Electrical experts and auto manufacturers may have different opinions on the durability of an alternator. Accordingly, on the question of how long do alternators last, you can expect 6 to 8 years.2 It also depends on the type of vehicle and how many kilometers you have driven it. The heat released from the engine also makes the vehicle parts wear out sooner.
What affects alternator longevity?
The work of an alternator is to supply power to the battery to keep the car functioning. It would be best if you had the car alternator checked on a timely basis to prolong its life.
You may check for oil leaks in the alternator, and avoid installing cheap quality aftermarket accessories, which could overload the alternator. Over tightened belts could also wreck the bearings of an alternator.
What are the symptoms of a bad alternator?
What are the symptoms of a bad alternator? The first thing to notice a failing or a bad alternator is the dashboard warning signal when the car is in idle.
Other signs of a bad alternator are to listen to a screeching sound from the engine bay. You will also face issues like fluctuating headlights from dim to light.2
You can check for a burning smell coming from the vehicle bonnet.
Driving a dying alternator
The first thing you need to do while driving a dying alternator is to turn off all the unneeded electrical items such as the music system and air conditioner. Try to find fewer traffic routes as getting stuck in traffic will drain the battery.3
If you see the battery sign on your dashboard, take the car straight to a service center. As long as the battery has power, you can go about fifty miles before it gets worn out.3
How to maintain the alternator?
Ensure that the alternator is in good condition and regularly taken care of since it keeps your vehicle running. Replace the alternator belt if you see any signs of aging, as it may damage your engine.2
You should also regularly clean the alternator by wiping off any dirt or debris to make it last longer. Timely maintenance is the only solution to have your alternator running in good shape.2
Replacing alternators at local workshops could get expensive. So, with basic knowledge of its repair and the right tool, you can save the day.
The first step is to disconnect the wires from the battery terminals, and also from the alternator. Then, remove the belt from the pulley as you release the tension.1
Unscrew the bolts from the alternator, remove the old alternator, and replace it with the new one. After which you need to reverse the removal process and reconnect the battery.1
On completion, start the engine and check for the dashboard warning signal. Pay attention to any other signs of a bad alternator.
You need to be aware of how many miles your vehicle has completed, and when was the last time you have had your batteries replaced. Knowing this information is enough for you to assume whether the batteries or the alternator is damaged.
It is also essential that you indicate the part number of your damaged alternator to ensure that you are buying the same model. Make sure you buy a good quality alternator with a warranty such as a Volvo alternator or Toyota alternator.