One of the many components that make it possible for your Honda Accord to operate properly is the alternator. It charges your car's battery and supplies power into the electrical systems in your vehicle while the engine is running. However, it will not always be smooth sailing for your Honda Accord alternator. Eventually, it will show signs of wear or damage and start malfunctioning. So before your alternator problem causes even greater damage, here are ways to detect some of the common alternator issues:
A quick method to determine if your alternator is plagued with charging problems is by testing your headlights. Start your car and turn the headlights on. If the light is dim, the alternator may be producing just a small amount of power or nothing at all. However, it is still too soon to be certain of anything. Rev the engine and observe the brightness of the headlights. If they become brighter, it means that there is insufficient current coming from the alternator when the car is at idle and that the alternator is unable to keep the battery properly charged. But if the brightness of the headlights remains with the same intensity, your alternator is fine.
Testing the voltage of your alternator can make it easier for you to verify if the alternator is already malfunctioning. Use a voltmeter to determine if it is generating enough current. Simply connect it to the car's battery terminals. The reading should be around 12.4 volts, and it should not drop below 10.5 volts once you start the vehicle.
You may also need to inspect the alternator, especially the drive belt. A damaged or worn belt may also cause reduced voltage. What usually happens is that the once the belt gets damaged, it tends to slip on the alternator's pulley wheel. This condition is referred to as belt slippage, and it is often coupled with a squealing sound. If such problem is ignored, the alternator could malfunction and eventually cause the battery to die out.
You may want to check the three plates in the alternator, which can be found across a winding of copper wires. The alternator is able to produce power because of these plates, which need to be rotated. They actually fail one at a time, which causes a decrease in power output. Eventually, when all the plates have failed, it could lead to battery and ignition system failure.