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Ford Contour Alternator

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:

Worn-out belt

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.

Insufficient voltage

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.

Damaged components

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.

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  • Keeping Your Ford Contour Alternator Fully Operational 27 February 2013

    One of the most important devices in your vehicle is the alternator. Without a properly functioning alternator, you are bound to encounter problems in your car's operation. You might find it hard to start your engine or sustain the power needed to operate your automobile. That's why it is important to check your alternator regularly and be aware of its condition-it would help you deal with the problem before it worsens. To ensure that you have a good Ford Contour alternator, check the following components for damage or failure:


    Wires

    Inspect the wires and the alternator for faults. Also, examine the cable connecting the battery to the alternator if it is loose, corroded, or damaged. Make sure that there is enough current flowing from the alternator to the battery and that there is some positive voltage in all the terminals. Check the fuse as well if it is blown.


    Brushes

    Examine the brushes and assess if they are dirty, damaged, or worn out. Replace them if necessary and clean the brush holders as well. Make sure you pay attention to the slip rings, too.


    Bearings

    Check the needle bearings in the alternator if they have already broken down, possibly due to dirt and heat. Replace these parts only if the whole alternator unit still works well.


    Belts

    Make sure that the belt tension is not loose. An improperly tightened belt could actually cause a decrease in the alternator's power output. It would be best to check the belt tension every time you change the oil.


    Other tips

    To be certain that the alternator has adequate electricity, use a voltmeter to test or measure its voltage. Doing this procedure once a year will do. Just remember that the alternator's reading should not exceed 14 volts when the engine is running. Turn on the headlights and other accessories, and the reading should drop around 13 volts. Anything lower than that could mean a problem in your alternator. And while you're at it, check the rectifier with an ohmmeter as well. You can easily replace this part if you find that it is already defective.