Your car, truck, or SUV cannot run if the alternator is dead. The alternator generates the power the battery and electrical components need to run. While you drive, the alternator keeps your battery charged, so it doesn’t completely discharge and stall your automobile. How can you tell if your vehicle’s alternator is going bad? Heath’s Auto Service lists five symptoms of a failing alternator.
Because the alternator powers the electrical components in your vehicle, you’ll notice your headlights dim or flicker if the alternator isn’t providing enough power. You’ll also notice dimmed interior lights, such as the center dome light and your dashboard lights.
As mentioned above, the alternator circulates power back to the battery while your engine is running so the battery remains charged. If your battery is not powered by the alternator, it will run out of charge and die. A dead battery could be the battery itself or the alternator.
Your alternator generates voltage with internal mechanisms and external belts. If any of these things are failing or worn, you will hear grinding or whining sounds coming from the engine. It’s best to have any engine noise investigated right away to avoid engine damage.
You Can’t Start Your Car
If your vehicle turns over but doesn’t start or turns over numerous times before it starts, this is a sign of a bad alternator. If it’s the starter, you’ll likely hear a clicking sound. If the vehicle’s ignition system turns over but struggles to catch, it’s probably the alternator.
Electrical Component Failure
Finally, if things such as your seat and steering warmers, power windows, and power seat adjustment slow down or don’t work at all, it could be they aren’t getting power from the alternator. You may also notice your power locks won’t respond.
Bonus symptoms include vehicle stalls and warning lights. If your vehicle stalls and you cannot get it restarted, your fuel pump may have died because the alternator is dead and not powering it. You may also get a dashboard warning light to tell you there’s trouble with the alternator.
If you notice any of these symptoms, bring your car, truck, or SUV into Heath’s Auto Service. We are located in Flagstaff, AZ, and we’d be happy to test your alternator to ensure it is producing proper voltage. If you’d like to set up an appointment, call us at 928-214-8150.