An alternator is an essential electric component of a truck. This part converts the mechanical energy from the engine into electrical energy. Why is electrical power necessary for your truck? A truck has various lighting components, such as headlights, brakes, and tail lights. All these rely on an alternator to function. The alternator also charges the battery. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover some of the reasons why you should replace your truck alternator system with a new one.
Why You Should Replace Your Truck Alternator
It is not common for an alternator to malfunction in a truck. But it has to signal you when it is developing mechanical issues. It will give some signs to prepare you that it is almost getting damaged.
Signs of a Failing Alternator
When your alternator starts to die, it will send some warnings. You should be able to know these signs and take the necessary precautions so that you are not caught off-guard.
The very first signal a failing alternator will send is a pulsating headlight. Sometimes, the headlights will light bright and then become dim instantly. Pulsating headlights will indicate inconsistency in your truck’s supply of electric power. When your engine runs, the headlight uses power from the alternator but not the battery.
Sometimes, though, this does not happen to all the alternators. You will hear a squealing sound from the alternator when it charges all the electronic accessories simultaneously, such as the AC system, headlights, audio system, and seat warmers.
Sometimes, you will feel a burning smell or alternator check light on the dashboard.
How An Alternator Works
An alternator is an engine component that converts the mechanical energy from the engine to electrical energy. The working principle of an alternator is similar to that of an inverter. Both perform the function of converting energy from one state to another.
An alternator is the most hardworking component of a truck. Its primary role is generating the electrical energy necessary to run a truck’s electrical components and charging the battery. The primary role which a battery plays is starting the engine. But as soon as the engine starts, the alternator takes over to power the electrical components.
The alternator has the most extended lifespan. It can serve you for 7 years, around 150k miles, depending on how often you use your truck. Under exceptional circumstances, it will only cover 80k miles. Factors such as quality, driving conditions, and the number of electronics being driven are likely to affect the lifespan of your alternator.
Alternator Maintenance Tips
When the electrical accessories are not well installed, the alternator will be overloaded and likely to fail. Take adequate precautions when installing after-market electrical accessories.
Leaking engine fluids will likely get into the alternator and damage its internal parts. Similarly, when the drive belts are too tight, the bearings of your alternator will get damaged.
If your alternator dies, all the electronic accessories will draw power from the battery, which will shorten your battery’s lifespan. In such a scenario, many truck owners will think their battery has a problem.
Proper knowledge of your alternator, its role, signs that it is becoming faulty, and maintenance tips will help you keep it in good health.