What is a universal alternator?

Asked By: Vicencia Bohnwagner | Last Updated: 15th May, 2020
Category: automotive auto parts
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The best universal alternators for cars and trucks work the existing motor to keep the engine running. The alternator powers the battery and must constantly run to continue to generate power and recharge the car's battery. Alternators use one to three wires to connect to the remaining engine parts.

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Also to know is, how does it cost to replace an alternator?

Waits says the average price to replace an alternator with a remanufactured one is $400, while Gunning adds that a remanufactured alternator on a typical, domestic car, costs about $300 to $500, including parts and labor. The price of a new alternator can run from $500 to $1,000.

Secondly, can AutoZone test alternator out of car? Some places charge you for testing your car, but at AutoZone, it's free. Don't buy a part you don't need. AutoZone will test your car's parts for free. We can test your car's battery*, alternator*, starter* and voltage regulator while they're still on your car.

Consequently, are alternators vehicle specific?

Newer vehicles have the regulator and the alternator as a single unit, whereas in older vehicles the parts are available separately. The different terminals on the back on the alternator are each meant for a specific purpose explained below: S terminal - This terminal senses the battery voltage.

Can AutoZone replace an alternator?

Luckily, store associates at a store near you can test your battery and alternator to make sure you get the parts you need to do the job right. AutoZone carries an array of 100% new and remanufactured alternators that are built to deliver the amp output needed to power your vehicle. They're built to last too.

39 Related Question Answers Found

Can I replace an alternator myself?

Replacing an alternator can cost you several hundred bucks at the local repair shop, but it's one of the simplest repairs you can do at home. With a few tools and about an hour you can swap it out yourself -- and keep your dough in your pocket where it belongs.

How long will a car run with a bad alternator?

25 miles should be fine. Theoretically, on an older car, you can drive forever once the engine is running, you'll just be without any electrical amenities in the vehicle. Newer cars are much more reliant on the battery/charging system, and many won't even stay running with a dead battery.

How much is an alternator at a junkyard?

This is especially true if you buy an alternator from a junk yard, which is one of the main sources for used parts. Expect to pay upwards of $50 for a used alternator.

Is changing an alternator a big job?


Dex90. alternator recharges your battery so it doesn't go flat and generally just powers the electrical system while the engine is running. it's got a pulley which the aux belt goes around . it's not really a big job to replace them as it's a couple of bolts , one on the bottom and one on the top.

What causes an alternator to fail?

Bad diodes are a common cause of alternator failure. The diodes are part of the rectifier assembly that converts the alternator's AC output to DC. A leaky diode also can allow current to drain out of the battery through the alternator when the vehicle is not being driven.

How can you tell if you need a new alternator?

Six Alternator Warning Signs:
  1. Dim lights. The alternator is part of the electrical system of your vehicle.
  2. Warning light. Most modern cars have a dashboard warning light that alerts you when the alternator is on the fritz.
  3. Weak or dead battery.
  4. Weird smells.
  5. Odd sounds.
  6. Visual cues.

Are alternators universal?

Universal alternators are made with all new parts or remanufactured. Visit AutoZone for the lowest prices on universal alternators in your city. Unlike an OEM specific alternator, a universal alternator works on a variety of vehicle engines. Simply return the old alternator and you receive the core charge back.

Can a car alternator produce AC current?

In a so-called 'DC generator', this AC current is generated in the rotating armature, and then converted to DC by the commutator and brushes. In an 'alternator', the AC current is generated in the stationary stator, and then is converted to DC by the rectifiers (diodes).

What is the difference between dynamo and alternator?


Dynamo is basically a DC generator while an alternator is a synchronous AC generator. Dynamo employs a commutator to produce DC output. No communtator is needed in an alternator. For a dynamo, its field winding is stationary and armature winding is rotating.

Can a car alternator power a house?

You can use car alternators to power a home. One method of doing this is to use the alternators to recharge storage batteries. These batteries could then be used to power an inverter, which would produce the AC voltage needed to run the house. As the gas engine runs, it will recharge the battery.

Does it matter which way an alternator turns?

Alternators are directional (technically). Having said that, it doesn't matter what direction you turn them to the mechanicals of the alternator except for the cooling fan. Common automotive alternators produce synchronized (120 Degree intervals) 3 Phase AC Current.

Can you use different alternators?

so the only problem with putting a different alternator on would be the purpose of the terminals on a different alternator, as well as their size and design. also pulley type, but that could be fixed by finding an appropriate diameter pulley of the right type, which shouldn't be to difficult.

How many years do car batteries last?

Under these conditions, you can probably expect your car battery life to be about six years. On average, a car battery lasts between two and five years. If you live in the northern United States, your car battery lifespan will be longer, because you're in a cold climate.

What size alternator do I need?


As a rule of thumb, 12-volt alternators use one horsepower for every 25 amps of output, or to put it another way, their ratio of output to horsepower load is 25:1. So, when selecting a new alternator, you need to size it for the limits of the capacity of its drive belt.

What is difference between generator and alternator?

Both alternators and generators convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. In an alternator, electricity is produced when a magnetic field spins inside the stator (windings of wire). In a generator, on the other hand, the armature or windings of wire spin inside a fixed magnetic field to generate electricity.

What are the 3 wires on an alternator?

The three wire types in a three-wire alternator include the battery positive wire, the voltage sensing wire, and the ignition input wire. The battery positive wire connects to the starter. The voltage sensing wire connects to the battery, and the ignition wire connects from the alternator to the key switch.