Join Date: Apr 2006
Thanked 162 Times in 159 Posts
Rep Power: 12
Re: Battery Charging Problems
"I know the quickest way to check to see if my alternator is putting out the correct voltage and amps would be to take it out and bring it to be tested"
Not really. The quickest way to find that out would be to buy a $20 multimeter from the nearest store and just read the alternator voltage while it was running. If it isn't 13.8-14.4 you've got a problem. If it is, then amperage becomes secondary. Buying a clamp-on ammeter (online will be cheaper) makes that a two-minute job also, and again, nothing has to be disconnected.
This is why buying one of the classic cheap books and reasing up on charging systems is the best way to go. Even if you took the alternator out to a shop, I'd say your odds were maybe 50-50 that they'd give you an honest answer or a correct one.
Once you know how the system works, troubleshooting it is about as difficult as saying "Why doesn't my garden hose work?"