How to Clean Alternator Step By Step Guide

Good maintenance practice is great for car parts, and the alternator is not left out. With constant use, the alternators of vehicles tend to wear out. Nevertheless, you can extend their shelf of life if maintained properly. This article would reveal simple steps of how to clean alternators.

Various contaminations from the outside environment can always cause some serious damage to your car’s alternator. Hence, the need to get rid of them by conducting a proper cleaning. If such contaminations are left for long, they will reduce the lifespan of the alternator.

Again, the alternator may soon start having various issues, resulting in a dead battery or alternator. However, a good inspection and maintenance would help greatly. Interestingly, there isn’t much equipment involved in cleaning the alternator, and you can get it done in no time.

How to Clean Alternator Step By Step Guide

 The car gets its electrical power generated by the alternator, and as such, it is one of the major components. While the engine runs, the alternator helps in charging the battery. Although they work frequently, they seem pretty durable and can even last for 10-15 years.

However, you may need good maintenance practice to make your car’s alternator last for that long. Dirt may soon start accumulating in them from the outside, and it would be best to learn how to clean alternator windings.

Your car benefits in various ways when you clean the alternator, as its performance gets optimized. Also, you can rest assured that there would be no downtime due to dirty alternators. The dirt in alternators can make it develop some faults, which can cause some issues for the car

The process involved is pretty easy, and you do not need any sophisticated tool for cleaning the alternator. With water and a degreaser (water-soluble), you can make your vehicle’s alternator look as new, getting rid of all contaminants.

how to clean alternator windings

Nevertheless, you can follow these steps below to help you out:

Step One: Choose a Suitable Cleaner

There are various cleaners available in auto stores, and you can get a suitable one to clean the alternator. You can use the CRC alternator cleaner or the alternator cleaner AutoZone for cleaning the electrical windings.

They work effectively, as they come with a formulation that gets rid of all accumulated dirt and grime. Sounds good, right?

Step Two: Detach the Alternator

Open the vehicle’s hood and detach the alternator from the car. Then, place it on your work table along with the cleaner and the brush you would need for the cleaning process.

Step Three: Diluting the Degreaser

Once you have the degreaser, you should make a mixture of water and the cleaner, mixing in a ratio of 50:50. Such mixture would be right for cleaning the alternator and don’t worry, it would get the dirt out.

Step Four: Applying the Mixture

Using a piece of cloth, soak and apply the cleaner to the alternator. Alternatively, you can get a spray bottle filled with the cleaner and spray gently. Then, let the cleaner soak for a while to soften the dirt and make the grime come out quickly.

Step Five: Brush Slightly

work on the areas of your car’s alternator that seemed pretty soiled using a soft brush. Such action would help get out that accumulated dirt. You should also try to focus on the terminal connection points.

Step Six: Flush

Rinse gently with some water and let the alternator dry to prevent rust or any damages.

Kindly note that the alternator can get strained with dirty electrical connections. You should try to check for contaminants and take them out. With that, you can rest assured that the internal components wouldn’t get damaged.

However, here are some things that you should avoid:

  • After figuring out what to spray on alternators, you should ensure that you don’t spray directly to the air inlet openings.
  • It is recommendable that you avoid engine degreasers with a petroleum base.
  • Finally, pressure washing or using compressed air could be bad for the alternator.

Demonstration of Alternator cleaning YouTube

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is it safe to wash the alternator?

Cleaning the alternators is pretty good to help maximize its performance. Nevertheless, it would be best if you do not pressure wash the alternators. Doing so can cause some serious damage to the seal, which would be bad for the car.

You can rinse the alternator with some water but endeavor you let it dry too. You may want to start by covering the electrical components before you spray the water. Such action would keep them safe from potential damages.

Q: It it recommendable to clean my alternator with brake fluids?

Some persons apply the brake cleaner to their alternator, as this seems like a cheap option, and it can also get the grime off. It may appear safe as well, but you should try not to spray directly to prevent damages.

Such action would ensure that the vents don’t get any of the liquid. You can apply some on a cloth and rub gently on the alternator. It would help if you read the manufacturer’s warnings and know that brake fluid can attack paints. You wouldn’t want the paint on your alternator (if there are any) to get ruined.

Q: Can you clean an oily alternator?

You can easily clean an oily alternator using a suitable cleaner mixed with equal parts of water. It would be best if you apply the solution and let it sit for a while. It would work quickly, getting the oil off, and you can lightly scrub using a soft brush.

Then, rinse gently to get out the rest of the oil stains and clean the alternator with a clean cloth. After you’ve done that, ensure that you let the alternator dry for a while. Once dried, it is ready for reinstallation.

Q: Can I spray WD40 on my alternator?

Some folks spray WD40 on their car alternators while getting them cleaned. Nevertheless, it is not a recommendable solution. You wouldn’t want to clean the alternator with WD40, as it would weaken the winding insulation.

Hence, it can further cause some damages to the motor. Again, spraying WD40 directly to the alternator may ruin it, as the liquid may get to spots where it shouldn’t get to and cause harm. Thus, it would be best to find and use better solutions.

Q: How can I make my alternator look new?

You can make your car alternator look anew by taking off the filth, conducting a proper cleaning. Taking out the cover by removing a few bolts, you would notice it looking crusty because of the dirt. So, you would be needing a suitable degreaser to get out the grease and dirt.

You have to mix an equal part of the cleaner with water and apply it to the alternator. Continue by using a brush to gently remove more dirt and rinse the alternator afterward. Then, dry the alternator and reinstall it to the car.

How to Clean Alternator

Final Words

Very few persons know how to get their vehicle alternator cleaned. Are you keen on learning how to clean alternators? It is pretty crucial to clean the alternator and make them remain in good shape. Such action would make the car run optimally and get sufficient power. The dirt usually accumulates from the external environment.

As dirt starts building up, the alternator may start having some issues, and you may find that the vehicle won’t start. A peek through this piece would show you how to clean alternator connections and get the dirt out of your car’s alternator.

Read More:


Hi There, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I have been working as a mechanic for over fifteen years. I worked for a long time at Global Rebound Automotive companies (Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others ) as a Mechanic and Mechanics Supervisor.

Recent Posts