Your car relies on many parts to run properly. If you aren’t a mechanic or a car enthusiast, chances are you don’t know what many of those parts do or why they’re important. For many people, one of those parts is the alternator. You may know that your car has one and that the car won’t run without it. You may even know that your serpentine belt runs through it. But do you actually know what it does? At Mike Brailey’s Auto Service, we have the answers to all your Amherst auto repair questions.

Let’s take a look at what an alternator is and what it does in your car.

What is an alternator?

First things first: what is an alternator? Basically, the alternator is a generator that distributes electricity throughout your car and charges your battery. When people say that driving your car charges the battery, they are referring to the alternator. But there are many other systems in your car that are powered by electricity. For example, your car needs electricity to power the radio, headlights, dashboard lights, and windshield wipers. This is why a common sign of a failing alternator is the radio going out.

How does the alternator work?

So now that we know what it does, let’s take a look at how the alternator works. In high school physics terms, the alternator turns mechanical energy into electrical energy. It takes the up-and-down movement of the pistons and converts it into circular motion. When your car’s engine is running, it powers the serpentine belt that wraps around a pulley connected to the alternator. That pulley turns the rotor shaft inside the alternator that spins a set of magnets around a coil. This is where the electricity comes from. The spinning magnets generate alternating current around the coil, which is directed into another part of the alternator called the rectifier. The rectifier, in turn, converts the alternating current into direct current, which powers your car’s electrical systems.

Amherst Auto Repair at Mike Brailey’s Auto

Cars are complex machines. Their many parts work together to keep you on the road and power all the systems that you need to drive and the accessories that make driving enjoyable. If any of those parts break, your car could be out of commission. To keep yourself out of that situation, keep up with your Amherst auto repair at Mike Brailey’s Auto Service.

Contact us at (603) 627-8867 to schedule your Amherst auto repair today!