You’re driving along and suddenly your car’s battery dies. You check the voltage gauge and see that the alternator is charging at a much higher rate than it should be. What’s going on? Alternator overcharging can cause all sorts of problems, from decreased fuel efficiency to an overheated engine. In this post, we’ll discuss what causes alternator overcharging and how you can fix it. Stay safe out there!
What is An Alternator?
Your car’s alternator is what keeps the battery charged and powers all of the electrical components in your vehicle. The alternator is driven by a belt that is connected to the engine. As the engine runs, the belt turns the alternator which produces an electrical current.
This current is then sent to the battery where it is used to keep the battery charged. If the alternator is not working properly, it can cause the battery to become overcharged. This can happen for a number of reasons including a faulty voltage regulator, a problem with the Alternator itself, or a problem with the belt that drives the Alternator.
How Alternator Works
Alternators are used in modern vehicles to charge the battery and power the electrical system when the engine is running. The alternator is belt-driven and uses a pulley system to turn a pair of rotating electromagnets inside a stator. This produces an alternating current, which is then rectified by diodes into a direct current and used to charge the battery.
The charging system in most vehicles is designed to maintain a constant voltage of around 14.4 volts. This is necessary to ensure that the battery has enough power to start the engine and also to run all the electrical accessories in the vehicle, such as the lights, radio, and windscreen wipers.
What Causes an Alternator to Overcharge?
There are a few different reasons why an alternator might overcharge the battery. The most common reason is a problem with the voltage regulator.
The battery is the heart of the electrical system in a vehicle. It is what provides power to the starter motor when you turn the key to start the engine. The battery also powers all of the electrical accessories in the vehicle, such as the lights, radio, and windscreen wipers.
If the alternator is overcharging the battery, it can cause the battery to become damaged and eventually fail.
Alternator Size and Output
The output of the alternator is measured in amps. Most alternators have an output of around 40 to 60 amps. If the alternator is too small for the vehicle, it will not be able to charge the battery properly and will eventually cause the battery to become overcharged.
Many newer vehicles have an external voltage regulator that is located in the engine bay. This regulator is responsible for controlling the output of the alternator. If the regulator is not working properly, it can cause the alternator to overcharge the battery.
Some alternators have an internal voltage regulator that is located inside the alternator itself. If this regulator is not working properly, it can cause the alternator to overcharge the battery.
Computer Controlled and Temperature Compensated Alternators
Some newer vehicles have computer-controlled alternators that are designed to maintain a constant voltage output, even as the temperature changes. These alternators are also known as temperature-compensated alternators.
If the computer controlling the alternator is not working properly, it can cause the alternator to overcharge the battery.
Symptoms of Alternator Overcharging
The most common symptom of an alternator that is overcharging the battery is a battery that won’t hold a charge.
1. Car Battery Voltage Gauge Reading is High
If you have a voltmeter or test light and you check the voltage at the battery while the engine is running, you will likely see a higher than normal reading. This is usually between 13 and 14 volts.
2. Car Battery Gets Hot When Charging
The car battery causes excess electrical charge to be radiated as heat when it gets too hot. This also leads electrolytes from the system to evaporate, which can cause low-quality batteries in a vehicle or remote starters not to work properly due to their lack of moisture inside them – especially if you haven’t replaced your old ones recently!
3. Your Headlights Burn Out Quickly
Headlight bulb failure is the most common cause of premature headlights. An overcharging alternator can also lead to this problem, so have it checked if you notice that your lights are burning out quickly or may soon go out entirely.
4. Your Car Battery is Bulging on Sides
Excess heat from overcharging causes the battery’s internal structure to break down and bulge on the sides. This is often visible from the outside and is a telltale sign that your alternator is overcharging the battery.
5. Your Car Battery is Leaking Acid
Acid leaks are another symptom of an overcharged car battery. If you notice any acid leaks, be sure to clean them up immediately and have your alternator checked.
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How To Fix An Overcharging Alternator
The problem with your car’s battery is that it may be overcharging. This can lead to many different symptoms, including lights flashing on and off or wax gear in the engine bay which indicates high voltage being sent through wires near there as well–even if no power doesn’t come out where you’ve got juice going into them from!
If you have a difficult time accessing the alternator, I would advise looking up vehicle-specific instructions as they will show how to get in there.
- Disconnect the negative terminal of the battery.
- Make room around the alternator so you can work on it by removing any interfering components. Avoid disconnecting coolant hoses as this requires more work.
- Loosen the V-belt tensioner and remove the belt from the alternator pulley.
- Disconnect the power cord from the alternator. Use the socket and the largest ratchet to loosen the alternator bolts.
- Use a wire brush to clean the alternator bracket and bolts for a better connection.
- Put the alternator on the stand. Apply anti-seize compound to the bolt threads and insert them into the alternator holes.
- Alternately tighten the bolts by hand to lower them evenly. Switch to ratchet and get the job done.
- Reconnect the alternator wires.
- Reinstall the V-belt and double-check that it is properly seated on each pulley. Refer to the diagram on the engine compartment label or the diagram in the service manual.
- Reconnect the negative battery terminal
Video for more tips
FAQs About Alternator Overcharging
Can I Drive With An Overcharging Alternator?
If you’re experiencing symptoms of an overcharging alternator, it’s best to take your car to a mechanic and have it checked out. Continuing to drive with an overcharging alternator can cause damage to your battery, lights, and other electrical components.
How Do You Fix An Overcharged Battery And How Much Is It?
If you have an overcharged battery, the best way to fix it is to take it to a mechanic and have them test your alternator. Once they determine that your alternator is overcharging the battery, they can replace it or adjust it as needed. The cost of this repair will vary depending on the make and model of your car.
Are 18 Volts Too High For an Alternator?
The average car alternator is between 13.5 and 14.5 volts. Anything above 18 volts is considered overcharging and can damage your battery and other electrical components. If you notice that your voltmeter is reading above 18 volts, take your car to a mechanic to have it checked out.
What Happens if Alternator Is Overcharging?
If your alternator is overcharging, it can damage your battery, lights, and other electrical components. It’s important to take your car to a mechanic to have it checked out as soon as possible. Continuing to drive with an overcharging alternator can cause further damage to your car.
If you have determined that alternator overcharging is your problem, there are a few possible solutions. The first step is to take the car to a mechanic and have them test it. There are several tests they can do to determine the root of the issue, and once they know what’s causing the overcharging, they can fix it. In some cases, this may be as simple as cleaning or replacing a part on the alternator. However, if there is an underlying electrical problem with your vehicle, it may require more extensive work. Answer The Question hope this article has been helpful in diagnosing and fixing your alternator overcharging issue.