A vehicle’s alternator is a mechanical component that most drivers have heard of but may not know what it does. The alternator serves the essential function of keeping the car battery charged. It helps supply the power a driver needs to use a vehicle’s electronic accessories such as your headlights, radio, and ignition. It can come as a surprise when your car won’t start and lead you to suspect various causes. If you believe you may be experiencing problems with your alternator, below is a list of a few signs to look out for:
The Engine Smells like Burning Rubber or Wires
If you notice an unusual odor of burnt rubber or wires, it could indicate that parts of the alternator have worn out. As you drive, the alternator’s drive belt stays under constant tension and friction. With time, it may wear out and emit an unpleasant smell. If the alternator is overworked, it will push too much electricity through its wires, causing them to heat up to unsafe temperatures.
Dim or Overly Bright Headlights
A failing alternator will provide inconsistent voltage to the vehicle’s electronic accessories. This can cause the headlights to become either too dim or excessively bright. The inconsistency may also cause the lights to flicker.
The Battery is Dead
If you turn on your vehicle and notice the battery is dead, it may just be a dead battery. However, other times a dead battery could be an indication that the alternator is malfunctioning. A faulty alternator won’t allow the battery to hold a charge, leading it to deplete quickly. An easy way to determine whether a dead battery is related to the alternator is to jump-start the vehicle. If the jump-start keeps the car running, the issue stems from the battery and may need to be replaced. If the jump-start stars the car and it dies shortly after, it may signal a faulty alternator.
The Vehicle Stalls or has Trouble Starting.
As mentioned earlier, if the alternator is malfunctioning, it may not adequately charge the battery. Turning the key in the ignition may be met with a clicking sound rather than the engine’s roar. However, if the vehicle frequently stalls, there may be an issue with the spark plugs. This makes it essential to have your car inspected to identify the problem.
Malfunctioning Electrical Accessories
If the alternator is struggling, it won’t be able to supply power to the electronics. This will result in them reacting slowly or not working at all. If the seat warmers aren’t as warm or the windows begin to struggle to roll up or down, there may be an alternator problem.
If your vehicle’s electrical system isn’t as sharp as it used to be or the battery is dying, it may be time for an alternator inspection. Import Auto Specialist provides top-quality automotive repair in San Diego, CA. Our ASE certified technicians offer a full comprehensive inspection and diagnosis to keep your battery and electrical system working at it’s best.