What are the Main Causes of Alternator Failure
Alternators convert mechanical energy to electrical energy in the form of alternating current. They charge the battery, allowing it to power the ignition and other parts of your machine. Alternators are generally located at the front of the vehicle and are driven by the crankshaft. You can learn more about how they work in our previous article.
If you experience alternator failure, it can cause other parts in your machine to also fail, with serious safety implications. Alternator failure can happen gradually, so it is important to be aware of deterioration over time. It’s also important to have a replacement parts supplier you can depend on! Take a look at our range of replacement parts, including alternators, here.
We explain some of the main causes of alternator failure in heavy machinery below, including jumper cable misuse, wear and tear and leaking fluid.
Jumper cable misuse can cause alternator failure
Jumper cables are useful for getting your machine running if it won’t start. However, some battery brands may have their battery terminals in different positions, meaning the cables can often be connected incorrectly when getting help from another machine. If connected to the incorrect terminal, this may blow the diode rectifier. Blowing the diode rectifier can cause smoke to appear around the alternator. If the machine is used with a burnt diode, this will be detrimental to its engine and battery and cause alternator failure.
Alternator failure can be a sign of leaking fluid in the alternator
Fluids leaking into the alternator can seriously affect the alternator’s ability to generate power, and so it is important to keep the engine parts as dry as possible. If it gets wet, an alternator should be dried as quickly and thoroughly as possible to limit damage and reduce the risk of alternator failure.
Though alternators have a seal to protect them from leakages, oil and water can get into the alternator. Over time, if the seal is not replaced, the alternator will be more susceptible to damage from liquids.
Tightness of alternator belt can cause alternator failure
An alternator belt, which is often referred to as a serpentine belt, can contribute to alternator failure if it‘s too tight. The belt links the engine components, including the battery, alternator, and generator. If the belt is too tight, then the engine may overheat. This seriously affects the alternator’s bearings, leading to excessive wear.
Alternator failure caused by wear and tear
Like all materials and components, alternators are subject to wear and tear as they are used over time. It’s important to regularly maintain and inspect them for signs of wear to reduce the chances of preventable alternator failure.
A short circuit can damage your alternator
Similar to the issues caused by jump cables, it is important to ensure that batteries are charged properly. If they are not, the battery may short circuit which can cause alternator failure.
Internal parts friction can result in alternator failure
As alternators involve high-speed rotation, the friction of internal parts can contribute to alternator failure. The parts will show signs of resistance to movement, which may cause other parts to be overloaded. It may not always be the bigger components which are the cause of the problem, it could be down to smaller parts too.
A key way to prevent alternator failure is to regularly inspect the alternator for damage and ensure it is well maintained, and a maintenance schedule can help you keep track!
If your machine’s alternator becomes damaged, Jaytrac can help. We stock a wide variety of vehicle components for many different manufacturers, including Caterpillar, Cummins, Komatsu, Perkins and Volvo.
For more information about our alternators and replacement parts, call us on 01604 491 133 or email us at email@example.com. You can also fill out an enquiry form with details of your part specifications here.