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6 Signs You’ve Got a Bad Alternator

Before we get into discussions about car batteries, let’s talk about the alternator first. Your battery cannot sustain a charge without the alternator. This gem under the hood produces voltage to power the battery and help power your vehicle’s components. If the alternator goes bad, the battery will die. Crossroads Automotive shares six signs below that your alternator could be going bad.

Your Lights Are Dimmer Than Usual

Your vehicle’s electrical system begins with the alternator. If this part is going bad, you will notice a difference in your vehicle’s lights. Most drivers notice that their dashboard backlight and headlights are dimmer first because they rely more on these lights. All lights will dim, however, in most cases.

ALT or GEN Warning Light

As you know, your vehicle is equipped with a warning system to alert you of trouble. For the electrical system, there are three lights: the battery, ALT, or GEN light. You don’t have all three of these lights on your dashboard, but whichever one you do have will turn on if there is an alternator problem.

Battery Trouble

As we mentioned above, the alternator charges the battery. If the alternator is dying, it can’t keep up the charge. While you drive, the alternator takes voltage and pumps it back into the battery as it discharges. If your lights begin to dim as you drive, the alternator is not recharging the battery.

Burning Rubber Smells

The alternator uses a series of belts to generate friction. This friction creates voltage. If there is something wrong with any of the belts, it might overheat. When the belt starts to overheat, you will smell burning rubber. Sometimes, the belt can be tightened, or it might need to be replaced.

Strange Whining or Grinding Sounds

An alternator also has internal bushings that spin inside the unit to generate electrical currents. Whining coming from the back seat is your kids; whining coming from underneath the hood could be the alternator. If the bushings have worn down, you might also hear them grind against each other.

Component Slow Down or Failure

Finally, if your vehicle’s components are not getting enough electricity, they may slow down or not work at all. For example, your automatic seat adjustment might take forever after your spouse drove your car, or your power windows might not go up or down. This, too, could be due to the alternator.

Bring your vehicle into Crossroads Automotive in Topeka, KS, at the first sign of alternator trouble to avoid a dead battery. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Photo by Loraks from Getty Images via Canva Pro
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