Keeping your car on the road is a complex feat, and your alternator plays an important role in this process. After the battery starts your vehicle, the electrical current produced by the alternator is what keeps you going. It accomplishes this with a rotating pulley, converting the mechanical energy into electricity. Your car depends on the alternator to stay powered.
Symptoms of a Faulty Alternator
With a life span between 7 and 10 years, alternators are hardy equipment and don’t require much maintenance. When the alternator is failing, however, you may notice your vehicle behaving unusually. Here are some common symptoms of a failing alternator:
- Battery Light On — Your dash lights are part of your OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) system, and their role is to communicate any issues in your vehicle. If the alternator is failing, the light shaped like a battery, ‘ALT’, or ‘GEN’ will glow on your dashboard.
- Whining Noise — The components inside your alternator have to spin in order to produce energy. You may hear a whining or grinding noise if any of these moving components are failing.
- Electrical Failure — If you notice that certain parts of your car aren’t working, it might be because of a failing alternator. You should watch your headlights, dashboard lights, windshield wipers, and other powered components. Dimming lights or slowed moving parts is a common symptom.
- Burnt Rubber Smell — If the belts and pulleys of the alternator are malfunctioning, the friction might cause a burnt rubber smell. If you notice an odor of burnt rubber or electrical fire, try tightening the belt. If that doesn’t work, your alternator might be failing.
- Weak Battery — If your battery is failing, your alternator won’t be able to power it. To determine if the battery or alternator is failing, you can use a simple test. Jump-start your car, then immediately remove the jumper cables. If the car dies, the alternator is most likely failing. If the car keeps running, it’s likely the battery that is dying.
If you’re experiencing electrical issues or suspect your alternator is failing, we can help. Our experienced mechanics can provide the expertise and quality services to keep your car on the road. If you need alternator repair, we invite you to bring your vehicle to Barney Brothers Off Road & Repair today!