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Honda Prelude Alternator

Identifying and Fixing Simple Honda Prelude Alternator Issues

Like most vehicles, your Honda Prelude uses an alternator to power the engine. The alternator converts mechanical energy and produces electricity to charge the battery, which runs the engine's electrical functions; this includes the ignition, the electrical accessories and the engine control systems. If the alternator fails, it's either it is not producing enough electricity to power the vehicle's needs, or it is not working at all. The good thing with the alternator is that you don't have to exert much effort to find out that the there's a problem with it. You are given a lot of obvious indicators to warn you about your weakening or troubled Honda Prelude alternator.

Check the alternator warning lights

The most obvious sign is the alternator warning lights. When your vehicle feels that the alternator is not working properly or not producing enough electrical energy, the alternator warning light turns on. However, sometimes the alternator turns not because the alternator itself is weak. It can be because of faulty gauge or malfunctioning light. You can dismiss this issue if you turn on the headlights and the lights don't flicker when you rev up the engine.

Inspect the alternator belt

The alternator light can also turn on when the alternator belt is loose or cracked. Slipping or damaged alternator belts negatively affect the electrical power output of your alternator. If left unattended, the belt becomes worn out, which causes the alternator to overcompensate and end up malfunctioning. One indication of the alternator belt problem is the scent of burning rubber. When the belt is loose, the alignment is wrong causing friction that burns the rubber belt. If the belt is just loose then you can re-tighten it as indicated in your service manual. If it's visibly damaged, then install belt replacements as it is relatively cheaper to replace alternator belts than replacing the alternator itself.

Test the engine

You can also confirm if that there is an alternator problem through the engine by starting your car. If it immediately dies, then you have a bad alternator. Even if it starts, but then fails to continue running once you turned on the headlights, then you need to replace your alternator. Alternatively, you can have an engine that would not start at all and the ignition just makes a clicking sound. This also means then you have a problematic alternator.

Listen for a loud grinding noise

When you start your Honda Prelude, you are suddenly bombarded with an awfully loud grinding sound. This indicates that you have a needle bearing failure. When the needle bearings break from dirt and heat, it prevents the rotor in the alternator from spinning and eventually makes the alternator to stop working.

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  • Caring for Honda Prelude Alternator

    Having a car's alternator die and getting stranded in a strange place is one of the worst nightmares of a motorist. It is especially embarrassing if you're driving a stylish Honda Prelude. The good thing about vehicle's alternator dying on you is that, you are given a lot of warnings beforehand. With a little maintenance and foresight, you can extend the life of your Honda Prelude alternator and prevent your nightmare from coming true.

    Keep the metal connectors pristine

    Keep the metal connectors free from grease and debris. The metal connectors are what hold the battery cables and the alternator together. It is where electricity passes through, travelling from the alternator to the battery. If the metal connectors are grease and debris laden, the electric power, meant to charge the battery, will struggle getting to its destination.

    Clean the battery

    Likewise, keep the top of your battery clean at all times. Make sure the top part of the battery is pristine, free from dirt, debris, water or any corrosive as these will serve as obstacles for the electric current produced by the alternator. Make sure the battery is also securely held down as excessive movement or vibration damages the battery's plates.

    Check the conditions of the alternator belt

    Alternator belts can either be slipping, worn out or broken. This prevents the alternator from supplying enough electric power to the battery, resulting in an overburdened battery. The battery, in turn, places excessive stress on the alternator causing it to break. Good thing is that, you can afford to be kind to your Honda Prelude alternator by addressing the belt concerns. Alternator belts slip because they are loose. All this needs is a re-tightening process indicated in you service manual. Sometimes the belts slip, not because it's loose but, because the belts are glazed. Glazing is caused by excessive heat and friction on the belts. Do regular inspection and re-tensioning to avoid further damage to the alternator later on. At this point, you would need to replace the worn or damaged belts.

    Keep a voltmeter handy

    Having a voltmeter is essential to check the status of your alternator's health. A common electrical tool, it is used to test electrical output of the alternator. While your Honda Prelude is on idle, use the voltmeter and check for a reading between 14 volts and 15 bolts. If the reading falls below 12 bolts then your alternator is not well.