Portsmouth, New Hampshire
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Important Automotive Alternators and Generators Terms
When you're shopping for car parts and services, automotive terminology can be confusing. Without basic knowledge about car parts, making a decision may be difficult. Here are some terms that will help guide you when you need to fix or replace your alternator:
Alternator - An automotive part that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. Alternators are responsible for keeping your battery charged and sending power to the electrical systems of your car. If these systems fail, the alternator may need service or replacement. Alternators form an alternating current, giving them their name, though they are technically AC generators.
High Output Alternators - Alternators manufactured for higher power output and performance. These are often preferred for high speed compact cars.
Voltage Regulators - Systems that control the amount of charging produced by the alternator. Without a voltage regulator, the alternator can overcharge or undercharge the battery, resulting in a systems failure or damage to the battery.
Serpentine Belt - A belt used to drive components of an automotive engine. The alternator, power steering, A/C compressor and other functions rely on a serpentine belt. Many cars have multiple serpentine belts, which require replacing and service when cracked or loose.
Battery - The source of current energy for the alternator. When charging, the battery takes electric energy from the alternator and stores it as chemical energy.
Auto Salvage Yard - A junkyard where used parts can be purchased for a minimal fee. Salvage yards usually contain junked vehicles. Shoppers can remove the parts they need, including alternators and generators, for repairing their own vehicles.
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Alternators and generators are necessary to make automobiles run, as they power cars and trucks with electricity. Alternators are electric generators that produce alternating currents, and generators convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. Mechanics can provide repair and installation of these two components. These professionals should be skilled in electrical wiring, AC/DC power, starters, battery charges, and volts. They should be able to replace belts, charge batteries, and generally fix any problem that arises in regards to alternator and generator machinery within cars and trucks.
The major difference between the two components is that generators produce a direct current (DC), while alternators produce an alternating current (AC).
Most mechanics can handle these requests, whether they work as part of a dealership, auto repair shop, or own their own business. Because alternators and generators can break down over time, they need quick repair to get them back in working order again. Problems with the alternator, converter, and generator may be covered under a consumer's warranty, and therefore, the dealership may fix the vehicle for free.
Mechanics can usually provide related auto services. They can rotate tires, charge or change a battery, run tests, and provide inspections. Some shops operate on retail level and provide sales of alternators and generators to mechanics and the general public. They may offer new and rebuilt starters, AC motors, diesel and electrical parts, inverters, and connectors.
Services may include free testing, same day service, insurance work, recycling, and free delivery. Consumers looking for these services can head to their dealership or local mechanic to get an estimate. If they don't have a trusted mechanic they can turn to, it's a good idea to ask others where they get their autos repaired.