Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Don’t Get Stranded! Learn How to Test Your VE Commodore Alternator

If you own a VE Commodore, it’s important to keep up with regular maintenance of your car’s alternator. Failing to do so can result in your vehicle being stranded on the side of the road, and no one wants that. In that blog post, we will explain step-by-step how to test your VE Commodore Alternator so you will be sure it’s functioning properly and you won’t have to worry about getting stranded. We will also discuss the tools and techniques needed for that diagnostic process. Don’t get stranded!

What is an alternator and why is it important?

An alternator is an essential component of a vehicle’s electrical system. It is responsible for generating electrical power and charging the battery while the engine is running. Without a functioning alternator, the battery will quickly drain, and the vehicle’s electrical systems will cease to operate.

The alternator works by converting mechanical energy from the engine into electrical energy, which is then used to power the various electrical components in the vehicle, such as the headlights, radio, and air conditioning. Additionally, the alternator ensures that the battery remains charged, so it can start the engine and provide power to other electrical systems when the vehicle is not running.

In the case of a VE Commodore, the alternator plays a vital role in keeping the vehicle running smoothly. It provides power to the ignition system, fuel injection system, and various other components necessary for the engine to function properly. Without a working alternator, the VE Commodore may experience difficulties starting, stalling while driving, or even complete engine failure.

VE Commodore AlternatorSigns that your VE Commodore’s alternator may be failing

The alternator is a vital component of your VE Commodore’s electrical system. When it’s not functioning properly, your vehicle may experience a range of problems that can leave you stranded. There are a few signs that may indicate that your alternator is failing:

  • Dim or flickering headlights: When the alternator isn’t producing enough power, your headlights may dim or flicker.
  • Electrical problems: If your vehicle’s electrical system isn’t functioning correctly, it could be due to a faulty alternator.
  • Warning lights: If the battery or charging warning light illuminates your dashboard, it could be a sign that your alternator is not working as it should.
  • Strange noises: A failing alternator may produce strange noises, such as whining or grinding sound.
  • Battery problems: If your battery keeps dying, even after you’ve had it tested and recharged, it could be due to a faulty alternator.

Tools you will need to test the VZ Commodore Alternator

Before you begin testing your VZ Commodore Alternator, you will need to gather some essential tools. Here are the tools that you will need to have on hand for that diagnostic process:

  • Multi meter: A multi meter is a tool that is used to measure voltage, current, and resistance. You will need a multi meter to test the output voltage of your alternator.
  • Jumper cables: You will need jumper cables to jumpstart your vehicle’s engine during the alternator testing process.
  • Safety gear: It’s always a good idea to wear safety gloves and goggles while working on your vehicle.
  • Flashlight: You may need a flashlight to illuminate the alternator’s location in your vehicle’s engine compartment.
  • Battery charger: If your battery is not fully charged, you may need a battery charger to ensure that it has enough power to run your vehicle during the testing process.

Step-by-step guide for testing the alternator

  1. Park your VE Commodore on a flat surface and turn off the engine.
  2. Open the hood and locate the alternator, which is typically located at the front of the engine and has a pulley and belt attached to it.
  3. Check the alternator’s connections to ensure they are tight and secure. Loose connections can cause issues with the charging system.
  4. Using a multi meter, set the meter to DC volts and connect the black lead to the negative battery terminal and the red lead to the alternator’s positive terminal.
  5. Start the engine and let it run at idle for a few minutes.
  6. Monitor the voltage reading on the multi meter. A healthy alternator should produce a voltage reading between 13.5-14.5 volts.
  7. If the voltage reading falls below 13.5 volts, the alternator may be failing. Revving the engine should increase the voltage reading, indicating a faulty alternator.
  8. If the voltage reading is above 14.5 volts, the alternator may be overcharging the battery.
  9. Consider having a professional mechanic take a look at the alternator and charging system to ensure a proper diagnosis.

