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.
Volkswagen (often shortened to VW) is a German automobile manufacturer founded in 1937 by the German Labour Front, a Nazi labour union.
Volkswagen is the flagship marque of the Volkswagen Group, who in turn is majority owned by Porsche. They own and operate a vast number of cars under other brand names—at the time of writing, they have 342 subsidiary companies.
How popular is Volkswagen in the United Kingdom?
Possibly its most well-known model of the current generation, the VW Golf, was the 2nd best selling car of 2018, behind the Ford Fiesta, which consistently takes the top spot year after year.
The Golf’s 64k registrations in 2018 added to the vast tally of 3.4million Volkswagen cars on the road today.
High quality, highly rated, appropriately priced cars
VW cars achieve consistently strong reviews and are highly respected by critics and drivers alike. They are renowned for investing more money into research and development than almost any other marque and distributing their wealth of motoring knowledge across the many partner brands under the VW Group umbrella.
The Volkswagen Beetle: The ‘people’s car’
A classic of its time, originally named the Volkswagen Type 1, it soon became nicknamed the Beetle due to its unique shape, and subsequently the bug. The unique looking car was designed by Ferdinand Porsche for Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap and simple mass-produced car to travel around his country’s new road network.
The new model Beetle, originally launched to celebrate the original classic in 1997, and with an updated successor in 2011, was designed around the VW Jetta platform sharing much of its build with the Jetta and Golf. VW announced in 2018 that the Beetle would finally be removed from production in July 2019.
VW’s reliability and reputation
Volkswagen ranked 17th place out of 30 car brands in the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2018. Sister companies Skoda and Seat appeared higher up the ranks at 7th and 10th respectively, while executive brand Audi a few places further down the list at joint 20th.
Recent Volkswagen recalls and reliability issues
Various recalls have been made on VW models throughout their motoring history. The following are a list of the most recent in the UK and Europe.
19/04/2019 – VW Tiguan (2017–2018)
The material used for the rear coil springs may be inadequate
13/04/2019 – VW Touareg (2018)
The suspension damper forks are defective and could break
13/04/2019 – VW Caddy (2018)
The predetermined break point in the cushion for the side airbags in on the wrong side
24/03/2019 – VW Polo (2016–2018)
On vehicles with a rear drum brake, the operational wear of the brake lining and use-related settlement of the drum brake may result in a loss of pre-tension on parking brake cables
02/02/2019 – VW Touareg (2018)
A seat belt latch may not have been sufficiently secured to the rear, right-hand seat
23/12/2018 – VW Golf, VW T-Roc, VW Arteon and VW Passat (2018)
The fitting for the headrest may have been incorrectly welded to the backrest
23/12/2018 – VW T-Roc (2018)
An incorrect adhesive bond between the upper and lower parts of the rear spoiler may have been used
20/10/2018 – VW Touran and VW Tiguan (2015–2018)
Moisture can reach the LED module of the sunroof’s ambient lighting which may cause a short-circuit
All recall information sourced from gov.co.uk data.