DON'S AUTO ELECTRIC
Common Starter & Alternator Problems...
Why does every replacement alternator keep going dead?
*Buy QUALITY alternators, first and foremost! Inferior product plagues the alternator industry.
*MAKE SURE you charge your battery fully before putting your new alternator to work. Alternators are
designed to MAINTAIN the charge of your battery, NOT charge it when it is dead. Allowing your alternator to
charge a dead battery will cause it to run at maximum output for an extended period which may damage
the alternator's internal components.
*A BAD or WEAK BATTERY will overwork your alternator. Have your battery load tested (free at Don's.
Checking your battery with a voltmeter is not sufficient, this does not indicate the reserve
power of the battery needed to crank your engine.
*Calculate your total amperage load. Aftermarket stereos, lights, CB's and other equipment add up fast!
*Spikes caused by bad connections or faulty equipment can ruin even the best alternator.
*NEVER disconnect your battery to see if the alternator is working. This was a fairly common practice many
years ago but today's sophisticated vehicle systems can be damaged severely by disconnecting the battery.
*Have your electrical system checked by a professional. Bad grounds, loose connections and current drains
can cause premature alternator failure.
Why did my starter die after only a minute or two of cranking the engine?
* Buy QUALITY starters, first and foremost! Inferior product plagues the alternator industry, including some
of the "lifetime warranty" units sold by major chain stores.
*ALL starters are designed for intermittent use. Crank only a few seconds at a time with a cooling period
of 10-15 minutes between cranking attempts.
*Continuous cranking is detrimental to starter health and will cause the starter to overheat. Overheating the
starter WILL result in premature failure!
*Inferior cables and/or connections will result in almost immediate starter overheating and/or failure. If your
cables have any soft spots, they're probably bad. Beware of cheap replacement cables; many discount stores
sell cables that have very small gauge wire inside even though the insulation is thick enough to make them
look like heavy duty cables.
*A weak battery will cause your starter to overheat. If your engine is turning over slow, don't wait to
find out why. Fix the problem now before you cause damage to your electrical system.
*A bad key switch will sometimes cause the starter to stay engaged for too long. This will almost always
result in permanent damage to your starter. It only takes once! If your key switch ruined your starter,
it will ruin a brand new one too!
*Bad connections are often the initial cause of problems. Remember, even tight connections can oxidize
over time and not carry the current load needed. Connections must be clean and tight.