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What Is An Alternator? | BMW Alternator For Sale St Louis MO

The charging system in a car or SUV is made up of three major components: the battery, the voltage regulator and an alternator. The alternator works with the battery to generate power for the electrical components of a vehicle, like the interior and exterior lights, and the instrument panel. Alternators are typically found near the front of the engine and are driven by the crankshaft, which converts the pistons' up-and-down movement into circular movement. Some older cars & SUVs use a separate drive belt from the crankshaft pulley to the alternator pulley, but most cars today have a serpentine belt, or one belt that drives all components that rely on crankshaft power. The alternator re-cycles the power your car battery uses while driving, restoring the power it has lost while supplying the engine management, climate, entertainment and host of other systems with the juice they need to run properly. Contact Plaza BMW for all of your BMW service, BMW parts & any questions you may have about your vehicle. You can also schedule your appointment online today for your next service.

Signs Of A Bad Alternator | BMW Alternator Service Near Me | Is My Alternator Bad?

It takes a lot of battery power to get - and keep - your vehicle running. So much power that if not for the alternator, the battery's power wouldn't last. Your vehicle's electrical system depends on an optimally running alternator. When the alternator malfunctions or stops working altogether, it can mean expensive repairs, inconvenience or a break down. Here is a list of 5 signs to look for in order to help avoid alternator failure:

Weak/Dead Battery
Car batteries are not designed to last forever. As good as an alternator is at replenishing your car battery; it can only recharge it to the point that it has a decent amount of life left in it and is able to accept a charge. If the battery is really weak or dead, the alternator cannot bring it back to life. To troubleshoot whether the issue is the alternator or the battery, just charge the battery and restart the vehicle. If the battery is weak or dead, the car will continue to run but the lights will again become dim after a short time, indicating a problem with the charging system. If the vehicle has difficulty starting after the battery is fully charged, the problem likely is with the alternator.

Dim Lights/Battery Warning Light
The alternator is part of the electrical system of your vehicle. Its key role is to provide power to operate the starter, ignition and all of the electronic accessories in your car. If the alternator starts to die, you might notice your headlights and/or dashboard lights beginning to dim. A bad alternator may cause other electronics like power windows and/or power seats to operate a more slowly than usual. Most modern cars have a dashboard warning light that alerts you when the alternator is bad or dying. Usually, the light will be shaped like a battery, though, some might say ALT (for alternator) or GEN (for generator). 

Strange Smells
An alternator works with various belts under the hood. If a belt is not turning freely, the excess friction will cause the belt to heat up, which produces a burning rubber smell. If you catch a whiff of a smell similar to that of an electrical fire, this could indicate that the belt is slipping on the alternator pulley, causing poor alternator output.

Visual Signs
If you are experiencing problems with the electrical system, the alternator itself might be fine because the problem could be with one of the belts connected to the alternator. By doing a visual inspection of the engine compartment, you can determine if a belt is too loose or too tight. If a belt is cracked or worn, you should be able to spot that as well.

Odd Noises
There are many different parts that spin inside your vehicle's alternator to produce electrical current. If one of these parts becomes worn or breaks, this could cause a grinding or whining noise. Specifically, worn out bearings inside the alternator have been known to cause this type of noise. If the bushings that the alternator is mounted on have gone bad, a noise will be produced. Alternators are normally replaced as an assembly. 

BMW Service | BMW Shop  Near Me | BMW Mechanics St Louis MO

Schedule your next BMW service at Plaza BMW. We are proud to serve our customers who live, work or play in St Louis, O'Fallon, Chesterfield, St Charles and surrounding areas. Our BMW dealership has the technology and staff to make your vehicle run like the day it was purchased. Our team of factory trained techs have the skills to correctly diagnose and repair your vehicle the first time. The mechanics at Plaza BMW are the car repair experts; whether you need an oil changetire rotationalignment, brake service, or just a multi-point inspection. Schedule your appointment today or view our current service specials and parts specials. Our Service Center is here to help your BMW running like the ultimate driving machine.