There usually isn’t a lot of talk about alternators when it comes to automotive maintenance and repair. Yet, you simply cannot operate your vehicle without a properly functioning alternator. But how do you know if your alternator is having problems? There are certain signs to look for; 6 car malfunctions, specifically.
If your car or truck is showing one or more of these malfunctions, it could indicate that your ride needs alternator repair.
What Does an Alternator Do?
The alternator in your vehicle plays a vital role in its overall operation and performance. Basically, the alternator supplies your vehicle with electricity. This electricity is used to power all sorts of mechanical systems and electronics within your car, including the head and taillights, interior cabin lights, heating and cooling, onboard computer systems, GPS systems, stereo, radio, dashboard operating systems, and much more. Without a properly functioning alternator, you will start to notice problems with one or more of these systems within your vehicle. This is how you can look out for the signs of alternator problems.
Oftentimes, people confuse alternator problems with car battery problems because they both supply vehicles with power. However, the alternator is responsible for charging the car battery. So, if you are experiencing electricity-related problems in your vehicle, check your car battery first. If your car battery checks out, you can safely assume your alternator needs a turn in the repair shop.
Common Signs of a Malfunctioning Car Alternator
➀ Electrical Problems
As mentioned, if you start to notice problems with any of the electrical or computerized systems within your vehicle, you might want to assume that it’s the alternator. But first, always check on the car battery to be sure.
➁ Dead Battery
If your car battery checks out in the moment, but then later fails on you, and then continues to do this over and over again, your alternator could be the underlying culprit. If you find that your jump starting your car on a regular basis or your car keeps dying while out on the road, you may need to replace alternator.
➂ Dimming Lights
Because alternators supply vehicles with a source of power, one of the first indications of alternator malfunction is dimming lights. Headlights, taillights, and interior cabin lights can appear dimmer or weak, and may even flicker. If you notice this in your vehicle, it is important to have your car battery and alternator checked out right away.
➃ Strange Noises
A common problem with alternators actually stems from a loose serpentine belt. If the serpentine belt is stretched out, which commonly happens with age, it can lose its ability to spin the alternator pulley effectively.
If you hear squealing sounds coming from your car when you started it, it could be an indication that your serpentine belt is defective and has alternator to lose charge. If you hear grinding sounds or growling noises, it can be an indication that your internal bearings have corroded or deteriorated.
➄ Illuminated Warning Lights on the Dash
If you see any warning lights on your dashboard light up, such as your “ALT” light, battery light, or your Check Engine Light, you might want to take a look at the alternator. This is especially true if you get both the battery light and the check engine light on at the same time. If you just get the car battery light, check your battery to see if it still has charge. If it is not your car battery, take it into the shop to have alternator checked out.
➅ Engine Stalling
If your engine is repeatedly stalling when you start or drive your vehicle, it is a telltale indication of an alternator malfunction. The fuel injectors are simply not getting the power they need to fuel the engine and keep it going. This situation typically leads back to the alternator.
Are you looking for a trusted Indy auto shop that can repair your alternator at a price you can afford? Contact Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for engine repair and scheduled car maintenance in Indianapolis, Indiana you can afford. We also offer auto service coupons and discounts!