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Jeep Commander Alternator

Alerts of an Ailing Jeep Commander Alternator

An alternator is a simple and supplementary, sometimes central, component found in many engines, not just in cars. It only has a few parts; but it plays such a huge role in the vehicle's operation. To put it in plainly, it turns mechanical energy generated by the crankshaft to electricity through induction. That converted energy is used to power the car's accessories, which can be anything from side mirrors to the fully automatic adjustable seats. The alternator also keeps the battery fully charged, providing the power it needs to operate the various parts in the car that need power. Because the alternator supplies the juice to almost every electrical component it is connected with, any problems coming from it certainly affect, not just its function, but also other systems in the vehicle. Paying attention to the alerts of an ailing alternator is essential for keeping the blues away.

Flashing dashboard warning light

This is the easiest, most obvious alert to spot and hardest to ignore at the same time. Most cars already have a dedicated signal for an alternator issue, including the Jeep Commander. It might flash in a shape of a battery, ALT, or GEN. Often times, people mistake this as a battery problem. However, this is not the case. This light is linked with the voltage output monitoring the alternator. Any deviation in the pre-set output will cause this light to come on. For instance, if you turn any electrical accessory in your car on, the signal light up and stays on. Afterwards, turning it off makes the signal disappear. This means the alternator might not be able to deliver the required voltage output anymore.

Dimming headlights

Another alert of an ailing alternator comes in the form of dimming headlights. Alternators in perfect condition are most definitely able to regulate enough power to make all accessories work. However, when an alternator starts to fail, it begins to send low power. Once the headlights experience erratic lighting, the alternator might be in its final leg.

"Sense" of urgency

The senses could also help to identify alerts from an ailing alternator. For example, a "whining" or "growling" sound is heard once an alternator gives up. This is because of the serpentine belt that spins the pulley of the alternator. When the pulley becomes misaligned or worn out, the bearings and bushings in the alternator will produce that distinct sound. In addition, a scent of burning rubber can give off an alert of an ailing alternator. A pulley that isn't turning well can cause friction on the serpentine belt. A burnt wire smell can also be a warning of an overheated alternator.

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  • Tips on Keeping Your Jeep Commander Alternator in Top Condition 04 March 2014

    Alternators are engine components that act as small electric generators. They convert mechanical energy to electricity through magnets. The converted energy is used to power all of the car's electrical accessories and the engine. One of the most important purposes of an alternator is to keep the battery from draining by constantly charging it with current. Thus, even if there are many systems in the vehicle that demand massive amounts of energy at the same time, the battery won't die quickly. However, once an alternator malfunctions, the whole car will be crippled and rendered unable to operate. Furthermore, the battery can't hold out for long when the alternators break down. Therefore, it is important to take every measure possible in order to keep the alternator working properly.

    • Use a voltmeter.
    • A voltmeter is a device that can read and measure electrical output. Use this to test the health of the alternator. Fire up the engine and leave it on idle for a couple of minutes. Make sure that there are no unnecessary electrical accessories turned on. Switch the voltmeter to the DC scale and slap the ends on the battery terminals. The voltage should read around 14 volts. Once the reading is done, turn on the usual electrical devices you use while driving, like the radio, GPS, AC, and the radio. Check the reading again. The voltage shouldn't drop lower than 12 volts.
    • Check the connections.
    • The power supply from the alternator might not be able to travel to the electronic accessories because of faulty connections. Make sure that the main wiring coming out of the alternator is not frayed. You can also check if the electrical plug is tightly fitted into the alternator. Keep the grounding wires free from rust and corrosion since these can cause the wires to get loose and make the alternator overheat. Moreover, if you hear noise coming from the alternator, it may be time for the bearings and bushings to be replaced.
    • Check the serpentine/drive belt.
    • For most cars like the Jeep Commander, the crankshaft pulley of the engine, with the help of the serpentine/drive belt, drives the alternator. This actuates the rotating motion that starts the induction process, which converts the rotating mechanical energy to electricity. Overtime, the belts may become worn out because of changing temperatures and friction. These belts are made of rubber, and rubber, at one point, will completely fail. So, change the belt as soon as you see any defects, hear any squealing and other noises, or if the car is in its fourth to fifth year.