The automotive spare parts such as an alternator play an important role in the working of any gasoline-powered vehicle. It uses the induction process to convert mechanical energy into electrical. This energy is used by different parts of the s to function. In other words, an alternator takes care of all the electrical needs of a vehicle.
The battery of a car is charged using the power from the alternator. The alternator needs to work hard as it also has to provide electricity to other parts of the car.
Any kind of problem with the alternator can have an effect on the functioning of the car parts associated with it. Paying attention to some of the car problems can make it easy for you to know if your alternator is the culprit. Check if your car is facing the following alternator failing symptoms.
1. The Warning Light
There is a warning indicator light in a car’s dashboard which usually turns on when the alternator’s voltage output does not match the pre-set limits – either it goes above or below the limits. The light might just flicker in the early stages. It’s the first indication that the alternator might need help.
Many cars have a button known as ‘ALT’ which lights up when the alternator needs help. In such cases, usually, drivers think that the problem is with the battery but the warning light indicates an issue with the alternator. Get it checked before the electricity supply completely goes off.
2. Electrical Issues
As the alternator is connected to many electrical parts of the car, its failure or damage could lead to trouble with the accessories associated with it. Hence, problems in operating the AC, power windows, flickering headlights, power sunroofs, radio, and other electrical problems in the car could also indicate a damaged alternator.
If there are several electrical issues surfacing at the same time, it is no coincidence. The alternator is not able to produce the amount of electricity required by the car.
In order to understand if the problem is actually with the alternator or just the electric system of the car, try using two electric parts at the same time. For example: when the lights are on, also use power-window. Do the lights flicker? If yes, your alternator definitely is wearing out. The amount of electricity it provides is not sufficient to take care of the requirements. Get it checked before your car breaks down in the middle of the road.
3. Weird Sounds
Apart from the lights indicating trouble with the alternator, your car can produce strange sounds to let you know who the culprit is. There is a belt (accessory belt or a serpentine belt) that drives the alternator along with a pulley. The former usually spins faster than the pulley. If there is a problem in this mechanism or the parts associated with this process, there is a growling or whining sound which actually indicates the wearing out of the alternator.
If the damage is caused to the engine, a rattling sound can be heard. Check for other symptoms as well to confirm the cause of the trouble. However, sounds alone can be a vague symptom to prove that the alternator is at fault.
4. Strange Smell
Any kind of smell from the car is not a good sign. However, this does not always mean that the problem is with the alternator. A bad electrical smell is what indicates a failing alternator. In other words, when an alternator overworks, it gets heated up and smells like an electrical fire or burning rubber.
Again, there can be a problem with the alternator irrespective of the smell or no smell.
5. Difficulty Starting or Engine Stalls
A serious symptom of a damaged alternator is the problem of starting a car. It is probably not being able to charge the battery properly. However, do check other concerns which can be related to the start of the car. Engine stalling can be caused when the spark plugs aren’t getting enough electricity from the alternator. By now, you should know that your battery is about to die very soon.
Moreover, if the engine suddenly stops while you are driving, the alternator is not able to provide the required electrical power.
6. Dead Battery
It is relatively easy to diagnose a dead battery than a dead alternator. Jump-start the car and remove the jumpers immediately. The car will soon stop if the alternator fails to charge the battery. Hence, you know the problem is with the alternator. However, if the car continues to run, then the battery is worn out. Batteries can be checked with a voltmeter which is a free service at most auto service centers.
A failing alternator can cause severe damage to your car’s battery. When your car starts to make a rattling sound when the keys are turned on, which eventually stops, you should know that the battery is dead. The reason for this worn-out battery is the alternator. It doesn’t get the electrical power required to function well.
Damaged alternators can eventually kill even the best batteries. In other words, a dead battery is a problem in the car, but the main concern is the alternator which causes this issue.
7. Loose Connections or Belt Issues
A loose connection isn’t a problem with the alternator but with the electrical system of the car. Electricity is passed from the alternator to various parts of a car through wires and cables. A problem with the connection can create issues. Related symptoms that you could notice are – brighter lights and the smell of hot burning wires. With loose connections, more energy is produced by the alternator which brightens the light making the wires hot and releasing a kind of burning smell.
Moreover, there can also be a problem with the rectifier. It changes the AC current produced by the alternator to DC which is required by the car’s accessories. If there is a problem with the rectifier, electricity produced by the alternator will not reach the car parts.
Issues with the belt can also create problems with the functioning of the alternator. Check if the belt is loose or slightly burned, probably then, it needs replacement.
So, now you know, while driving if your car makes a strange noise or has flickering headlights, it isn’t jinxed. The alternator of the car is shouting for help as it might wear out anytime.
Keep a check on all the symptoms mentioned here. This would take care of a sudden breakdown of your car in the middle of the road.
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Although keeping an eye out for such indications can help prevent mishaps, it is essential to purchase high-quality automotive spare parts such as the Valeo Alternator parts and Lucas TVS starters. They are widely used in many vehicles.
Also Read : Signs for Alternator Failure