Edmunds Answers



  • zaken1 05/17/12 2:04 am PST

    Regarding the excessive number of alternator failures; this may be connected with where you're getting your replacement alternators. Many, many auto parts stores sell poorly repaired alternators; which often are defective when they are sold. Some unfortunate people end up tearing their hair out due to the ongoing electrical problems; which would simply disappear if they bought their alternators from a different source. NAPA Auto Parts stores are the only local source I know of for consistently reliable remanufactured electrical parts.

    You can check the alternator yourself; with just a digital voltmeter: Run the motor at idle; and check the voltage between the battery terminals. It should be between 13.5 and 14.5 volts. If it is less than 13.2 volts; the battery is either discharged or the alternator is defective. If the voltage is above 13.5 at idle; turn the headlights on to high beam, and turn the heater fan to high speed; then recheck the voltage across the battery with the engine idling. If the voltage is lower than 13.5 with the lights and fan running; bring the engine speed up and recheck it again. If the voltage is still less than 13.5; the alternator is defective.

    You asked whether this car is not worth fixing. I used to work on all brands of cars; but I came to find that the VWs I worked on had far more problems than other brands. I eventually got so fed up with this; and with the reluctance of owners to pay for the repairs; that I stopped working on VWs entirely. Now that I consult on this site; I still see the same sorts of VW problems.

  • mikeandlinda 05/24/12 3:16 pm PST

    Finally found the problem. The alternator was not grounded.

  • jcaimhigher 11/25/12 12:39 pm PST

    You need to explain, "the alternator wasn't grounded" If the alternator was "mounted" then it was grounded unless you had a ground wire from the battery that wasn't grounded to the vehicle chassis.

    Do explain please.


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