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The main function of your car’s alternator is to charge the battery. Because standard 12-volt car batteries do not have enough power to last very long on their own, the alternator is essential to supplying electricity to the engine and accessories. Continue reading to discover how an alternator works, its importance for the functioning of your car, and why you should take your car to a repair shop if the alternator experiences any problems.

Converting Piston Movement to Electricity

To charge your car’s battery, the alternator must harness the linear motion of the pistons and convert it into a circular motion. This is accomplished by a series of belts and pulleys. First, the crankshaft turns the drive belt, which then turns the rotor shaft pulley. This pulley is attached to the front of the alternator and provides it with the power it needs to generate electricity.

Running the Accessories

Accessories that depend on the functioning of your car’s alternator include the radio, air conditioner, interior lights, headlights, power seats, power mirrors, and power windows. Without the alternator, the battery wouldn’t be able to charge your cell phone either. This is why it is particularly important to get your alternator replaced at a car repair shop if it is showing signs of wearing out.

Providing Spark For the Engine

In order to operate, an engine needs a spark to ignite a mixture of fuel and air. This surge of electricity comes from the spark plugs, which receive their power from the battery. And of course, without the alternator, the battery will only be able to provide this spark for a very limited number of miles.

If your battery is relatively new but continues to die, there’s a good chance your alternator needs to be replaced. To find out other telltale signs that your car’s alternator needs to be serviced, come to Murray’s Auto Clinics or call us at 301-585-7557. Visit our website to learn more about the services our car repair shop has to offer drivers in the greater Silver Springs area.