Verifying a Ford Contour Alternator Malfunction
Car accessories such as headlights, radio, and air conditioning system are capable of functioning because of the electricity transmitted to them by the alternator. It is also responsible for recharging the battery while the car is running. However, determining a defective alternator may be a tricky job. A malfunction in this device is often confused with problems in the battery since these two components work closely together. Here are some problems that could help you identify a Ford Contour alternator malfunction:
If you hear a clanging or rattling sound, it is most likely due to a worn-out alternator belt. Inspect it for damage and closely observe if it slips or has become loose, which could affect the speed of the alternator. As a result, the alternator may not be able to provide the correct voltage to the battery, causing the battery to die out soon. In this case, you need to adjust the belt and tighten it just enough. However, if it has deteriorated beyond repair, replacing it would be the best thing to do.
If there is not enough voltage transmitted to the battery, you can expect it to run out of charge. You might want to check the battery before testing the alternator, though. Measure its voltage with a voltmeter. The reading should be close to 12.6 volts when the vehicle is off. Then, when the car is turned on, the battery should read within 14 to 15 volts.
If the battery is fine, proceed to testing the alternator. Use the voltmeter in measuring the alternator's voltage as well. If the voltage fluctuates once you accelerate, there really is a problem with the alternator. Too much power coming from it may cause overcharging problems in the battery, and a low output obviously poses undercharging issues. The alternator's current should read between 13.8 and 14.2 volts. If the reading goes beyond or below that range, you would have to replace your alternator.
Check the bolts holding down the alternator, which should be secured tightly to the engine. Make sure that the alternator is not moving. Also, inspect the cables connecting the battery and the alternator for damage, burns, or cuts. Repair or replace them as needed.