What Does an Alternator Do?

All vehicles require adequate power to operate properly. Many novice car owners associate this function of the vehicle with the battery, but the truth is that the battery primarily just provides cranking amps for starting along with backup power when the alternator is bad. And, trouble ensues quickly when this circuit breaks down.

Vehicles manufactured before 1960 all used generators for maintaining the battery charge, but Chrysler changed the game when they changed over to alternators with the 1960 Valiant. Today, alternators are used in every type of vehicle and have been modernized significantly because of the power demands of newer vehicles. While older vehicles used warning lights to signal trouble when they were initially installed, most cars today have an actual voltage gauge as standard equipment to give the driver a good idea of when the alternator is discharging or overcharging. Alternator repair can be a complicated project for the common driver, and should always be inspected and repaired by a trained mechanic.

If you are having power problems with your vehicle, stop by and see us at Washington Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM and let our electronics tech test your electrical system for alternator output issues.

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