Tech Tip: Take Care of Your Alternator as Winter Approaches – UnderhoodService

Tech Tip: Take Care of Your Alternator as Winter Approaches

The alternator, which powers the vehicle's entire electrical system, not only provides current to operate all of your car's electrical accessories and the engine - it keeps the vehicle's battery charged, and its importance is amplified as the weather turns colder and the vehicle uses more power-robbing accessories.

Dim headlights? Slow windshield wipers and turn signals? Weak battery? It could be the alternator.

The alternator, which powers the vehicle’s entire electrical system, not only provides current to operate all of your car’s electrical accessories and the engine – it keeps the vehicle’s battery charged, and its importance is amplified as the weather turns colder and the vehicle uses more power-robbing accessories.

“Today, with fancy headlights, quick-acting rear window defrosters, stereo system with multiple speakers, in-car television or DVD player, global navigation system and high output heating and air conditioning, the alternator and the battery are often hard pressed to keep everything functioning. Demands can often far exceed the alternator’s capacity, leading to less than stellar performance from accessories – and ultimately to a dead battery,” said Fred Padgett, group product manager, Starting and Charging Products for Bosch, the world’s largest automotive supplier.

So if you notice your headlights dim when you are using your heater and wipers – and really dim if you add the radio – this is often a warning sign that the alternator in your car may not be working up to capacity, or may not have the capacity needed to power the vehicle’s electrical needs.

An automotive service facility can check the vehicle’s electrical system for problems, make sure the battery is okay, and check the alternator output to make sure it is operating properly. If the alternator is the culprit, replace it or upgrade it – if necessary. Bosch, for instance, offers both new and remanufactured alternators that meet and often exceed original vehicle equipment standards. While older cars did well with 50-60 amps, modern vehicles today often need 90 to 130 amps, or more.

And both new and remanufactured Bosch alternators carry the exclusive free two-year emergency roadside assistance warranty if the alternator fails – the ultimate peace of mind for motorists – which could be very valuable in the colder months, which places greater requirements on the alternator, according to Padgett.

“Bosch is a supplier to most vehicle manufacturers and this has proved to be a tremendous advantage for its new and remanufactured aftermarket alternators. Bosch is familiar with the alternator’s basic technology and subjects replacement alternator to 100 percent end of the line testing, for proper turn on speed, voltage regulator functions, and full load test for amperage output at all RPM ranges – to ensure performance and durability,” Padgett noted.

For more information on Bosch automotive products, visit www.boschautoparts.com.

Bosch is a proud supporter of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association’s Know Your Parts education and awareness campaign. This initiative promotes the importance of quality brand name aftermarket parts backed by full service suppliers, and its impact on delivering reliable products to today’s motorists. For more information visit www.AASAKnowYourParts.org.

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