The battery is often referred to as the heart of a vehicle's electrical system. In your Jeep, it is used to power each and every electrical and electronic component installed in it. But batteries lose charge and if this happens, all the comforts provided by the electronic components in your Jeep will be lost. Your vehicle may not even be able to run because a lot of engine components rely on electrical power. So, to keep the battery charged at all times and to keep your Jeep running, there is the Jeep alternator.
The Jeep alternator is an electromechanical device that converts the mechanical energy produced by the vehicle's engine into electrical energy. This electrical energy is then used to power the vehicle's electronic and electrical devices and to charge the battery while the vehicle is running. The alternator's input side is connected to the engine by a belt attached to the engine's crankshaft. The device's output side, on the other hand, connects it to the vehicle's electrical system.
Jeep alternators, and most other auto alternators for that matter, are made up of four major parts: the rotor, stator, voltage regulator and diode packs. The rotor is basically a magnet that rotates inside the stator, which in turn is an iron core coiled with copper wires. The rotor and the stator are the actual components that generate alternating current. And for this alternating current to be converted into direct current, which is the type of electrical current used by the battery and the vehicle's electrical system, it must pass through the alternator's diode packs. As for the voltage regulator, its primary function is to regulate the voltage level of the current flowing to the electrical system.
The alternator is a very important vehicle component that if it is damaged, your Jeep's battery won't last for long and its electrical system won't function properly. On the contrary, it is quite hard to determine beforehand if the alternator is in good working condition or not. So if you have any doubts about the condition of your Jeep's alternator, better have a mechanic check it. If it is damaged, it would be a good idea to have it replaced immediately.
- I've been experiencing different issues with my Jeep. Last week, I've been noticing that my headlights are beginning to dim. I know that the bulbs are a bit old already, but upon checking, they are still in good condition. What's wrong with my vehicle?
If you happen to notice that you headlights and/or dashboard lights are starting to flicker or dim, then there might be something wrong with your alternator. This part is responsible for providing power to operate the starter, ignition, and all of the electronic accessories of your vehicle. When the alternator is about to retire, it will show symptoms such as flickering or dim headlights. You can confirm that the alternator is malfunctioning if you have also experienced difficulty operating other parts such as the power windows and power seats. When this happens, you need to replace the alternator immediately.
- I just replaced my Jeep alternator with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) part that I bought online. However, since then, I've been noticing a weird smell coming from the alternator area. How would I know if there is something wrong with it?
It is easy to spot whether your vehicle's alternator is failing on you. If your car is relatively new, then you can find a warning light in your dashboard that would alert you when your alternator is experiencing problems. It is usually shaped like a battery or a code that reads ALT for alternator. When this light illuminates, then it is a warning that you are using multiple electrical components that could be more than what your alternator can accommodate. You can also check from there how much life your alternator has left and how much electricity your vehicle is consuming.
Another symptom of a bad alternator is the smell of burning rubber coming from the hood. Since the alternator works with a system of belts, when it goes bad, the belt will not turn freely and heat up. It smells like an electrical fire, which means that the alternator should be replaced immediately.
- Last week, my vehicle's battery died on me. I was wondering if I should replace it with a new one. My mechanic said it could be my Jeep alternator. How can I confirm this?
Although it is inevitable that your car battery will eventually die on you, it is uncommon for it to just stop working without any reason. It can also be caused by a worn-out alternator. Your alternator can only recharge your battery up to a certain point only. Once the battery is dead, the alternator cannot replenish it again. You might want to check if the battery is dead or just weak by charging it and restarting the battery. The headlights should be dimmer but the car will continue to run if the problem is in the battery. But if you've experienced difficulty starting your vehicle, then the problem lies with the alternator.
- I've been hearing a grinding noise coming from the alternator. What's wrong with it?
While there are various parts that spin inside your Jeep alternator to produce electrical current, the usual cause of odd sounds is worn-out bearings. When your alternator's bearings are already broken, you need to replace the whole alternator assembly with a new one.