About Me

Buying a Used Vehicle

Welcome to my website. My name is Frances Reed. If you’re considering buying a used car, you are in the right place. I recently had my first experience with purchasing a used car and want to share some tips I learned along the way. When I began my search, the important things were color, comfort, and low mileage. I ended up with a green vehicle (which isn't on my favorite color list,) it has over 150,000 miles driven, but it is comfortable. I was very fortunate and had a friend who’s a mechanic come with me to test drive vehicles. Tip number one: be sure you have a mechanic check out vehicles before you buy. I hope I can offer you some valuable information here.



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Buying a Used Vehicle

How a Car Repair Novice Can Replace the Alternator On a Car With a Used One

by Connor Ferguson

A cost effective way to replace worn parts on your vehicle is to use gently used parts. Many times, cars that have the same parts as yours were involved in an accident and rendered useless. However, many of the parts that weren't damaged in the accident are still usable years later. You can find these types of parts at a used auto parts store. Here is how a car repair novice can replace the alternator on the car with one from a used car.

Disconnect the Battery

To avoid getting shocked, make sure you disconnect the positive cable from the battery so there isn't any electrical power going to the old alternator. Remove the positive cable from the battery and shove it to the side so it won't fall back and touch the positive terminals on the battery while you are working. The positive cable is colored red.

Disconnect Wires from the Alternator

There are a series of wires bundled together using a wire harness that connect the alternator. You need to press down on the tabs on the harness to separate the connection.

Take the Belt Off the Pulley

The serpentine belt is located on the side of the engine block and it wraps around the pulley on the alternator and belt tensioner. The belt tensioner is spring loaded and moves back and forth; check your service manual if you're not sure which pulley belongs to the belt tensioner. Put a wrench on the nut on the belt tensioner and turn right; this will loosen the belt enough so you can slide it off the pulley on the alternator. 

Remove the Bolts

An alternator can have two to four bolts on it that holds the part to the engine block harness. Remove all the bolts and slide out the alternator.

Buying a Used Alternator

Take the alternator from your car with you to a used auto parts store, such as Southwest Auto Salvage, to make sure you buy an exact replica of the broken one. You want to pay special attention to where the mounting bolts and pulley are located on the replacement alternator. If there are any differences from your broken one, do not buy the alternator, as it won't fit properly in your car.

Replace the Alternator

Place the newly purchased, used alternator in position and reconnect the mounting bolts.

Take your wrench and turn the tensioner pulley to the right again and slide the serpentine belt back over the pulley on the alternator.

Reconnect the wire harness and the positive cable to the battery.

Test the Alternator

Connect a voltmeter to the battery terminals while the car is turned off. The red prong on the voltmeter connects to the positive terminal and the black prong goes to the negative terminal.

You should have a reading of a little over 12.5 volts for a 12 volt car battery.

Turn the car on. The voltage reading should rise to between 13.8 and 15.3 volts if the alternator is working correctly.