Walnut Creek Auto Repair

Do I Have A Faulty Alternator?

There's no bigger headache than a car that won't start. Unfortunately, this can be a symptom of a failing alternator or battery. If your car is having issues starting, it's important to diagnose the issue and bring your car in for repairs. Luckily, there are some telltale symptoms of a faulty alternator that you can look for.

Signs Your Alternator Is Failing

  • Dead battery — when your car's battery is dead, it can look like your alternator is failing. The key difference is that the battery starts your car, while the alternator keeps the battery running. To figure out if it is the battery or alternator that is failing, you can jumpstart your car. If the car continues running, your battery needs replaced. If the car dies shortly after, then the alternator is failing. The car dies because it isn't producing enough power to keep the battery running.
  • Dashboard warning light — If the battery warning light in your car is lit up, there could be an issue in the electrical system of your car. While different types of failures can cause the light to turn on, it can also be the alternator failing to cause it.
  • Odd noises — if you hear strange noises coming from your car, like growling or whining, it may mean that you're having alternator issues. This is usually because of issues with the belt on the alternator or bearings that spin the rotor shaft, with the strange noises coming from friction.
  • Inconsistent or dim lights — when your alternator starts to fail, it's not able to provide the right amount of power to components of your car like the headlights. As a result, you might notice that your headlights are a lot dimmer or brighter than usual.
  • Stalling or issues starting — if you're having trouble getting your car's engine to start, this is most likely because your alternator isn't able to charge the battery. Additionally, if your car keeps stalling while driving, it might be a sign that your alternator is struggling to power your car's spark plugs.
  • Malfunctioning or slowed accessories — because your alternator isn't producing enough power, you might notice that electronic accessories on your car like the windshield wiper or windows aren't working properly. Many cars are programmed with a priority list of where to cut off the electricity first, so noticing that luxurious features like seat warmers aren't working is a great early sign that you have an alternator problem.
  • Burnt smell — if you notice a foul odor like burnt rubber or an electrical fire coming from your car, it might be the belt on the alternator or the wires inside of it wearing down.

Get Your Alternator Repaired

If you're worried about your car's alternator, it might be time to come in for a check-up with our expert auto technicians. We provide our high-quality services with a smile, and you can leave knowing that your car was fixed by the experts. If you're looking for alternator repair, we invite you to bring your car to Central Automotive Service Center today!

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