Testing alternators without a multimeter can be difficult, but it is possible with the right tools and knowledge.
The most popular alternator test without a multimeter is when you start your engine and disconnect the negative terminal of the battery while it’s running, it will not have any effect on your engine if the alternator is in good working condition. On the other hand, if the engine will stop working while the terminal is disconnected, that means you have a problem with your alternator.
How To Test an Alternator Without a Multimeter?
It is possible to test an alternator without a multimeter, but it is not the most accurate method. Here are a few ways you can test an alternator without a multimeter:
- Check the drive belt for cracks or wear and tear. The drive belt connects the alternator to the engine and is responsible for transferring power between the two. If the drive belt is damaged, it can cause the alternator to not work properly.
- Inspect the alternator pulley for any damage. The alternator pulley is a small wheel that is connected to the drive belt and helps to turn the alternator. If the pulley is damaged, it can affect the alternator’s performance.
- Check the alternator bearings for any excessive play. The alternator bearings are small components that help to support the alternator and allow it to spin smoothly. Excessive play in the bearings can indicate that the alternator needs to be replaced.
- Test the alternator by starting the engine and disconnecting the battery terminal. The engine should continue to run without stalling. If it does stall, then the alternator is not functioning properly.
- To check the alternator’s voltage output, you can reconnect the battery terminal and use a voltmeter to measure the voltage at the battery terminals. If the reading is within the range of 13.5 to 14.5 volts, it indicates that the alternator is working correctly. If the reading is outside of this range, it may be necessary to replace the alternator.
How to test the alternator with a screwdriver?
The screwdriver test is a simple way to test the internal magnetism of an alternator. To perform the screwdriver test, you’ll need a long, thick screwdriver that is magnetized. With the vehicle turned off, hold the screwdriver near the copper windings on the non-drive end of the alternator. You should not feel any magnetic force or a pulling sensation on the screwdriver.
Next, turn the car on and run it. Then, hold the screwdriver near the copper windings again. This time, you should feel a slight magnetic force pulling the screwdriver into the windings. This indicates that the alternator is creating an internal magnetic field, which is an important part of its function.
It’s important to be careful when performing this test, as there are many moving parts and belts in the area around the alternator.
It is important to note that these methods are not foolproof and may not always accurately diagnose an alternator problem. To get a more accurate diagnosis, visit our beginner guide on how to test an alternator.