Your vehicle's alternator works to charge your battery while you are driving. As such, an improperly functioning alternator can leave your battery without enough charge to power the electrical systems within your vehicle, ranging from the radio to the engine's ignition system itself. Understanding some of the more common warning signs associated with an alternator that is no longer doing its job properly can help you identify when you should talk to an auto repair specialist about replacement.
Dimmed Headlights and Electrical Issues
The first and most common symptom of a bad alternator that you will likely experience is dim headlights, especially if they are flickering or not putting out the same level of light constantly. You may also notice that other electrical systems within your vehicle are no longer working at peak efficiency, including power windows that shake or go up unevenly or an air conditioner that does not properly circulate air any longer.
While there are a whole host of different reasons why the parts underneath your vehicle could be making strange sounds while you are driving, any sort of rattling that seems to be coming from the engine, especially when combined with other symptoms on this list, can point to an alternator issue.
Another sign that your alternator is not working is if your vehicle stalls while you are driving. The spark plugs within your engine that continuously ignite gasoline may not be receiving enough power to do their job, which is why you may find that your vehicle suddenly shuts off while you are driving. This is, of course, a serious safety concern, so as soon as this happens for the first time, you need to talk to an auto repair specialist to determine if the alternator or another component is to blame.
Failure to Start
Finally, the last and most obvious sign that your alternator needs to be replaced is if your battery dies after you drive somewhere and you are left stranded. On one hand, it could be just an old and worn out battery, but if the battery itself is relatively new or if you've found yourself having to jump your engine several times within a short time period, your alternator is a much more likely culprit. As a general rule of thumb, every time you get your battery looked at or replaced, you should ask your mechanic to inspect the state of your alternator at the same time as well.
For more information, contact a local auto repair shop.Share
10 October 2018
After my car died and I was stranded on the freeway a few years back, I knew that I had to do what I could to avoid similar issues in the future. I began working hard to identify different issues with my car, so that I could prevent problems. I began working with a mechanic to get help, and he taught me a lot about going through my car and being able to evaluate different things that were problems. It was really interesting to explore the possibilities of different car failures, and before I knew it, I could tell when my car was struggling. Read more about the early signs of car trouble on my blog.