What does an alternator do?
The alternator is the device responsible for generating electricity to charge the battery. It’s coupled with the engine drive, which means whenever the car is running, the battery is being charged. Without a charged battery there is no delivery of power to the electrical components or to generate the sparks used to combust the fuel in the engine.
How often should an alternator need replacing?
An alternator typically lasts around 7 years or between 100k and 150k miles.
The law, vehicle regulations and your MOT
Without a correctly functioning alternator, your car is unlikely to hold enough charge in the battery to drive for any purposeful length of time. Having said that, the alternator won’t be tested during an MOT, so as long as the battery has enough charge for the engine and other electrical components to run for the duration of the examination, then it can still achieve a pass.
We do not recommend this in any circumstance. If there is a problem with your alternator, you should have it repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
What causes an alternator to stop working correctly?
An alternator might break down due to a bearing failure, preventing the rotor from spinning freely. Fluid leaks or a too tight belt (or a loose belt slipping) can also cause damage and premature wearing.
Symptoms of a malfunctioning alternator
When the battery is flat
If your battery is flat and refuses to accept charge through normal driving, then your alternator could be the problem.
The lights aren’t as bright as normal
If your headlamps aren’t as bright as normal or the function of other electrical components is weak, your alternator may not be supplying as much charge to the battery as it needs.
The battery warning light is illuminated on the dashboard
All warning lights are an indicator that a sensor has detected a failed component or poor operation. A battery warning light could be connected to your alternator performance.
Fiat Automobiles is the largest car manufacturer in Italy, originally established over 100 years ago in July 1899, and is a subsidiary of FCA Italy (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles).
How popular is Fiat in the United Kingdom?
There are around 890k Fiat cars on the road in the UK. Their popularity as a modern car supplier grew through the 1990s and peaked around the current number in the mid-2000s, where it has remained constant over the past 10 years.
As a long established and easily recognised brand, a large part of their success can be put down to their historical models and retro styling.
Attractively priced fun and funky cars
Fiat is renowned for providing unique styling associated with Italian car design, yet without the hefty sports car price tag.
The Fiat 500 is possibly one of the most easily recognised cars in the world and a true piece of iconic car culture. Despite looking virtually the same as it did at its introduction in 1957, the latest model featured over 1,800 updates to its previous version, making sure it stands its ground in a modern car buyer’s market.
Colourful cars for colourful people
When you visit Fiat’s website, you’ll be presented with bright, punchy colours and slogans, suggesting a younger feel and a driving culture based around a carefree life in the now. Riding the on-going success of the 500 and their strength in the city car market, Fiat has added the 500L and 500X to their current range; mini SUV and MPV offerings that build on the styling and popularity of the 500. And why wouldn’t they? It’s a smart way to break into new markets with a trusted and recognisable brand.
Fiat’s reliability and reputation
Fiat ranked 14th place out of 30 car brands in the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2018. They are a well-established manufacturer who carries a reputation for style and keeping up with current trends, but under the watchful eye of a parent company who also owns Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Jeep and Maserati, their experience and wealth of industry knowledge is greater than first appears.
Recent Fiat recalls and reliability issues
Various recalls have been made on Fiat models throughout their motoring history. The following are a list of the most recent in the UK and Europe.
26/04/2019 – Fiat Talento (2018)
The handbrake efficiency could be lost
12/04/2019 – Fiat Panda (2016–2018)
The steering column adjustment could release
07/09/2018 – Fiat 500X (2015–2018)
If rear seat belts are not fastened and pretensioners are deployed the latch could be released
24/08/2018 – Fiat Panda (2018)
Engine suspension reaction bracket not fitted on the transmission side
30/04/2018 – Fiat Fullback (2016–2017)
Door locks may malfunction and allow doors to open unintentionally
16/03/2018 – Fiat Ducato (2016–2017)
Intercooler sleeve may detach from the throttle body
02/03/2018 – Fiat 500 (2017)
Instrument cluster may display incorrect information
19/12/2017 – Fiat 500 (2017)
Replace electrical power steering
All recall information sourced from gov.co.uk data.