The diminutive size of the alternator may make you think that it is not as critical as other components in your vehicle, such as the engine, but the truth is that this auto part is vital for your car's performance. Without a functional alternator, mechanical energy cannot be converted into electrical power; subsequently, multiple auto parts will be unable to function. However, few motorists pay much attention to their alternator as long as they are not experiencing auto problems. But this neglect is what increases the chances of undue wear, since the alternator will not be receiving the attention it needs to stay at peak performance. Read on for simple and practical tips that can help you prevent inopportune alternator repairs.
Check the alternator belt
One of the straightforward maintenance measures that you can take to keep your alternator in working condition is to inspect the state of the alternator belt periodically. Several factors contribute to the steady wear of the alternator belt. The belt, to begin with, is manufactured from rubber. Thus, it is not surprising that it will start to acquire cracks and start to fray with prolonged use. Secondly, the heat that the alternator belt is exposed to when it is in operation will steadily affect the integrity of the belt. As a result, the friction will diminish the alternator's performance. When this goes on unnoticed, the performance of your engine will also be affected over time. Therefore, it is advisable to be on the lookout for any signs of ageing and replace the alternator belt as needed.
Keep the alternator clean and grime-free
Another simple yet underrated maintenance measure that will prolong the longevity of your alternator is ensuring that it stays as clean as possible. When dirt is left to accumulate on the alternator, it increases the likelihood of this component overheating. Excessive heat from the environment, coupled with the alternator itself overheating, can drastically decrease the shelf life of this auto part. Moreover, the thicker the layer of dirt on the component, the less ventilation that it receives. Thus, it is recommended to take some time every other day to clean the surfaces of the alternator thoroughly.
Ensure the alternator is aligned correctly
Although the alternator will typically remain securely in place, the jostling that comes with driving on rough terrain can knock it out of its position. And for this auto part and the crankshaft to work in unison, they need to stay in perfect alignment. It is best to monitor the positioning of the alternator so that any signs of the system being off kilter can be remedied before severe problems arise.
Contact an alternator repair shop to learn more.