Most car owners don't realize how useful the alternator is. It is responsible for supplying power to the battery and operating the car’s electronics. When a car owner starts to notice signs of reduced power, such as dimming the headlights or interior lighting, something could be wrong with the alternator. Having it tested is one of the best ways to prevent costly repairs down the line. The best thing is that most auto repair shops provide free testing to their clients. When the alternator can't produce enough current to keep the battery charged and the vehicle running effectively, it should be replaced immediately. 

However, replacing an alternator can be costly, especially for people who choose to take their vehicles to the local repair shop. Thankfully replacing an alternator is one of the most uncomplicated repairs that car owners can do from home. With just a few tools, car owners can swap to something better like a Buick Regal alternator within a few minutes. It doesn't take long and is an excellent way to save money. The following is a guide for changing a car alternator;

Start by disconnecting the battery.

There could be several wires on the alternator, and it's good to note that one of them is hot. Failure to disconnect the battery enhances the chances of grounding a live wire, causing a lot of bad things to happen, including giving someone a shock.

Loosen the belt tensioner 

The tensioner is spring-loaded to keep the belt tight, so one must be cautious when loosening it not to trap or injure their hand. 

Loosen the bolts on the alternator 

Cars that don't have an auto-tensioner pulley can be different to deal with. Relieving the tension for them can be done by loosening the two bolts securing the alternator to the engine, and when the bolts loosen the alternator slides in the bracket under the belt. 

Remove the belt 

Once the tensioner has been loosened, one can go ahead and remove the belt. When it's off, the car owner should inspect the tensioner to check if the roller spins freely and doesn't have rust. If it is worn out and doesn't turn, the best solution is to replace it. 

Remove the wiring harness.

Remove the wiring carefully, and don't forget to label each of them using tape to make it easier to get them back where they belong when installing the new alternator.

Take off the alternator from the engine bay.

Once the belt is pulled off, and the wires have been disconnected, there's nothing else holding the alternator from coming out freely. While taking it out, one should keep track of how they do it to help squeeze the new one. Once the alternator is out, it is good to compare the two. If it is a Buick regal alternator, the mounting holes and connectors should be at the same place.

Reverse the removal steps

Finally, to finish off, reverse the steps taken when taking out the old alternator. The essential thing is to observe the belt routing and tensioning. 

When there's something wrong with the alternator, car owners don't have to go rushing to the nearest auto repair store. Replacing it is something anyone can do from home with the appropriate tools. Following the above steps should be adequate to complete the process.