Let’s chat about the lowly alternator. Such a seemingly insignificant part.
Until yours dies, that is!
An alternator is what recharges your car’s batteries. It continues to put electricity back into your battery until a voltage regulator tells it to stop. That way the battery doesn’t get overcharged.
Some alternators come with a voltage regulator built in as a single part. Other makes and models use a separate voltage regulator.
In the old days, there were only 3 choices:
A new alternator from the dealer (very expensive)
A rebuilt alternator (cheaper, but it was a crapshoot since you didn’t know if you got a good one or not)
A used alternator
Used alternators were usually my pick since they were cheap. At that time, they seemed about the same crapshoot as a rebuilt. If you got a good one, you were lucky. If you didn’t, you bought another one.
Today, there are new alternators from private companies that are every bit as good as the one’s from the dealer. There are also big brand name companies rebuilding alternators that are also very good choices.
I’m going to clue you in to some of the biggest and best brand names in alternators. When you need a new one, you can make an informed decision.
It’s a pain to either use a second vehicle to turn in the core at purchase or to make a second trip to get your money back for the core charge.
Most users found that this alternator fit perfectly and worked exactly as it should. It was hard to find anyone who didn’t like this alternator other than one or two people who said the alternator was DOA out of the box.
You probably won’t find a better quality new alternator or a quality name like Remy for this price.
TYC is an OEM manufacturer for many makes, including Kia and Hyundai.
I like this brand for other car makes since it has an OE comparable wiring harness and mounting points to make installation a breeze.
I’m sure that TYC is reusing the case and possibly the pulley. But they state that all internal parts are new and that’s what matters.
I also like that this has a lifetime warranty with a few exceptions. Exceptions include if the vehicle overheats or if the stamp has been altered or removed. Getting a replacement would be time consuming.
This alternator also has a one year, zero hassle return policy. They often don’t even ask for the core back. They simply send you a new one. Now THAT is customer service!
Many users said that this worked well and was easy to install. A few users said they had issues within less than a year. But the company replaced the product, no questions asked.
I did find a few users who either had difficulty installing it or that it was DOA out of the box. While a dead or weak alternator is covered under warranty, I do understand that this would be disappointing and time consuming to wait for another part to be delivered.
Regardless, this is an outstanding warranty. Not to mention a terrific price for an OEM quality alternator for those with foreign cars.
Your car might be foreign made, but you can still buy parts made in America. This alternator is from DB Electrical, with factories in Tennessee.
If you own a Honda Civic and you need an alternator, you know that the dealer is asking about three times more than the price of this one.
Double check the application to ensure that you are ordering the correct part for your Honda.
I do like that the company offers a 30 day 100% money-back guarantee if you change your mind. But you can’t return it if it’s been installed. They do offer a 1 year warranty. But, in my opinion, they should offer you more than the standard one year if they really stand behind their alternator.
They do have a long list of interchangeable part numbers. This will probably fit a great many more makes and models than Honda Civic. Just be sure you order correctly.
The output is 80 amps which is standard for a small car like a Honda.
Most users were very happy with this alternator and said it installed without a hitch. There were a few users who complained that they received a DOA product out of the box or that it lasted just slightly more than a year. The company said it was out of warranty.
The majority of people thought that, especially for the price, this alternator was well worth it.
I’m sure many of you will be happy to know that this is made in Chicago, Illinois, and even the technical support is in the USA.
The Powermaster comes with a full 2 year warranty. This one also has an internal voltage regulator.
Most users liked this alternator and you will find people who modified their mounting brackets just so they could use it.
I don’t recommend doing this. But you would be surprised at the number of people who found that this unit charged so much better than they expected. They planned to buy this same brand for their other vehicles.
Even those who found that they had to “clock” the alternator to make it fit said that once they did this, it worked far better than their stock alternator.
Always double check to ensure that this unit will fit your vehicle before purchase to avoid any future issues.
While it could, chances are that an alternator won’t increase horsepower.
Alternators are powered by a drive belt that is connected to the crankshaft pulley. This means that when the alternator kicks on, it pulls on the crankshaft, using power from the motor.
Most alternators, especially those that are larger than the car requires, actually rob the engine of power.
Now you might feel more horsepower if you downsize alternators or if the bearing on the alternator was failing and it began to freeze up. Using a smaller alternator or a newer alternator with a new bearing can give you a little bit more horsepower.
This doesn’t mean that you should put on a tiny alternator just to get a little bit more kick out of your motor. Doing this might cause your battery to be undercharged constantly.
Can you have too big of an alternator?
Yes, you can have too big of an alternator.
It’s helpful to use an alternator that is suited for the right application.
This means that if you have tons of accessories added to your vehicle, as many off-road vehicles often do, then you will want a larger alternator to keep the battery charged.
If you have a tiny Honda Civic with nothing more than a CD player, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by installing a large, power hungry alternator. You aren’t using all that much battery juice.
Unless you’ve added tons of accessories to your ride, use the amperage rating that your owner’s manual or service manual calls for.
What can kill your alternator?
There are about as many ways to kill an alternator as there is to kill your engine.
Most alternators suffer from bearing failure over time. One way to kill that bearing more quickly is to ignore a failing idler pulley, a drive belt that is not properly adjusted, or driving on dirt roads a lot.
Bad voltage regulators can cause an alternator to fail prematurely. An overheating engine can cause the alternator to overheat as well.
A bad battery is also a very common cause of alternator failure. When a battery won’t hold or accept a charge, the alternator runs continuously trying to charge the battery.
Some alternators fail slowly over time. Others just die a quick death.
What is the best high output alternator brand?
While this won’t fit every vehicle, the ACDelco is well known for making quality products that really last. This Professional Alternator alternator is no exception.
This alternator is rated to put out a whopping 160 amps, which is an impressive upgrade from the 127 amp factory installed unit on some trucks.
The majority of people who purchased this alternator own GM products. They found this new alternator to have all the OEM quality they expected, and it fit perfectly.
Always ensure that you double check the application, so you get the correct fit for your vehicle.
The only drawback I could find with this choice was that some of these seemed to be made in Mexico and others in China. Some users didn’t appreciate that and thought that this was made in the US. It appears that the parts are made in the US but assembled in other countries.
Everyone has different needs and most people have a preference for brands.