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2003 Kia Spectra
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have a couple different symptoms that may or may not be related. When I turn my car on, the alternator light comes on. I checked the voltage across the battery when the car was running and it was putting out a whopping 18V as opposed to the normal 12.8 when the car is off. My first thought was that the voltage regulator in the alternator is junk and the alternator may need to be placed. The alternator belt also squeaks and I'm confident that it is sufficiently tight and it has only a few thousand miles on it. Sometimes when the engine idles the alternator light turns off.

The other problem I noticed was that if the car is left overnight, it won't start in the morning. I pulled off the negative battery cable and put an ammeter in series with the battery and cable and found that over 3 amps are drawn when its off.

A third observation I made was sometimes I'll turn the car on the alternator light won't be on. When this happens the voltage across the battery is only about 13-13.5 volts. Also when I turn the car off, if the alternator light was off, the current draw when off is a normal 12 mili amps. Occasionally the alternator light will go off while driving and it will appear to be working properly, but often if I continue to drive the alternator light will come back on. This makes me think that the two aforementioned symptoms are related and could be caused by a corroded or loose electrical connection. I do live in MA so corrosion occurs rather quickly.

Does anyone have any ideas of what I could do next to get an idea of what may be going on? Should I just start following circuits, and if so, which ones should I start with.

Thanks in advance for your help!


Super Moderator
2008 SpectraSX, 2014 Optima LX,2006 Jeep Liberty, Linux Mint Mate
6,959 Posts
I would replace the alternator as the regulator is failing and will destroy you battery, headlight bulbs, bulbs all over the car and possibly some expensive microprocessors (ECM/TCM/BCM). It is not NORMAL for 18v to be generated and the only place that will come from is an alternator with a bad regulator.. That should cure your above problems...
Try not to buy a rebuilt from Advance or AutoZone as they are "remanufactored" in Mexico to the poorest of standards...Great profit for them...Lousy reliability for you.
I'd buy a new aftermarket on ebay for $108 including shipping before I'd buy a remanufactored one locally... Here's a link...
Alternator Kia Sephia Spectra OK2A2-18-300 AB170094 | eBay
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