What Are Performance Alternators?

You might realize the importance of your car’s battery. However, do you know what keeps your vehicle moving?

It’s the alternator that charges your car’s battery. It handles your vehicle’s basic necessities like electricity distribution, headlights, gauges, fuel pumps, A/C, among others. Needless to say, without an alternator, your car simply won’t move.

Most vehicles come with stock alternators that are good for day-to-day use. These are rated at 65 to 100 amps and are capable of handling normal functions. They also have a 10-15% reserve to handle additional accessories.

However, chances are you don’t own a stock vehicle. You might have a custom-built car with a high-end stereo system or a race car with additional on-board electronics. The electrical load of all these extra accessories will add up and cause your battery to work overtime.

Fortunately, you can opt for performance alternators to give the battery a much-needed boost.

What qualifies as a performance alternator?

These are powered units that allow a vehicle to churn out a higher and better performance. These have higher amperes than factory alternators and can be purchased from aftermarket manufacturers, rebuilders, and custom-alternator designers.

Performance alternators provide more amperage than the factory unit they’ve replaced. If you take two identical cars and supply one with a performance alternator, it will outperform the other car in almost every department.

When do you need a performance alternator?

A sure sign that your alternator is underpowered is if it burns out too quickly. When you see ‘low battery’ a little too often, it’s time to get a better alternator.

Also, if you keep changing alternators one after the other, it’s a sign that your vehicle needs more energy to function.

Or, if you find yourself frequently visiting the service center for electrical problems, performance alternators are what you actually need.

How to find the right alternator for your car?

Choosing the right alternator requires you to figure out the total electrical load of your car. This means the combined amperage of all the things that are powered by your car’s battery. The best and easiest way to do that is using an ammeter.

Start with the engine off and the battery charged. Connect the ammeter in series with the battery’s ground terminal and switch each electrical component (lights, A/C, sound, etc.) on and off.

Make note of each component’s amperage draw and then total everything to find your car’s electrical load. The best alternator for your car would be the one that provides enough amperage to cover this need.

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