How to identify your alternator ?

There are often several types of alternator depending on the vehicle you own. 

Example: 4 different brand of alternators depending on the electrical equipment and different makes but on the same vehicle of the same series of the same year of production.

In order to avoid a mistake when purchasing your alternator, you must find the original label affixed to it, which will provide you with a reference from the manufacturer of the alternator or a reference from the vehicle manufacturer. Sometimes it is necessary to disassemble the alternator and/or clean it to see its reference.

Main OE brand for alternator : MITSUBISHI, VALEO, BOSCH, MARELLI, DENSO, HITACHI, MAHLE/LETRIKA/ISKRA, ... 

DO NOT CHOOSE YOUR ALTERNATOR BASED ON THE PICTURE ONLY !

However, you must :

- Observe the general appearance of the alternator, check the number of mounting points and their arrangement.

- Count the number of grooves on your pulley.

- Check the amperage rating of your alternator.

- Check the voltage (12v-14v or 24v-28v)
- Check the alternator's connections, its connection pin.

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Why do I need an alternator ?

The alternator of your vehicle is essential.

It is the component of your vehicle that recycles the energy of the battery by recharging it to prevent it from running down or draining.

Without a working alternator, your vehicle will not function properly.

It is a good idea to detect the signs of a faulty alternator before your vehicle breaks down ...

So, what are the signs that tell me the alternator is failing?

- The warning light on your dashboard comes on.

On most vehicles manufactured in the last decade, a battery warning light will illuminate to indicate an alternator problem.

This light is connected to the system that controls the output of the alternator.

You may notice that it becomes brighter or illuminates to indicate a problem with the alternator.

It only comes on when you are using some of your car's electrical accessories (air conditioning, connecting electrical appliances to cigarette lighter ports), thus increasing the vehicle's energy consumption.

- Low-lighting and slow or weakened electrical systems

The vehicle's alternator is responsible for meeting your vehicle's electrical needs.

If the alternator begins to lose power you may notice a decrease in the brightness of the lighting inside the vehicle and possibly also in your headlights.

- You may also notice that the speedometer stops working and that other electrical accessories, such as windows and adjustable or heated seats, operate more slowly.

- Low or worn-out battery

Batteries don't last forever, but a faulty alternator can make you think you need to change the battery.


If your car battery is worn out and you want to know if the problem is with the battery or the alternator : 

1. Charge the car battery (this can be done with jumper cables connected to a running car).

2. Try starting the vehicle. If your vehicle has trouble starting even with a fully charged battery, the problem may be with your alternator.

Strange smells or sounds

When an alternator loses power or deteriorates, its component parts are affected.

The belts connected to the alternator does not rotate freely, friction causes the belts to heat up, giving off a strong smell of burnt plastic.

You may also notice strange noises: parts that no longer rotate properly or are worn out, but still produce moaning or squeaking noises that you did not hear beforehand on your vehicle.

Test your alternator

If you notice any abnormal smells or sounds, it is best to have your vehicle checked by a professional.

If you are used to DIY, you can check the alternator with a voltmeter (or digital multimeter). And test this : 

1. Turn off the engine and connect the wires to your vehicle's battery (the red wire to the positive (+) terminal and the black wire to the negative (-) terminal.

2. Set your unit to DC voltage. You must have a value greater than 12.65 volts.

3. Then disconnect the wires, turn on the car and reconnect the wires, making sure that they do not interfere with the belt or motor. The value should now be around 14 volts.