Batteries start cars, but factory alternators charge them in the first place. They also run car electrical systems. That means they help power everything from dashboard displays, headlights, and power windows to windshield wipers, radios, and power steering, even heated seats.
New or remanufactured, how alternators work is the same. They turn mechanical energy into electrical energy -- electricity. The process starts with the engine. It powers the serpentine and drive belts, which run pulleys that turn rotor shafts. These shafts turn sets of magnets on coils, and this generates AC power. The power goes to a rectifier, which converts it to DC power. This is what turns on the many systems throughout a vehicle that run on electricity.
Eventually, even an original alternator can go bad because of broken-down parts, a bad jump-start, or an incompatible accessory install, if not from age. It usually won't give you any warning, either. There are a few signs of alternator failure you can look for, though.
Some, like flickering headlighting or a car radio that doesn't work reliably, are more obvious. Others, such as burning smells under the hood, a dead battery, or a whiny engine, are less so; they don't always indicate a bad alternator. Electrical system shutdown is often a symptom of it, though.
If you have these problems, diagnose them by doing an inspection and running a charging system test. To figure out when to replace your alternator, consult your owner's manual. You usually do it every 80,000 to 150,000 miles, or about every 7 years. For your Honda, a genuine OEM alternator will fit best.
Maintain Your Vehicle with a Genuine Honda Alternator
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