Your car’s alternator is a very important part of your vehicle. This small device is responsible for keeping your car battery recharged so your car will start up when you turn the key or so you can turn on electrical components like a roof light or headlights. This little component also keeps your battery protected from surges or overcharging.
The signs of a failing alternator can be very misleading because they are often at times the exact same signs that you might notice when a battery fails. Here is a quick look at the top signs that your alternator might be on its way out.
The Lights Are Too Dim or Overly Bright
When an alternator starts to fail, it can alter the consistency of voltage in electrical components. This usually results in under or over-performance in electrical equipment. You might notice your headlights dim too much or become overly bright when you turn them on. You could also notice flickering lights or lights that switch from bright to dim or from dim to bright without your doing.
The Battery Is Dead
Car batteries typically only last about five years. But in some cases, your battery can fail as a result of a malfunctioning alternator. If the alternator is damaged, it won’t be able to fully charge the battery when you are driving. This can cause the battery to deplete faster. A brand new battery that suddenly ups and dies can also be a sign of a broken alternator because alterations in the surge can damage the battery.
If you jumpstart your car and it can safely keep driving then the battery is likely giving out but this doesn’t mean that the alternator is broken. But if you jumpstart your car and it does just a short while after the alternator isn’t doing its work.
Your Car Has Trouble Starting
If you turn the key in the ignition and you only hear a clicking sound, it could be a sign of a dead battery or a malfunctioning alternator. This usually happens when the battery is dying or when the alternator isn’t recharging the battery so there will be enough energy for start-ups.
You Hear Growling or Whining Noises
Odd sounds like growling or whining noises coming from the engine can mean all sorts of issues – including alternator problems. It is important to always get strange noises checked out and it is usually best to get your alternator repaired before it results in damage to the battery.
You Can Smell Burning Wires
The smell of burning rubber or burning wires can also be a sign that the alternator parts are becoming worn out. Alternators have a drive belt that is constantly under a lot of tension and friction. Over time, this belt can become worn down and can start to emit odours. When the belt becomes worn, it can cause the alternator to become overworked and heated. This may cause wires to start melting or could even cause a fire.
The Battery Warning Light Is On
Take a look at your dashboard. If the battery warning sign is lighting up it could mean battery problems or it could be an issue with your alternator. This little light can however also light up when you have some other electrical issue in the car.
If you notice any of these signs in your car then it is very important to get your car and battery checked out. At A Plus Auto Electrical and Air Conditioning, they can do a full car inspection and a professional mechanic can pinpoint the exact issue with your car. These professionals can also help with any alternator repair or replacement so you can get back on the road and enjoy a safe driving experience without any unexpected electrical issues.