How to Test an Alternator with a Screwdriver

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 20, 2022
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An alternator works as a generator to run your engine. When you start the car, the alternator starts producing alternating current to run the engine and in this way, it prevents the battery from going down.
So, it is very important to check the condition of the alternator regularly. Testing the alternator with a screwdriver is a cheap, fast, and easy method. It takes only 3 steps and 2-3 minutes from your life.

3 Steps to Check Alternator’s Health with a Screwdriver

You need the car key and a screwdriver with a magnetic tip to start the process. If the screwdriver is rusted either clean the rust first or buy a new screwdriver otherwise it will show a false result.

Step 1: Open the Hood of Your Car

Get into your car and insert the key to the ignition switch but don’t start the car. Inserting the key to the ignition switch get out of the car and open the hood.
open hood of the car
There must be a rod to secure the hood. Find that rod and secure the hood with it. But some cars don’t need a rod to keep their hood secure. If the hood of your car stays secure automatically then you don’t have to look for the rod, you can go to the second step.

Step 2: Locate the Alternator

The alternator is located inside the engine. You will see a pulley bolt in front of the alternator. Take the screwdriver near the pulley bolt of the alternator to check the presence of magnetism.
If you notice that there is no attraction or repulsion, don’t worry – it is the first sign of the good health of your alternator. Go to the next step.

Step 3: Turn on the Dashboard Warning Light

Turning on the dashboard warning light place the screwdriver near the bolt again. Is the screwdriver attracted towards the bolt strongly?  If yes, then the alternator is absolutely fine.

Final Verdict

Taking care of the alternator is very important to keep your engine safe and sound. You should check the alternator’s condition at least once a month using the screwdriver. A screwdriver is a multi-tasking tool. Besides the alternator, you can check the starter with a screwdriver. You can also open the trunk of your car using a screwdriver. It does not cost at all if there is already a screwdriver with a magnetic tip in your toolbox. If you don’t have this type of screwdriver buy one – it is not expensive but the service it will give you will save a lot of money.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.