CAR STORIES > My Sons Broken Car

My Sons Broken Car

Sometimes that first car can break you heart when it stops working

The Car That Died

I am going to cover a problem that can cause your car to not start or to quit running while driving. Not problems you can ignore. This issue just happened to my son so I will share his story. Broken down cars can really be a pain in the butt – not just in the wallet.

Not All of Us Are Car Nuts

My son isn’t quite the car nut his dad is – this may be a real good thing considering some of the choices I have made when it comes to buying cars. I mean who needs to have owned over forty cars? He is driving a 27 year old Dodge. I think he and his friends like the retro look. How many of us haven’t owned a car with a red velour interior. Cool right.

Diagnosing My Sons’ Car Repair Problem

So, my son called me for some advice on fixing his baby. He said the car wouldn’t start. I asked him to tell me what the car had been doing in the last couple of weeks. He said that his battery kept dying. He needed a jump start to get the car going. Also, he said the car died a few times while driving – who wants this to happen…not me.

From the symptoms he described I told him that his engines alternator had probably died. And what 27 hear old part wouldn’t be worn out! The alternator provides the electrical power your car needs to run and to keep the battery charged. But before you start buying parts it’s a good idea to visit an auto parts store. They can check to see if the alternator or the battery is bad. Don’t buy what you don’t need. My son’s car probably needs a lot more!

Repairing the Car

For the back yard mechanic this is a relatively easy car repair. You simply need to loosen a few bolts and remove the part. Once you have bolted in the new alternator you just need to re-attach the wiring and adjust the tension of the fan belt. For older cars it is a good idea to pick up a repair manual. They give detailed descriptions and diagrams on repairing the car. If I had saved all of these over the years I could have filled several shelves in my book case. I might be a certifiable car nut but I am not a pack rat.

You Don’t Have to Fear the Mechanic – Do Some Research and Don’t Overpay

Don’t be afraid to take this to a mechanic – especially if your car is relatively new. Todays’ cars are very complicated and can be difficult to fix at home. If you decide or need to take your car to a pro for the repair, make sure to do your research first. I like to go online to auto parts stores for pricing on the part. Then I make some calls to a few repair shops to ask them how much the job would be.

The alternator is one of your cars major systems. As we discussed in a previous post there will generally be a check engine light for this type of issue. Check your owners’ manual to see what it says. The more information you have on the failure means that you have ammunition when it comes to dealing with the mechanic.

So, in this story I have discussed why your cars’ alternator may be bad. I have covered the basics of replacing the part. Also, I have explained that this may be one of those repairs that a pro should do. Now if you have some wrenches and some time you can do this with relative ease – especially on older, simpler cars. It just depends on your level of mechanical skills and motivation to fix it yourself. If your car has a few years on it and the budget is a little tight you might give it a try. I have done it a dozen times. So grab a wrench and get to it.


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