The alternator plays such a vital role in keeping all of the vehicle’s electrical components powered, so when something goes wrong in it other system or component of the car gets affected. Before those glitches take a toll on your car, learn how to tell if your automobile’s alternator is in trouble. Here are the few signs that can help you figure that out.
1. Dim Light
If your car’s alternator is failing, one of the signs that it may emit would be headlights and/or dashboard lights beginning to dim. That’s because it is a part of the electrical system of your vehicle which provides power to operate the starter, ignition and all electronic accessories in your car. So once the alternator starts to go bad all of those will start to dim or work slower than usual.
2. Warning Light
If you’re driving a pretty latest model car, there will be a dashboard warning light that will signal you once something goes wrong with the alternator. Whether that warning light is shaped like a battery, or indicated as ALT for alternator or GEN for generator, it will go off depending on how much electricity your car consumes and how much life the alternator has left.
3. Weak Or Dead Battery
Your car’s battery and the alternator are kind of attached to the hip because the alternator is the one that helps the battery replenish it. However, figuring out whether the problem is the alternator or the battery itself is the problem can be tricky. But here’s how to figure it out:
· Charge the battery and restart the vehicle
· The issue is the alternator if the vehicle has difficulty starting after the battery is fully charged
· There could be a problem with the battery’s charging system if the car will continue to run but the lights will again become dim after a short time
4. Weird Smells
Don’t ignore that smell similar to electrical fire in your car because that’s could indicate poor alternator output. The reason behind this is that the alternator works in conjunction with a system of belts. Those belts heats up, which produces a burning smell, when one of the belts is not turning freely therefore causing excess friction. Try tightening the belt, if that doesn’t work it would be best to seek a professional for car repair.
5. Odd Sounds
Now we know that there are a lot of different sound you can hear from a vehicle especially when running. Some of them are normal and others indicate a problem. When you hear something that you don’t usually hear, pay attention because your car might be screaming for help! Grinding or whining sounds indicates worn out bearings inside the alternator. When this happens, it’s probably time to replace alternators.
6. Visual Cues
All of those above points can help tell you possibility of a bad or failing alternator. However, you shouldn’t pass on checking under the hood. There’s a chance the problem is not in the alternator itself but just on one of the belts or other movable parts connected to it. Inspecting it to see where or what exactly is the problem is always a must. One of the easiest to spot is cracked or worn belts.