Your vehicle relies on the alternator for power. This part generates voltage and powers your battery and electrical components. If the alternator is failing, you’ll notice some unusual things happening. If it dies completely, you won’t be able to start your car, truck, or SUV. Here are five warning signs that the alternative is in trouble, so you can have the part replaced before it becomes a huge hassle.
Noticeable Light Changes
Your automobile’s headlights, taillights, and interior lights will dim as your alternator struggles to produce power. You may also notice power loss in your power accessories, such as the windows or seat adjustments. In severe cases, your radio and other console systems can turn off unexpectedly.
One Light That Turns On…
If the alternator is dying, your other lights will dim but a dashboard warning light will turn on. If you have it, you will either see the alternator warning light, “ALT,” or the generator warning light, “GEN.” If you don’t have either of these dashboard warning lights, your battery warning light will illuminate.
To get your vehicle started, the alternator powers the battery which, in turn, powers the starter. If your vehicle has trouble starting or fails to start at all, it could be that the alternator isn’t powering the battery. The issue could also be the battery itself, as the standard battery life is only three years.
How the alternator generates power is through a system of belts. If the belts are not moving as they should, you might smell burning rubber underneath your hood. This could be the alternator belt or another system belt. You may also smell hot electricity if a belt has slipped and cannot produce normal energy output.
Finally, your alternator has a motor inside of it that is made up of many moving parts. As the parts wear down, which they can do over time, you might grinding or whining. Usually, it’s the bearings or bushings that make these noises. Either way, the alternator needs to replaced if you hear strange noises coming from it.
At Buckeye Complete Auto Care, we’d be happy to inspect your alternator if you have noticed any of the above signs that it could be going bad. Bring your car, truck, or SUV into our shop and let us take a look. You can set up an appointment by calling us, and we’ll get you in and out as quickly as possible or take you where you need to go if we need to keep your vehicle.