4 Signs Your Vehicle's Alternator Is Failing

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An alternator is an important part of your vehicle's electrical system. It helps provide the power needed to perform functions like giving your vehicle lights and using other parts of the car's electrical panel. Here are some signs that the alternator might be failing and need repairs.

There Are Significant Electrical Failures

The first signs with a failing alternator typically have to do with the electrical system failing. You may first notice changes with the headlights, such as having them flicker when they are turned on, or possibly shining dimmer than normal. If you are driving at night and suddenly have to turn the headlights up much brighter than normal, then there could be an issue with the alternator. You might also find problems with other aspects of the electrical system, such as the air conditioner having problems or the power windows not working every time you push the button. Power locks and all lights in your vehicle may also be powered by the alternator.

The Battery Is Weak or Dying

Your battery can also tell a lot of about your vehicle. While no car battery lasts forever, having a battery that seems weak based on other electrical failures or because it needs to be recharged more often could be a sign that it is the alternator failing, not the battery itself. If you're not sure which it is, charge the battery when it is dead. If it goes back on, but your lights are dimmer, then the issue is probably the alternator since the battery was able to get restarted. However, if it doesn't take a charge, it is probably due to the battery needing to be replaced.

There Are Odd Smells

Also pay close attention to more subtle signs your alternator might be faulty, such as if you smell odors that seem unfamiliar to you. There are belts underneath the hood that work with the alternator, which can cause friction and lead to a bad smell if there is burning rubber. This happens when the belts are not running as they should as there is too much friction. This smell is a classic sign of a failing alternator. However, you should first check the condition of the belts, such as attempting to tighten them, to determine if that really is the issue.

You Hear Unusual Sounds

The sounds you hear coming from your vehicle when it is running can also point to an alternator failure. The most common sound to hear if the alternator needs to be repaired or replaced is if you hear a high-pitched whining or grinding sound. This is often from worn out parts, such as bearings in the alternator, that need to be replaced.

If you need to replace your alternator, contact a company like Southwest Auto Salvage.