How to test the voltage regulator. Um, on any car. With an alternator, you have a voltage regulator and this voltage regulator is responsible for keeping the voltage on the vehicle from exceeding a limit. Uh, usually this limit is 13.8 to 14.2 volts, which is enough voltage to allow for proper battery charging, uh, but not enough to burn out light bulbs or damage delicate computer circuits. The best way to test a voltage regulator is with a multimeter. And what you do is you put your multimeter clamps directly on the battery terminals, positive red depositive and black to negative. And you said it to voltage. And with the car off you should have a little over 12 volts. That’s, that’s a healthy battery. Um, and when the, uh, once you’re hooked up, you want to start the vehicle and what you’ll see is that at idle, um, the voltage will increaseThis means that the alternator is charging the battery. We’re making about, uh, 13.8 13.9 volts. And so at this point, what you want to do, what you want to slowly start increasing the speed of the engine. Um, and once you hit between 1500 and 2000 Rpm, the voltage should reach a point where it no longer increases. And what we’re noticing is that it’s maxing out right around 13.98, nine seven or so, which as well within that 13.8 to 14.2. So this voltage regulator, uh, it seems to be working fine if the voltage keeps climbing with the Rpms an up in the 15 plus volt range than the voltage regulator is not doing its job. And it needs to be replaced if the voltage is too low than the alternator is not charging properly and it needs to be rebuilt or replaced. And lastly, if the voltage with the vehicle off is below 12 volts then the battery is most likely in need of being replaced.
They don’t really make that much money on it either. But if you are a car owner, there is something you can and should do and that is keep an eye on the oil level. Now most cars still have dipsticks, uh, which you can usually find the, they tend to be have yellow handles. Now though, that wasn’t always the case. And, uh, in the case of our, uh, Cherokee here, it is marked with the little icon of an old oil can, which to me looks more like a, an oil lamp like you might rub and get a genie out of. But there you have it. Uh, typically simple enough to pull out. The way we recommend doing it is wipe it off well in case it is splashed up in use and then read, dip it. And when you pull it back out, you will see the level of the oil, uh, in an operating range hopefully.
And if it is a low, what you do is you just get the right type of oil and you can top it off it using the oil filler, which typically is easy to reach. Here it is right here. Now that raises the question, what type of oil should you use? Once again, we say go to the manufacturer for their recommendation. In this case, it’s right on the cap. If you have a mechanic that you think is particularly competent and confident who believes you should use a different type of oil during different seasons, uh, you might agree to go ahead with that. But I have to say with modern high tech oil and modern cars, there’s no reason you can’t put it in the specified oil run all year and have no problem. We recommend that you check your oil level every time. Maybe every other time you fill your fuel tank.
Uh, some cars make it easier for you. They don’t have dipsticks. I can think of one example, BMWs, some of the modern ones. Just let you check the oil level right in the instrument panel. Now, if you find that the level is going down, consistently goes down, you might have a leak, uh, or it might reflect some other problem. You’re going to need to get that checked out by the mechanic. Oil is extremely important while you’re driving. If ever you see, uh, the oil pressure level gauge go down, or if you get a bright red icon of that genie lamp, uh, that means you need to pull over and turn the engine off right away because you are literally seconds away from permanent damage that will cost you thousands of dollars to repair oils important. You gotta keep it clean, you gotta change it at the right interval and use the right tight. When you want to find out what that is, always go with what the manufacturer of your car recommends.
You know, few elements in your car or as simple or as crucial to its operation and longevity as these two items. Here it is motor oil and an oil filter. Now, unless you drive a battery, electric car, your car needs these things and it needs to get them replaced on a regular basis. The oil lubricates, uh, essentially all parts of the engine keeps it running and keeps it cooler. And the oil filter well that just keeps the oil working longer, helps keep it clean so you can go 3000, 5,000, 10,000 miles. It depends on your car. So the question is how often do you need to change your oil and filter and they get done at the same time? Uh, the best answer, and actually we believe the only answer is do it as often as your manufacturer of your car says to do it because all cars are different.
Typically, this information is in the owner’s manual or in a separate maintenance schedule, which is typically included with the owner’s manual, uh, for decades and decades. All cars needed an oil change every 3000 miles and many cars still on the road do need that interval and some new ones do as well. But meanwhile, while you weren’t paying attention, the interval has been increasing to 5,000, 10,000 miles, even higher in some cars. That’s why you need to find out, uh, which you are car calls for. Now, if you’re fortunate, your vehicle has an oil life monitor. Now it’s not just about the number of miles you drive, it’s about the nature of those miles. Now, for many years, manufacturers have said if you drive in certain extreme conditions, you might need to change your oil more frequently. Those conditions include lots of short trips, uh, sustained high speed driving, extreme high temperatures, extreme cold temperatures, towing, hauling.
This kind of stuff will degrade the oil faster. The good thing about an oil life monitor is it actually monitors how you’re driving and it makes sure you change the oil only when you need to. Now, I have changed the oil on countless cars myself and, uh, I can say nowadays there’s no reason to do it yourself. So you understand the process. You’ve got to jack the car up, which is typically not easy. You have to remove the drain plug and the old oil filter, let the oil drain out, put a new filter on, cap the drain hole, and then fill it with new oil. Uh, if you’re doing it right, you’re disposing of the used oil and responsible fashion. All of this stuff takes time and money. Getting an oil change, uh, at a service station is typically not that expensive and they handle all of that for you.
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