Alternator Buyer’s Guide

Your alternator is responsible for generating electrical power when your vehicle is running, powering various electrical devices in your vehicle, and keeping the battery charged. It’s essential that your alternator be in good working order if you want your vehicle to be reliable. We’ve put together this guide to help you better understand your alternator and know what to do if you encounter alternator problems. In this guide, we’ll cover:

  • What your alternator does, and how it does it.
  • Common alternator problems you might experience.
  • How to spot a failing alternator.
  • How to decide if an OEM or aftermarket alternator is better.
  • How to replace an alternator in a Toyota Camry.

How Does An Alternator Work?

Image Credit: HowStuffInMyCarWorks

Your alternator’s job is to turn engine motion into electricity. It then uses this electricity to ensure your battery stays charged and the electrical parts of your car, like the radio or headlights, keep working.

How does it do this? Simply stated, inside the alternator, there’s a rotor (a set of magnets) spinning inside a stator (a bunch of wires). When the engine runs, it drives a belt connected to the alternator, making the rotor spin. As it spins, the magnets in the rotor generate a magnetic field which, in turn, creates an electric current in the stator’s wires.

The resulting AC current is converted to DC current and used to charge the battery and power the car’s electrical systems.

Common Alternator Problems

Like any mechanical part, alternators can encounter issues. Sometimes wear and tear takes a toll. The most common issues that car owners encounter regarding alternators are:

  • Overcharging
  • Undercharging
  • No charge at all
  • Mechanical failure

If you’re encountering any of these issues, you’re not alone. Check out this article to learn more about these common issues and what to do about them.

How To Diagnose A Failing Alternator

If you suspect your alternator is starting to go bad, there are a few tell-tale signs you should watch for. Flickering lights, power issues, and strange noises are among the most common. There are also a few preventative measures you can take to delay or possibly avoid alternator problems altogether. Check out this post to learn more about diagnosing alternator problems.

Are OEM Alternators Better Than Aftermarket?

Generally speaking, OEM parts offer the high-quality construction and components that most owners want. Used OEM parts are no different. We specialize in recycling the best OEM parts from the vehicles we salvage and passing on the savings to you. OEM parts ensure:

  • Proper fit and function
  • High-quality and consistent manufacturing methods

Additionally, OEM parts come with a solid warranty and support, and so do parts from Tom’s Foreign Auto Parts. We offer a standard 6-month guarantee and an optional lifetime guarantee on all our parts. Learn more about the OEM alternators we offer in this article.

How To Replace An Alternator

Getting a new alternator installed by your mechanic can be pricey. But you can save money by replacing it yourself with a guaranteed used OEM part from Tom’s.

Alternator replacement is a DIY job that you can easily do yourself with a few basic tools, a safe workspace, and a trusted tutorial. We sell a large number of Toyota alternators, so we wrote this post to cover the basic replacement process for the Toyota Camry. Give yourself about 2 hours to do the job, and be sure to work safely!

Quality Used OEM Alternators From Tom’s Foreign Auto Parts

When it comes to finding a replacement alternator, let the team at Tom’s Foreign Auto Parts help you find a high-quality replacement at a fraction of the cost. If you’re not sure about how to find used parts you can trust, check out this guide.

We’re one of only a handful of salvage yards that offer our entire – and huge – inventory online. We’ve been in the auto parts business for over 30 years and are one of the nation’s most reliable and trusted auto recyclers.

Need help finding an alternator for your vehicle? Contact us online or browse parts by make here. Hard-to-find parts are our specialty, so start your search for a high-quality OEM replacement alternator at Tom’s Foreign Auto Parts today.