How To Clean Alternator Without Removing? 7 Steps

Your alternator will get dirty; it is unavoidable. However, knowinghow to clean alternator without removing it is an essential maintenance skill for all car owners.

Many drivers neglect how to clean an alternator, believing it’s unimportant. But the truth is a cleaner alternator significantly improves your alternator’s performance.

cleaning alternator without removing

If you do not know how to clean your alternator and are looking for the easiest way, you are in the right place. This article will provide step-by-step guidance to clean an alternator without removing it. We will also look at other questions like oil and water damage to the alternator.

How to clean the alternator without removing it?

Cleaning your alternator will require special chemicals like degreasers. The good news is that you can clean your alternator without removing it; you only need to disconnect all wires properly.

Cleaning an alternator without removing it is straightforward. However, making mistakes that could damage the alternator is also easy and then, you need to sell as scrap. It is why you need the right procedure to cleaning alternator.

Below is a well-detailed step on how you can clean alternator without removing.

Step 1: Prepare all necessary materials needed.

Below is a list of materials needed to get started.

a. Alternator cleaner

Alternator cleaners are special chemicals used to remove dirt on the alternator without causing any harm. You will need a degreaser; it will help you remove oil, grease, and other forms of dirt from the surface of the alternator.

You can use white spirit if you do not have access to a degreaser. It is safe and does not cause any form of damage. On some occasions, you can clean alternator with wd40.

b. Air compressor and portable heater or dryer.

It is essential to get this equipment ready before you start the process. It will ensure the dirt is properly removed and the alternator dries before use.

c. Dry timing

Even with this equipment, you will still need time for the alternator to dry appropriately. Ensuring the alternator is appropriately dry could take the entire day. 

Step 2: Disconnect the battery

The second step is to remove the cables connected to the battery. Remember that the battery is connected to the battery. A short circuit could occur during the whole procedure, which could be bad for both the battery and the alternator.

Step 3: Remove the drive belt

By removing the drive belt, you can get better access to some parts of the alternator when cleaning.

Step 4: Spray alternator cleaner spray

You may be wondering what to spray on the alternator; it is the degreaser or other available cleaning agents we discussed earlier. Spray the degreaser on the surface of the alternator. Ensure you get to every corner.

Step 5: Clean with a brush

After applying the degreaser, you can use a clean brush to scrub off any dirt on the alternator. After adequately scrubbing off all the dirt, you can use a clean cloth to clean the alternator.

Step 6: Dry the alternator

In this process, you can use the air compressor or portable dryer system to ensure the alternator is appropriately dry. After doing this, still leave the alternator to drive off all day, just to be sure.

Step 7: Reconnect all disconnected cables

Once the alternator has adequately dried out, you can then go on to connect all cables. Ensure they are connected to the right places.

You can repeat the process if the first one did not get the alternator as clean as you want. If the problem your alternator had that prompted you to clean persists, you might need a deeper cleaning. It may require you to take out the alternator.

Deeper alternator cleaning YouTube

In addition, there are other ways to clean alternator without removing. You can clean alternator by using a vacuum and dry brushing. However, the above-stated method is efficient in how to clean oil on alternator.

Can Oil Damage the Alternator?

Oil can damage your alternator’s bearing and winding coil, causing it to overheat and eventually fail. It is why you need to take immediate action if you have a dirty alternator contaminated with oil

When oil gets into the alternator, it will first cause its bearing to fail faster. It does not stop there; it then attacks the winding coils, which can be found in the alternator. Once it reaches the coils, much heat will build up, leading to a failed system.

Also, oil could get to the diode rectifier pack, which changes the AC to DC. Once it’s in the rectifier, it could also cause severe damage.

Once you begin to notice oil, you must immediately have your alternator cleaned. After that, if you keep seeing oil in the alternator, there is a leak somewhere. It would be best to find where the leak is coming from or give your vehicle to a professional for better repair.

Is it safe to spray water on alternator?

Alternators are not waterproof, but they have some level of water resistance. Spraying a small amount of water on the alternator is safe and will not cause any harm.

However, having too much water in alternator, especially when running, can shut it out and cause severe damage.

For instance, if your alternator is making a squealing noise, a temporary way to stop it is by spraying water. The water must not be too much that it will cause severe damage.

Also, cleaning alternator with water is possible, especially if you are taking the alternator out. You can flush the alternator using water. However, it must be properly dried before it is installed back.


Knowing how to clean oil off the alternator is one of the first steps to maintaining your alternator.

When oil gets into the alternator, it could cause severe and costly damage.  It is why we recommend developing a high-maintenance habit to prevent things like this from happening.

If you cannot have the alternator cleaned yourself, visit a professional mechanic to help for a penny. Thank you for reading!  

Akindayini Temiloluwa

I am Akindayini Temiloluwa, an automotive expert writer and car enthusiast. I have over three years of experience in the automotive writing niche and have completed over 300 pieces of content from 50 projects. I have vast knowledge and skill in vehicle repairing, all mechanical work, car upgrades and maintenance. My goal as an automotive content writer is to simplify the most challenging concepts for my readers, help them self-diagnose what may be wrong with their vehicles and offer real value for their time.

Recent Posts