The alternator supplies electricity to your car. Any fault in the alternator means you have to struggle while driving. So, we would suggest you check the alternator before heading off for a long drive. So, you must know how to test alternator with screwdriver.
Testing an alternator is essential because it will help you keep it in good working condition. This article will help you know what an alternator is, how to identify a faulty alternator, and how to test a car alternator.
What Is an Alternator?
An alternator is a generator that uses the mechanical energy of the car to produce electrical energy. In addition, the best car alternator distributes the electrical energy to the vehicle to run conditioning units, lights and charge the battery.
The alternator is the part of every car with a standard internal combustion engine. A better-performing alternator enhances the average life of your car’s battery. Therefore, it’s crucial to perform a quick alternator test from time to time to check the alternator's performance.
Testing the alternator with a voltmeter and multimeter is most common. But you don’t need to worry about if you don’t know how to test alternator with multimeter or voltmeter. An easy way to test the alternator is with a screwdriver. Surprisingly it doesn’t require you to turn your car on.
How can you diagnose a bad alternator?
Before you learn how to test an alternator, you must know how to identify a bad alternator without testing. Here’re some indicators of a malfunctioned alternator.
● Dim lights:
A bad alternator supply inconsistent voltage to the electronic accessories. As a result, you’ll notice dim lights or flickering lights.
● Dead battery:
A bad alternator doesn’t charge the battery effectively, leading to earlier depletion. However, a bad battery is not always due to a bad alternator. Sometimes, the battery is actually dead.
● Malfunctioned parts of the car:
Does your car’s speedometer is swinging? Does your car’s window is not moving up or down quickly? If yes, the alternator may have an issue. A bad alternator doesn’t provide enough power to car accessories to work correctly.
● Trouble in starting or moving the car:
A bad alternator doesn’t charge the battery effectively. As a result, you will not be able to start the car quickly. Similarly, if your car’s engine is not running smoothly, it also indicates that the alternator is not supplying enough power to the spark plugs.
● Warning light:
A warning light on the dashboard mainly indicates battery issues. Moreover, it also shows the issues related to the electrical system of the car, including the alternator. An increase or decrease of the alternator voltage mostly causes the light on the dashboard to blink. In such a situation, it’s better to check the alternator.
● Buzzing sounds:
Sounds coming from under the hood also indicates a bad alternator. Such sounds mostly appear due to the bearings of the rotor shaft are bad. Moreover, misalignment of the alternator’s pulleys is another leading cause of sounds from the alternator.
How to Test Alternator with Screwdriver : Steps to follow
Before testing the alternator, it’s better to test the battery first. Sometimes car battery is weak enough to keep the car run smoothly. In such a scenario, it’s useless to check the alternator.
On the other hand, for electrical vehicles, you should charge your car with EV Chargers regularly to keep your battery at charging condition.
However, if you want to test the field current of the alternator, you can check the alternator directly.
So let’ move to how to test a car alternator without a multimeter at home. Firstly, collect all the essential tools to test the alternator.
Things you need:
● Safety goggles
● Insulating gloves
1. Ensure safety:
While testing the alternator, you have to work with electricity and screwdrivers. So, wear safety goggles and insulating gloves to avoid any damage. Keep in mind carefulness costs you nothing!
2. Prepare screwdriver:
A rusty screwdriver shows false results. So, make sure the screwdriver you’re using is rust-free.
3. Insert the key into the ignition switch:
Insert the key into ignition switch and twist it to open the car’s hood. However, you don’t have to start the car’s engine. Instead, you can test the alternator with a screwdriver without stating the car.
4. Secure the car hood:
Now it’s time to access the car’s engine by opening the hood. In some vehicles, the car hood stays in place automatically. On the other hand, you may have to use rods to secure the car hood.
5. Reach out to the alternator:
After you have secured the hood, it’s time to reach out to the alternator.
● Take the metal tip of the screwdriver close to the alternator.
● Place the screwdriver on the alternator front over the pulley bolt. Since there is no electrical magnetism, you will not observe any pull towards the bolt.
● Activate the voltage regulator by turning the key to the “On” position. At this position, the car wouldn’t start. However, the warning lights on the dashboard will start blinking.
● Place the screwdriver again over the bolt. You will feel a strong magnetism this time. The screwdriver will start moving towards the bolts. The strong magnetic field indicates that the alternator of your car’s electrical system is working correctly.
How to maintain a car alternator?
The car alternator doesn’t need much maintenance because it’s designed to stay longer. However, you should take some precautionary measures to prevent it from any damage and keep your car’s battery running.
Here’s how you can protect a car alternator:
● Replace the damaged engine shield as soon as possible. It will prevent splashes and water from the road to damage the engine or alternator.
● Cover the alternator while washing the cars.
● Fix ant oil leakage as soon as possible because it can also damage the alternator.
To sum up, you have gone through all the steps on how to test alternator with screwdriver. It’s a pretty straightforward procedure. The good news is that you don’t have to start your car.
So, don’t take a risk and keep checking the alternator now and again. Moreover, it’s much to check the alternator before heading off for a long drive. It will ensure the smooth running of your car.