How to Check a Chevrolet Camaro Alternator for Problems
The Chevrolet Camaro alternator is responsible for charging your car's battery. Without it, the battery will not work, and your car will not start. Should this happen to you, follow these tips to find out the cause before planning out your next steps.
Charge the battery
Before troubleshooting, you must first make sure that the car's battery is fully charged in order to confirm that the alternator is indeed the problem. To do this, you will need a digital volt/ohm meter. Set the device to volts D/C, then attach its test leads to the positive and negative post of the battery. If the voltage is below 12.5 volts, then you need to charge the battery. If the result reads 12.7 volts or higher, this means that the battery is fully charged. Take note of the indicated voltage.
Test for battery voltage
When the battery is fully charged, it's time to test the large wire that's attached to the back of the alternator. Attach the volt/ohm meter positive test lead to the post that the large wire is connected, and the negative lead to the engine. If the voltage reading is more than 300 Millivolts (or 0.3 volts) lower than the battery's voltage, then clean the battery terminals and do the test again. Write down the readings as well.
Check for battery voltage while the engine is running
Start the engine and attach the meter test leads to the battery again. The voltage when the engine is running should be 13.5 to 15 volts. If it's lower than 13.5, then the alternator is not charging; if it's higher than 15, then the alternator is either overly charging or the battery itself is undercharged. However, since you already tested the battery's charge, the first cause is more likely. To confirm this suspicion, have a spare fully charged battery on hand to test which one is the real problem.
Other troubleshooting tips
Aside from the battery itself, test the electrical connector for power as well. This component is found at the alternator's side. You will need a circuit tester for this. Also check for blown fuses in the fuse block.
Ways to Keep Your Chevrolet Camaro Alternator in Good Shape
What powers up your vehicle isn't just fuel, but electricity as well. With your Chevrolet Camaro alternator, the battery can charge up and provide electric power to the different components. If this particular car part is faulty, your vehicle might suddenly stop while you're driving, or it won't start at all. While there's no way for you to keep the alternator working forever, you can still do something to make it last longer. Here are some things that you should know about your alternator and how you can keep it working properly.
Things that wear out the alternator
Because the alternator supplies the power needed to keep the car running, any component that runs on electricity affects its longevity. Whenever you use the radio, GPS, and heated seats, this power-supplying component slowly loses its power. The alternator also contains fragile parts such as a needle bearing that can easily break because of dirt and grime building up inside. The diodes in the voltage regulator can fail after some time as well because the engine's heat puts an extra strain on the regulator and the alternator. Depending on your car's technology, an alternator can last from 40,000 to a little above 100,000 miles.
Some tips to remember
- Admittedly, alternator maintenance can just be a "while you're at it" job. There's really no stopping a component from wearing out. Because of this, all you can do is keep it in good shape for as long as you can. So while you're cleaning the engine, it's best to do the same with the alternator's housing.
- Even if there aren't any electrical issues, a regular inspection of the alternator's health makes a good preventive maintenance. Use a voltmeter to measure its power.
- Check the car's battery as well for any complications. This component can also wear out easily depending on your driving habits, weather conditions, mileage, and many more. Before cleaning the battery, disconnect it from the vehicle, removing the negative terminal first and then the positive one. Clean the battery connections using baking soda and water because the terminals won't work properly if they're dirty.
- Examine the battery's terminal clamps for erosion. These parts, when eroded, may not be able to provide contact anymore and thus cause the component to fail.