3 Useful Alternator Facts for Your Future Auto Mechanic Career

Learning how to check an engine and alternator is part of any auto mechanic training

An alternator is a crucial component of the car found under the hood. It is tasked with charging the car’s battery by converting the mechanical energy of the engine into the electrical energy that the battery needs. In doing so, the radio, headlights, heated seats, GPS, and every other electrical component of the car comes to life. Without the alternator, they don’t work at all. This is why it doesn’t necessarily mean that the engine or battery has died when a car refuses to start. It is just as likely that a dysfunctional, broken, or worn-out alternator is to blame.
Are you thinking of having a career as an auto mechanic? If so, it’ll be helpful for you to check out these three useful facts about alternators.

1. Students in Auto Mechanic School Should Know About an Alternator’s Lifespan

An important thing to know is the average amount of time for which an alternator will remain functional. When customers bring their cars in for repairs or tune-ups, being aware of how long the alternator has been in use is a decent indicator as to when it will stop working. However, this is not an exact science, because there are many factors that need to be taken into account.
Students receiving auto mechanic training know that various things, like the type of car or engine, the conditions in which it operates, and the complexity and volume of the different electrical systems determine how long an alternator lasts. Usually, this can be anywhere from 64,000 to 160,000 km. Regardless, knowing how the car is used on a daily basis will provide some insight into how long the alternator should be good for.

Auto mechanic school will teach you how to safely handle, test, and replace an alternator
Auto mechanic school will teach you how to safely handle, test, and replace an alternator

2. Proper Auto Mechanic Training Involves Learning How to Test the Health of an Alternator

It would be horribly inefficient if the only way to determine the health of an alternator was to have an idea of its lifespan and then wait for it to die. Luckily, there’s a health test that can be conducted while it still works, so that nobody gets stuck in their driveway or on the highway when their alternator breaks down. This test can be conducted with a voltmeter, a device that anyone aiming to start an auto mechanic career should be familiar with.
If the voltmeter is plugged in while the car’s engine and battery is on, it will measure electrical output. The trick is to turn off all accessories first and look for a score of 14 volts. If that number is received, turn on each different accessory one by one and check how the voltage score reacts. If it ever goes under 12 volts, then it’s time to encourage your client to start thinking about replacing the alternator.

3. There Are Very Specific Techniques for Safely Removing and Replacing Alternators

If the alternator does need to be replaced, there are some specific instructions that need to be followed. Any auto mechanic would tell you that the first part is to make sure the car has been turned off in a well-lit area, the engine has cooled down, and the battery has been disconnected. What are the next steps? Comprehensive auto mechanic training will teach you!

Auto mechanics have stable careers where they get to do what they love for a living
Auto mechanics have stable careers where they get to do what they love for a living

Working as an auto mechanic means knowing all there is to know about alternators, including their average lifespan, how to test their health, and how to replace them. Learning how to do these things makes you an expert that clients will trust.
Are you interested in studying at auto mechanic school?
Visit CATI for more information or to speak with an advisor!

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