The heart of your Volkswagen's electrical system is the battery. It is from the battery where all the electrical and electronic components of the vehicle get their power. The battery is also the source of the power needed to start the vehicle's engine. But whenever you use a battery, it is normal that it will lose some electrical charge. Thus a charging system is a necessary equipment every vehicle should have.

But this situation should not happen to your Volkswagen because modern Volkswagen vehicles are equipped with high quality and high performance Volkswagen alternators that are very efficient in charging the battery and powering the various electrical and electronic components while the engine is running. This is not the case, however, with Volkswagen vehicles manufactured before the 1960s. But with many auto repair shops offering generator-to-alternator conversion services, vintage Volkswagen vehicle owners may still enjoy all the benefits of a Volkswagen alternator.

So what really are alternators? Alternators are generators that produce alternating current by converting mechanical energy to electrical energy in the form of alternating current (thus the name alternator). A basic alternator unit is composed of a stator, which contains windings of conductors, and a rotor, which carries with it a moving magnetic field. Alternating current (AC) is produced once the magnetic field in the rotor cuts across the conductors wounded over the stator. But since the various electrical and electronic components in a vehicle makes use of direct current (DC), automotive alternators are further equipped with diode packs that converts AC to DC. Automotive alternators also make use of a voltage regulator to control voltage levels at the stator output.

Because the battery should be properly charged for the electrical system to function and because the battery simply can't power all the electrical and electric components while the vehicle is running, one must ensure that the alternator is working properly. Unluckily, there is no easy way to tell if your Volkswagen's alternator has failed. Sometimes, a harsh noise or intermittent headlights may give it away. At most times, however, the vehicle would still run for a while being powered only by the battery, up until all the battery's charge is consumed.

So how can you tell if the alternator is failing? Just be sensitive to the noise. Better yet, ask a technician to measure the voltage being delivered by the alternator. If it is too low, then it should be the right time to repair or replace your Volkswagen alternator. You can have your alternator rebuilt if you want to. But if you want a new Volkswagen alternator that will last longer and probably function better, then better install on it a replacement Volkswagen alternator from Parts Train.