Alternators and batteries

Just for preventative maintenance and to avoid

a dead battery situation, I’m thinking of replacing my alternator and battery. The battery is 3 yrs old and the alternator is the

original with 80000 miles on the car.Its a 2001 There is no problem with either the battery or alternator. The alternator output

is about 15 volts. I can do the work myself.

Would it be a worthwhile investment to make the change even though everything is ok or should I just bide my time and wait for the inevitable breakdown.

Get a cell phone and don’t bother.

Batteries and alternators can be tested for free at many auto part stores. Unless you live in the desert three years is still young for a battery and same for the alternator. Either could die tomorrow and a the replacement for ether could due next week.

I wait until I start seeing signs of a problem and it appears you have none.

Now at six years I might replace the battery, but even there I have always been able to detect a pending failure.

I wouldn’t do it. Have the battery and the alternator tested. If both are OK you have nothing to worry about.

If one or both tests poorly, replace it. A quality battery should last longer than three years.

Agree; driving in the US is not a danger-filled activity where a breakdown might mean kidnapping, robbery or other. Some items on your car (NOT the timimg belt) are meant to be checked occasionally and basically driven to failure.

My wife’s 15 year old Nissan is still on its original alternator. But on its second battery and second starter.

A cell phone and AAA membership is your best defence and a lot cheaper than pro-actively replacing these items. Even in the aerospace industry they now practice “condition-based” maintenance and don’t arbitrarily replace items for no good reason.

In very cold regions, however, many drivers replace their battery at the beginning of the 5th winter. That makes sense since the stress on the battery in the winter is about 4 times that in the summer.

PM for a battery MIGHT be a good idea…But NEVER for an alternator…I can’t tell you the last time I replaced an Alternator…Driven vehicles with well over 300k miles with the original alternator.

As for the battery…3 years is awfully young. Mine currently is 5 years old and going strong…Today when I started my truck at -4…it turned over nice and strong.

In the past I’ve bought a spare set of alternator brushes: usually the first thing to go.

Cars I owned in the 70’s and early 80’s…all had their alternators replaced by 150k miles…Since then I’ve owned Nissan/Honda’s and Toyota’s…and NEVER had to replace an Alternator in over 25 years.

My '88 Accord needed alternator brushes at 125K. Still OK at 219K when I sold it.

One could go nuts on preventative maintainence, If you like your money don’t replace them. If it is not broken don’t fix it and many an auto parts shop will test your battery condition for free. You will usually have warning signals for a failure of a battery, and many places check everything for free with an oil change. Sure I can appreciate your attention to detail but things usually don’t die immediately, and give you warning signs, and it sounds like you are the type of person that would notice them.

I had a '90 Toyota Pick-up that went 14 years and 280,000 miles on the original alternator. The brushes finally wore out. It was on the third battery, but it never stranded me with the original battery or second replacement. The original battery was turning the engine slowly, and tested bad when I had them check it. Second battery lasted 8 years. The third battery was the last one I put in it.

My 2000 Ford Explorer has 191,000 miles on the original alternator, no problems. And, it is only on the second battery purchased 3 years ago.

These items give clues before going bad. If the alternator does go, the battery light will go on warning you long before the battery discharges completely. If you have a volt meter, even better.

Alternators may give you a warning of impending failure if the bearings go first. Electrically it may likely not happen that way. Failure may be sudden so one working now is no indication that it will continue that way.

Buy a rebuilt alternator and throw it in the trunk along with your spare fanbelt and tools.

I buy a new battery at 5 years as a precaution rather than wait for the old one to fail and have done OK. That is approx 12 dollars per year last time I bought.

My wifes 87 Accord we sold at about 320k miles…with original alternator. Actually gave it away to a niece…who put another 45k miles on it and sold it to her ex-bf…Last I knew it was approaching 400k and still the original alternator.