1997 Chevy Suburban charges slightly after starting

Dear Doctor: We have a 1997 Chevy Suburban that we use to transport rescue dogs. The SUV has a charging problem that our mechanic can’t seem to fix. It starts and charges slightly after starting, but when the air conditioning is turned on, it goes to discharge. The mechanic replaced the battery and he said he replaced the alternator and it did the same thing, so he put the original back in. We are reluctant to use the a/c for fear of getting stuck. Charles

Dear Charles: For an alternator to charge it has to have power entering it and a specific wire to excite the alternator to get it to charge. Most newer vehicles use the computer to regulate the charging rate of the alternator. A full check of the charging system needs to be performed. Sometimes a simple blown fuse or charging light bulb or connection will cause the problem.

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