Alternator Replacement in Naples, FL
An alternator is bolted to the engine and is driven by a serpentine belt (drive belt). When an engine is running, the alternator charges the battery and supplies additional electric power for the vehicle electrical systems.
An alternator can last for up to 8-10 years without any repairs in some cases even longer. When an alternator fails, the vehicle will continue running for a short time on battery power. However, once the battery is depleted the engine will stall.
Warning signs that your alternator has an issue
Most vehicles are equipped with a battery indicator light, normally this warning light should come on when you turn the ignition on but should disappear as soon as the engine has started. If it stays on, it’s probably indicating there is a problem with your charging system.
The charging system warning light doesn't point directly to a failed alternator, although alternator problems are very common. Your mechanic will need to do further testing to pinpoint the defective part.
Another indication of a weak charging system is when the dash lights and headlights dim at idle but become brighter when you rev the engine. This problem could be indicated not only by a weak alternator, but also by a failing battery, poor connection at the battery terminals or a loose belt. If you hear a whining/buzzing noise coming from the alternator that’s a symptom of alternator troubles.
We perform routine charging system testing on all our customer vehicles with a specific tool, this tester tool is called a Midtronics. The test can reveal if the alternator, battery and even the starter are weak or not working at all.
If the vehicle fails the test, our technician will need to do further diagnostic to see if it's actually the alternator or something else electrical causing the problem, at this point the technician will need to perform voltage reading and pinpointing to rule out any high voltage spikes coming from other electrical systems. Other charging system problems include a loose drive belt, faulty wiring or blown fuse, defective ignition switch, etc.
If you are getting the alternator replaced, it's a good idea to change the drive belt too. Not very expensive, and by replacing it with the alternator, you save on labor, as the serpentine drive belt must be removed to replace the alternator.