Given the price of alternators, most vehicle owners strive to make sure their alternator lasts as long as possible. However, while you may generally take good care of your vehicle, you may be surprised to learn some of the factors that degrade your alternator’s expected lifespan. As they say though, when you know better, you can do better. With a better understanding of what can negatively impact your alternator, you can take steps to protect it.
A failed alternator can be a pain to deal with and may even leave you stranded! This critical component of the car is what recharges your battery as you drive, converting the energy from driving into chemical energy. This way, you can always expect your car to start right up and all of your electrical components to work correctly. Without your alternator, you’re up a creek without a paddle and will need immediate repairs or a replacement.
So, what are the main factors that result in degrading your alternator’s longevity? With the right care, you can make sure your alternator lasts as long as possible. Here are 6 factors that have an impact along with some steps you can take to protect your alternator.
Your alternator is part of your car’s electrical system. Just like your computer or other electronic devices, the temperature can affect it negatively. Unfortunately, since your alternator is stuck right in the middle of your engine and creates its own heat, there’s not too much you can do about this but make sure your water levels are topped off, and your engine doesn’t overheat. An overheating engine can do damage to your alternator, so make sure you get any issues checked out as soon as possible.
Too Many Accessories
Your car was designed and tested for the size alternator it has. However, if you’ve added a lot of additional electrical components such as supplemental lighting, speakers, and other gadgets, your alternator has to work harder to keep the battery charged. You’re essentially overworking it. Depending on how many accessories you have, you may need to upgrade the size of your alternator. Otherwise, it will quickly degrade and die on you.
Fluid leaking on an electrical component isn’t ideal. You can check to see if the fluid is leaking from the alternator and get it looked at as soon as you notice this. Regular vehicle inspections can also help ensure this issue gets addressed promptly.
Tight belts can get you in all sorts of trouble with your alternator. The tight belts wear your alternator’s bearings. Again, inspections can help make sure that this issue won’t affect your alternator.
Bad Jumping Practices
If you have to jump your car, make sure you know exactly what you’re doing. One bad jump can completely fry your alternator. However, a correctly performed jump shouldn’t leave you with harmful effects.
Dirt, dust, and debris can make it ever more likely for your alternator to overheat. So, try to keep your engine and alternator reasonably clean by wiping them down so that air can flow directly over your alternator and engine parts.
Generally, with routine inspections and maintenance on your vehicle, you should be able to keep your alternator in great shape. However, do beware of overloading your vehicle with accessories or get an upgrade to meet your new power needs.
Need help with your alternator? Contact Inland Alternators today!