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Alternator and 2002 VW Golf GL

Last week my car, a 2002 VW Golf gasoline engine, was cranking for about 3 seconds before turning over. I called the dealership and Jay said that I don’t drive all that far to work (12 miles each way) and since it was a little colder my battery was probably just lagging a little. So I took a little drive after work one day and the car started to start right up again after that, even on a 42 degree morning. So I went ahead and bought a new battery at a battery store because winter is coming. They installed it and then checked my alternator. The guy said the alternator wasn’t charging the battery. This was only a few minutes after installing a new battery which I’m assuming was fully charged. I drove over to AutoZone and he said the same thing. At this point the car is hardly running at all because it was almost out of gas and I parked it on a slight hill. It’s now been 5 days and the car is running great, no battery lights have come on, I’ve run the windshield wipers, radio, and headlights and things are just dandy. I’ve started the car many times since the battery was installed. when both places checked the alternator they never had me rev the car up to 2,000 rpms which I think is what VW recommends. My little old car idles around 800 rpms. Do you guys think the alternator is OK. The serpentine belt looks fine.

You can buy a voltmeter that plugs into your cigarette lighter (power port) pretty cheaply. At normal speeds, it should be putting out about 14.2 volts. It should also put this out at idle if everything is turned off, lights, radio, blower motor etc.

Would this also happen if the battery were fully charged. I know the PCU runs everything and decides what should happen. Wouldn’t putting that much voltage into an already charged battery destroy the battery? I’ve had no problems. How long does it take a brand new battery to wear down?

If the correct battery for the vehicle was installed properly and the drive belt for the alternator checked okay no cracks, splits, or glazing.

You’re fine!! if their was an issue with the charging system both the charge status lamp or voltmeter would indicate as such and also the check engine lamp would be illuminated.

Sometimes a new battery is all that a VW needs. But sometimes it’s the starter that is old and doesn’t want to turn over.

I went to the VW dealership and had a charging system check. The alternator was kaput. I went to an independent shop and got a very good re-built alternator for $400, installed, and it has a 3-year warranty. My little car is very happy now and is running better than it has for awhile.