Signs of Alternator Issues
Without any tools, it can be quite tricky to properly diagnose these kinds of problems. Battery issues can frequently seem like alternator issues and vice versa. Some of the more common problems include the battery light coming on, a squealing serpentine belt, the battery going dead, and your vehicle not starting.
Checking The Alternator Voltage
You will need to have a digital volt ohmmeter (DVOM), or Voltmeter, to check to see if you have a faulty alternator. This piece of equipment will allow you to easily and quickly see the amount of voltage that is being put out by your alternator.
First, you need to turn off your engine. Your car will need to be started later on for a test. However, for now, leave it off. Place the red lead from the voltmeter and put it on the battery’s positive bost, and put the black lead on its negative side. Make sure the voltmeter is set for reading DC volts.
The reading that is displayed should be over 12.65 volts. That indicates a fully charged battery. If it doesn’t, then you either have a faulty battery or there is a problem with your alternator.
Next, the leads from your battery need to be removed and your car needs to be started. Then place the leads back on. Make sure they do not get caught up with the serpentine belt or other engine parts.
You can either repair your alternator on your own or take it into a repair shop. Although alternator repair is not too difficult, you definitely will need to have a serpentine belt diagram in order to put it on properly.
The auto repair basically involves disconnecting the battery, taking the serpentine belt off, unbolting the alternator and then taking off the wiring connector. To re-install it, everything just needs to be done in reverse.