Step-By-Step Guide To Replacing Your Vehicle’s Alternator

The alternator of your car is responsible for the smooth functioning of the electronics fitted in it. Simply put, the alternator is responsible for converting the mechanical energy produced by the engine into electrical energy that powers the car’s electronics. Besides supplying electrical energy to the electronics, the alternator is also responsible for recharging the car’s battery when the engine is running.

Since the alternator is connected to several other components of your car, running your car with a crooked or damaged alternator can potentially affect all the connected parts as well.

If you have found out that your alternator is not working properly, you may also have figured out that replacing the alternator is a more viable option than fixing it. 

This is because an alternator is a complex piece of technology and alternator repair parts are both difficult to work with and difficult to come by.

While repairing the alternator is a complex undertaking, replacing your existing alternator with a new one is a much easier task.

Let’s look at the steps involved in this process:

Step 1: Park Your Car On An Even Surface And Disconnect The Battery

Keeping your car parked on an even surface is important because it provides you with the right kind of surface for when you need to jack up your car. Even if you don’t need to lift your car using a jack, parking on an even surface gives you an even surface to work with.

After parking your car, it is time to disconnect your battery. To do this, locate the negative (-) terminal on your battery. Next, make sure your engine is off and the key has been taken out of the car. Using a socket, loosen the bolt on the negative terminal. Once it is loose enough,you should be able to pull the connecting wire and disconnect it.

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Step 2: Locate And Disconnect The Old Alternator

The next step is to locate the alternator. You can do this by following the accessory belts of your engine. The alternator is generally placed in one of two common positions- either on the top of the engine assembly (easily accessible from the engine bay) or on its side (difficult to access from the engine bay). 

If the alternator of your car is located on the side, you may need to jack up your car and access it from underneath the car.

Next, locate the thick wire running from the battery to the alternator. Loosen the bolt using a socket (or a wrench, if it fits) and disconnect the wire. After this, remove the wire harness by loosening the clip (that is holding the harness together) with your fingers. If you need to use a screwdriver, be sure to use it carefully so as to not damage the plastic parts of the harness.

Step 3: Remove The Old Alternator

In order to remove the alternator, you will need to relieve the tension on the alternator belt. Begin by inserting a square drive into the hole of the auto tensioner and twist it clockwise to release the tension on the belt. Next, slide the belt off the pulley and release the auto tensioner.

If you have a car that does not have an auto tensioner pulley, you can release the tension by simply loosening the bolts on the alternator.

Once this is done, you should be able to remove the alternator easily.

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Step 4: Install That New Alternator

To install the new alternator, slide it into its place and insert the mounting bolts. If your car has an auto-tensioner pulley, you can tighten the bolts completely at this point. If it doesn’t leave the bolts loosened.

Next, run the alternator belt over the pulley. For vehicles that don’t have auto-tensioner pulley, you may need to apply manual pressure on the alternator using a pry bar, while tightening the bolts. You may need an additional set of hands to complete this step.

Finally, connect the main power cable and the cable harness to the alternator exactly as they were connected with the old alternator.

Now reconnect the battery and voila! You have successfully replaced your car’s alternator!