It’s a classic problem when your car struggles to start or you are driving it along and the battery light comes on. One of the main causes of these symptoms is if your car’s alternator is under-charging. If you ignore these symptoms the electrical systems in your car may start to fail and the engine may stop working. It is therefore best to get your car checked out as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary drama! The alternator is one of the main components in a car’s charging system and generates power it’s electrical systems.
Alternators fail due to the mechanical parts wearing out and also seasonal temperature changes tend to stress the components and therefore have a detrimental impact on it’s lifespan.
However do not just run out and buy a new alternator just yet. There could be other reasons for the electrical fault/warning light. There are a few things to check first including checking the alternator belt for (slackness and wear) and using a voltmeter to perform a load test. Once the engine is running at around 1000 rpm, the meter should show a reading of about 14 volts. Below is a photo of an old alternator that we had to replace recently on a Skoda.