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Winter Weather - No Time for a Weak Alternator

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BROADVIEW, Ill., January 12, 2009: Are you having difficulty starting your car in the morning? Is your car's battery unable to hold its charge? Do your headlights dim when you are using your heater and wipers? These are all warning signs that the alternator in your car may not be working up to capacity.

"The alternator, which supplies power to your vehicle's electrical system, works a lot harder today than it did in the past," said Fred Padgett, Group Product Manager, Starting and Charging Products for Bosch, the world's largest supplier of automotive parts to the automotive industry and the aftermarket.

Earlier, it only had to power the lights and the horn. Today, with many more accessories -- fancy headlights, quick-acting rear window defrosters and wipers, stereo system with multiple speakers, in-car television or DVD player, global navigation system and high output heating and air conditioning -- the demands on the alternator may far exceed its capacity. While older cars did well with 50-60 amps, most modern vehicles have 130-plus amp alternators or more.

The alternator provides current to operate all of your car's electrical systems -- and very important, it keeps the vehicle's battery charged. Therefore, it is a key player in the operation of a vehicle.

Alternators contain diodes and built-in voltage regulators that may allow enough output to keep the "ALT" or "Check Engine" light from coming on. But output may be compromised enough that the alternator is unable to keep up with demand and is actually draining the battery to operate the vehicle. The result? Dim lights, slow wipers and turn signals, possibly a slow start condition --- and ultimately, a dead battery.

Fortunately, a repair shop can check alternator output and replace it if necessary. Bosch, Padgett said, offers both new and remanufactured alternators and both carry Bosch's free two-year emergency roadside assistance.

According to Padgett, that Bosch is a supplier to most vehicle manufacturers has proved to be a tremendous production advantage for its aftermarket products such as remanufactured alternators. Bosch is familiar with the alternator's basic technology and it is subjected to the same rigorous tests -- OE spray testing, humidity cycle testing, salt water testing -- to ensure performance and durability as is a new alternator.