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Q: Replacement alternators don't work, not a battery issue

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We own a 2001 Honda Accord and it has been having alternator problems. We have replaced the alternator multiple times in the past year. At first, I thought that the refurbished one that I had bought was defective, so then I went to the dealership and bought a brand new one. The new one still went out, and I even replaced the battery and posts. No one can figure this out. Please help!

A: Sorry to hear about your repeated alternato...

Sorry to hear about your repeated alternator failures. Indeed poor quality parts can often be the cause of repeat failures, though there are other potential causes which are often overlooked. In the case of alternator failure, you already tried to address one of the concerns, which is the battery. Even though it is brand new, it should still be thoroughly tested. Batteries often sit on the shelf for a long time before being sold, and this can take a toll on them and their ability to properly take a charge. The other commonly overlooked issue is the charging system cables and connections. A poor connection or high resistance in a cable can cause the alternator to work at full capacity all the time, leading to a premature failure. Voltage drop tests should be performed across all the cables and connections in the charging system. If you’re not up to this task or don’t have the correct tools, a professional, such as one available from YourMechanic, will be able to perform these these tests for you.

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