6 Reasons Nissan Maxima Alternator Not Charging (Explained)

2000, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014 nissan maxima alternator not charging

One of the most expensive parts of your car is the alternator. We all know that batteries have a limited lifespan and you have to replace them every couple of years. However, a Nissan Maxima alternator not charging might damage the battery and other components in the car. Such a fluctuation in current can often be frustrating to deal with. There are often a few issues that will affect the car’s alternator and prevent it from adequately charging the battery.

1. Worn Out Or Damaged Alternator

You might not even be aware, but you could be dealing with a damaged alternator inside the engine. Worn-out carbon brushes inside the alternator are responsible for conducting the current. It can wear out over time. One of the best ways to check for this is to use a multimeter tool and see if the alternator is within optimal charging range.

Additional worn-out issues can often be due to the diode plate, which might have some bad diodes that significantly affect the charging of the car. You should also look at the voltage regulator, which can be damaged and prevent the alternator from charging the battery.

2. Faulty Fuses

When it comes to the alternator, you will find a large fuse that connects to the power cable of the alternator. This 80A fuse is found inside the engine bay and close to the fuse box of the car. If you have been experiencing a power surge in your car, the fuses might have blown and this could cause significant issues.

If the main fuse is not the one that has gone, many cars also have a 15A or 20A fuse, which controls the alternator. Make sure that you check both of these fuses before you start removing some of the bigger and more expensive parts.

3. Damaged Serpentine Belt

Since few people ever check the alternator of the car, they are often unaware of the pulley and belt system found inside the car. This belt system is designed to convert the mechanical energy of the car into electrical energy and helps to charge the alternator.

Once this belt, which is called the serpentine belt fails, the alternator would come to an abrupt stop. This would prevent it from doing its job and transferring the energy. It is more common that your mechanic would be able to spot this if you don’t have any mechanical skills.

It is always vital to make sure the serpentine belt has been correctly tightened. If you have a modern Nissan Maxima, you should have automatic tensioners that would make sure everything is fine. We do urge you to double-check if you have the skills.

4. Wiring Problems

The wires of your car are important. However, there are so many wires in modern cars, that it can be confusing to deal with them. However, you need to make sure that you understand the wiring process of your car and that you have the capabilities to fix this problem when it arises.

Inside the alternator, you will have about three or four wires that connect to it. A larger wire, referred to as the main cable, connects to these wires. To ensure the optimal function of the alternator, you should make sure that the wires are in the best condition. By checking the voltage and understanding the charging function, you should have everything sorted.

5. Faulty Car Battery

Many people want to blame the alternator when the battery doesn’t hold or has the correct charge. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Batteries in cars have a specific lifespan and depending on how often you drive, the battery could be dead. A dead battery will never charge, even if the alternator is in sparkling condition.

Whilst many experts believe that your car can run only on the power of the alternator, it is not always the best decision to make. A simple jump start will allow the car to be operational, but you could also lose the function of other electronics. Before taking out the alternator, get your multimeter and make sure the battery is functional.

6. ECU Errors

This is another internal error inside the car and not directly a result of a faulty alternator. Most modern cars have plenty of electronics and the Nissan Maxima is no different. Cars need to rely on their electronics if they are to power all the various components. These are often controlled by the ECU or Electronic Control Module.

If the ECU has an error, it would often be displayed on the dashboard as one of the many error codes. Using your scanner, you can check what the error code is and what is causing the issue. However, taking the vehicle to your mechanic for assistance is often the better choice.

How To Figure Out If It Is The Alternator Not Working?

If you experience these issues, you can perform some diagnostics on the car to figure out if the alternator is working or not. Here are a few steps to keep in mind.

  1. By tapping on the alternator with a hammer, you can see if the charging goes back to normal. This is often an indicator that the carbon brushes are worn out inside.
  2. Running along the power cable should be the next logical step you take. You can check for possible damages or issues that might have been sustained.
  3. Ground cables are important in all electronics. You will need to check this cable where it is located between the engine and body.
  4. Run over the serpentine belt with your hand and check if it is spinning when you turn on the car. It could be the serpentine belt that has worn out.
  5. Check the dashboard for any possible error codes that might be coming out of the unit. You might need to have a mechanic analyze these possible issues.
  6. Measure the diode assembly and the voltage regulator. These are two important components and you will need to make sure that both of them are working and in optimal condition.
  7. Check the fuse box to make sure that no fuses have blown. If you don’t know which fuse is important for which component, you should be able to find a breakdown in the manual. Alternatively, you might want to check all fuses.

The alternator is an expensive car part and most backyard mechanics will see an opportunity to make some money. It is often best to get more than one opinion when you experience issues with the alternator. However, I would recommend that you focus on getting someone you can fully trust.

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