Driver's Guide

8 Tricks to Get Alternator Working Without Replacing it

If you’re having trouble with your alternator, don’t panic. There are several tricks to get alternator working again. Before trying any fixes, be sure that the battery is fully charged and the connections are clean and tight. If the alternator still isn’t working, try tapping on it with a hammer or check the belts and tighten them if they’re loose. Otherwise, contact a professional mechanic to diagnose your alternator problem and fix it permanently to prevent further damage to your vehicle’s electrical system.

Tricks to get alternator working

Tricks to get alternator working

Whether you’re stuck on the highway or unable to leave home for work, a few tricks to get alternator working could be all it takes to start the engine. Below are some alternator tricks to get it working:

1. Inspect the alternator belt

A broken or slack alternator belt is another frequent cause of alternator failure. Thus, one of the tricks to get alternator working is to make sure the belt is in place and good condition.

Power is transferred from the engine to the alternator through the alternator belt, which links the alternator to the engine. The alternator will cease to function as a result of a loose or broken belt.

Also, check the alternator belt’s condition, tighten it if it’s slack, and replace it if it’s harmed.

2. Check the battery health

Checking the battery is the first trick in troubleshooting an alternator problem. The alternator may be unable to charge a battery that is weak or dead due to rusty terminals or a generally weak battery.

Check the battery voltage with a voltmeter. The voltage of a fully charged battery should be close to 12.6 volts. Lower than 12.2 volts indicates that the battery is either weak or dead and has to be replaced.

3. Examine the connections

Over time, the connections between the alternator, battery, and electrical system might corrode or become loose, which will lead to the alternator failing. Inspect the connections and give them a wire brush cleaning. Make sure the connections are tight and secure, as well.

Per Continental Battery Systems, baking soda and warm water make for a good neutralizing solution to clean battery corrosion. However, do not directly pour the solution over the battery. Instead, dip a rag in the solution and wipe the corrosion.

4. Test alternator with a multimeter

Another one of the tricks to get alternator working again is to test it with a multimeter.

Connect the positive lead to the battery’s positive terminal and the negative lead to its negative terminal after setting the multimeter to the DC voltage setting.

Check the voltage measurement on the multimeter after starting the engine. That needs to be close to 14 volts. The alternator is not operating properly if the measurement is less than 13 volts.

5. Switch off all electrical parts

The alternator might get overworked and break down as a result of electrical components such as the headlights, air conditioner, radio, and other aftermarkets in your vehicle.

If the alternator stops working, switch off all electrical devices and attempt to start the vehicle again. This could be one of the tricks to get alternator working that you need through lowering the load.

6. Clean the alternator itself

The alternator may stop working as a result of dirt and grime accumulated over time. With the engine off, carefully clean the alternator using a wire brush and degreaser.

Make sure the belt is clean, as well as all the electrical connections. Reinstall the alternator after that, and try starting the vehicle again.

7. Change the alternator

A change in the alternator may be required if everything else fails. Alternators that are damaged beyond repair need to be replaced. Search for a new alternator that adheres to your car’s requirements. Depending on your budget, you can either get a brand-new alternator or a reconditioned one.

8. Jumpstart the car

You can jumpstart the car if the battery is weak or dead and the alternator is not charging it.

Connect the battery of another vehicle to the dead battery using a pair of jumper wires. To charge the dead battery, turn on the other vehicle and let it run for a while.

Try starting your vehicle after that. If it starts, the alternator is probably working, and the battery may need to be changed.

Steps to jump a car with a dead alternator

Your alternator is one of the essential parts of your vehicle, and if it isn’t functional, your car might not function as it should. Here are the tricks to get alternator working once more:

  1. Get the materials ready

  1. Place the backup battery on the passenger floorboard

Ensure the second battery is level and sturdy before placing it on the passenger floorboard. You don’t want electrolytes to leak due to it toppling over (sulfuric acid).

  1. Run the jumper cables through the window

Run the jumper wires through the passenger window after opening it. Check the jumper wires are not connected in a short circuit. To do this, clamp one of the jaws, so it is not in contact with the insulated cable. Only do this if the jaw’s teeth won’t harm the wires’ insulation.

  1. Open the hood and connect the jumper cables to the battery

Connect the existing vehicle battery with your jumper wires by placing them over the engine compartment. Ensure no moving components, particularly fans or belts, can entangle the jumper wires.

Be sure the cable insulation won’t melt if it comes in touch with hot components. Ensure the cables won’t move about, become tangled in gears, or come into contact with hot components. There may be a need for duct tape in this situation.

  1. Attach the jumper cables to the car battery

Connect the jumper cables from the passenger compartment battery to the vehicle’s battery below the hood. To close the hood, place the jumper cable clamps or jaws so they can rest as flatly as feasible. Ensure the clamps don’t short to one another, the battery post on the other side, the vehicle chassis, or any other metal.

  1. Carefully close the car hood until the safety catch engages

Close the vehicle hood carefully while looking for any shorts and pinch points. Also, position the jumper wires as close to the front of the hood as feasible. The jumper wires come out of the engine compartment to prevent you from closing the hood. But gradually shut the hood until the Hood Safety Catch latches onto the hood.

If required, reposition the jumper wires to bring the hood near enough to activate the Safety Catch. If the primary latch malfunctions or the hood is improperly closed, this catch prevents the hood from falling off. In addition, the Hood Safety Catch prevents the hood from opening while driving.

  1. Secure the jumper cables with tape

Secure the jumper cables with tape from the engine area to the passenger compartment. Also, roll the passenger window up slowly, so it is as closed as possible without squeezing the jumper wires excessively.

  1. Attach the interior battery

Jumper cables should be connected to the battery in the passenger compartment. Try starting the car, the engine should power up.

Conclusion

The engine is where electricity production first starts. Although older cars could have a separate pulley connecting the engine’s crankshaft to the alternator, most current vehicles use a serpentine belt to power their alternators. If your vehicle isn’t working well due to an alternator problem, you should check this article to discover the tricks to get alternator working.

Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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