Interpreting the results of your alternator test

After completing the alternator test on your VE Commodore, it’s important to interpret the results to determine the condition of your alternator. The voltage reading obtained during the test will provide valuable information.  If the voltage reading falls below 13.5 volts, it indicates that the alternator may be failing. That means that it is not generating enough power to charge the battery and keep the vehicle’s electrical systems running properly. Revving the engine and observing an increase in the voltage reading further confirms a faulty alternator.

On the other hand, if the voltage reading is above 14.5 volts, it suggests that the alternator may be overcharging the battery. That can lead to damage to the battery and other electrical components in the vehicle.

Interpreting the results of the alternator test can help you identify the specific issue with your VE Commodore’s alternator. Whether it’s a failing alternator or an overcharging one, it’s crucial to address the problem promptly to avoid further damage and potential breakdowns. Consulting with a professional mechanic is recommended to ensure an accurate diagnosis and to determine the best course of action for repairing or replacing the alternator.

How to fix or replace a faulty alternator

If your VE Commodore’s alternator test results indicate that it is faulty, you have a few options for fixing or replacing it.  The first option is to repair the alternator. If the issue is a small one, like a broken belt or a loose wire, it may be possible to fix the alternator yourself or with the help of a mechanic. However, if the issue is more significant, such as a burnt-out rotor or stator, you may need to replace the alternator entirely.

To replace the alternator, you will need to purchase a new one that is compatible with your VE Commodore’s make and model. Then, you can remove the old alternator and install the new one, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you are not confident in your ability to repair or replace the alternator yourself, it is best to take your car to a certified mechanic. They will have the necessary expertise and tools to ensure the alternator is installed correctly and working as it should be.

Tips for maintaining your VE Commodore’s alternator and electrical system

To ensure that your VE Commodore’s alternator and electrical system are always in top condition, it’s important to practice proper maintenance. Here are some tips to keep your vehicle running smoothly:

  1. Check the battery regularly – Your battery should be checked every six months to make sure it is in good condition and properly charged. You can use a voltmeter or take your car to a mechanic to check the battery’s voltage and load.
  2. Inspect the alternator belt – The alternator belt should be checked for wear and tear every six months or 10,000 kilometers. Replace the belt if you see any signs of cracking, fraying, or looseness.
  3. Clean the battery terminals – Corroded battery terminals can lead to poor electrical connections and a discharged battery. Use a wire brush or sandpaper to clean the terminals and apply a corrosion-resistant grease to prevent future buildup.
  4. Use your car regularly – Leaving your car unused for extended periods can cause the battery to drain. It’s recommended to start and run your car for at least 15 minutes every two weeks to keep the battery charged.
  5. Have regular tune-ups – Regular maintenance, including tune-ups, can help prevent problems with your alternator and electrical system. Have your car checked by a mechanic every 10,000 kilometers or six months.


Q: How often should I test my VE Commodore’s alternator?

A: It is recommended to test your alternator every 6 months or whenever you notice any signs of failure.

Q: Can I test my alternator without any special tools?

A: It is possible to test the alternator without any special tools, but using a multimeter and/or a battery tester will provide more accurate results.

Q: What are the signs of a failing alternator?

A: Some signs of a failing alternator include dimming headlights, a warning light on the dashboard, difficulty starting the car, and a dead battery.

Q: Can a faulty alternator damage my car’s battery?

A: Yes, a faulty alternator can cause damage to your car’s battery if left unchecked for too long.

Q: Can I replace the alternator myself?

A: While it is possible to replace the alternator yourself, it is recommended to seek the help of a professional mechanic to ensure the job is done correctly.


Testing your VE Commodore’s alternator is a crucial step in ensuring that your car is in good working condition and that you won’t be left stranded on the side of the road. With the right tools and techniques, testing your alternator will be a straightforward process. If you discover that your alternator is faulty, don’t hesitate to take action to fix or replace it to avoid more significant issues down the road. Remember, regular maintenance of your vehicle’s electrical system can help prevent alternator problems in the future, ensuring your car runs smoothly for years to come. Don’t Get Stranded! Learn How to Test Your VE Commodore’s Alternator

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