Batteries start Honda 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. They include flickering headlighting, the car radio not working reliably, a burning smell under the hood, a dead battery, a whiny engine, and electrical system shutdown.
See such symptoms, and you should run an inspection and charging system test. When to replace your alternator, your owner's manual will tell you. It's usually every 80,000 to 150,000 miles, or about every 7 years. When you buy a new one for your Honda, choose genuine OEM.
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