How to Know if You Need Alternator Replacement

Telltale Signs of a Bad Alternator

The Energy is Off

When is a dead battery, not a dead battery? Your car’s battery can die for any number of reasons. It can die of old age or simply because you accidentally left your lights on overnight. However, if your car’s battery dies, it can also be a sign of a malfunctioning alternator not charging the battery while your engine is running. If you jump start your car and it dies again shortly thereafter, that’s a sign that it’s your alternator that’s the problem, not the battery itself. Also, look at your dashboard. If your alternator is bad, your battery warning light may come on. Even though the problem is the alternator, it still affects the battery, and your car may try to warn you through the battery light.

Weird Smells and Sounds

Another sign that your car’s alternator isn’t working is if you’re experiencing weird smells and odd sounds. If you’re hearing growling or whining coming out of your car, that’s a sign you have alternator problems, which you should get checked out as soon as you can. You may also smell burning rubber or wires, indicating that your alternator is starting to wear out. An overworked alternator is at risk of overheating, which can cause a smell similar to an electrical fire. If you notice any of these signs, prioritize bringing your car in to check your alternator out.

No Lights, No Music

A messed-up alternator will also cause your car’s lights to be too bright, dim, or flicker. That’s because it provides inconsistent voltage to the electronic accessories in your car, which will lead to fluctuations. Speaking of electronic accessories, if your alternator isn’t working properly, it will also cause the other accessories in your car to either work more solely than usual or to not work at all. Most modern cars are actually programmed to cut out non-essential electronics, like your radio, before you lose power to your headlights. Additionally, you may notice that your car has difficulty starting up or stalling often. So if you’re noticing any issues with energy, get your alternator replaced before it worsens!

If you see these signs, or if anything else is amiss with your car, don’t panic, but do prioritize getting your car checked out by the professionals. Contact A&M Auto Repair in Bellevue, WA, for all your auto repairs and maintenance needs!

Written by A&M Auto Repair Bellevue