belt. An alternator gets its name from the term “alternating current” and should last roughly 10-15 years without any repairs. Any car with an internal combustion engine (with the exception of some hybrid vehicles) is equipped with an alternator. The alternator is what charges the battery and it also supplies power to the car’s electrical systems. Electrical systems include the instrument panel, radio, climate controls, and interior/exterior lights.