6 Signs You Have A Faulty Alternator
The alternator sends power to all your vehicle’s electronics while driving. If it’s not performing properly, here are some of the signs you might have a faulty alternator.
Newer cars have a great deal more electric components but in order to have all the needed power for the components without any issues, you need a power source that comes from the alternator.
The alternator delivers power to your battery along with the entire electrical system including your lights, ignition, stereo, etc.
The alternator is attached to the battery to guarantee your battery will not run out while your vehicle is running.
In most cases, you will not be aware when it’s time to replace the battery or what you might have to pay to find out. We will give you some signs to watch out for so you will know in advance.
The most common sign that your alternator is going bad, the warning light on your dashboard will come on. Other issues include your car’s lights will flicker or you will have difficulty starting your car. Should you hear sounds coming from your engine, it couldd be coming from an alternator that is failing.
The Battery Warning Light
If you have checked all the warning lights on your dashboard while the ignition is on but your car’s engine is not turning over, you should see a warning light on your dashboard with a car battery icon.
There are two signs to watch out for:
The ignition is running and the battery power is over 13 volts. Under normal circumstances, the battery has 12 volts and if the alternator is charging, it should read around 14.2 volts in your system.
If the voltage in the system drops below 13 volts while the ignition is running, the battery light on your dashboard will light up letting you know the alternator is not charging correctly.
Your Car Lights Are Flickering Or Dim
Keep in mind, that your headlights need a lot of power. The more power your headlights get, the brighter your headlights will be.
If your alternator is going out, the voltage going to your headlights will drop significantly and they will become dim. If your headlights seem fainter than before, there’s a good chance you have an issue with the alternator.
If your headlights start flickering, that’s caused by an unstable voltage coming from the alternator.
Newer cars have LED headlights meaning you will not experience dimming lights from a faulty alternator. The downside to that, your lights could go out completely before you even know there is a problem with your alternator.
Problems Starting Your Car
Every time you drive, the alternator should completely recharge the battery. When your car has been parked and you want to drive, the battery should be fully charged.
On the other hand, if your alternator is failing, it will not charge the battery every time you drive. Eventually, your car will drain more power than is being charged and your car will eventually not turn over.
When your car feels tired every time you start it, chances are there’s an issue with the alternator.
Sounds Are Coming From The Engine Bay
To explain, the alternator is made up of bearings and other spinning electronic parts. If your alternator is damaged, you might hear squealing or banging sounds coming from it.
The most common issue is a bad bearing inside the generator which will send out a scratching sound. It’s very easy to see the alternator from the engine bay, open it and listen to locate where the sound is coming from.
In some cases, the car’s alternator is located far down in the engine bay making it very difficult to listen for noises. If that’s the case, you should contact a professional mechanic to help you out.
The Battery Continually Drains
If you charge your battery on a regular basis but it continually drains, even if it’s new or in good condition, chances are you have an issue with the alternator.
There are several reasons why the alternator is not charging the way it should.
Other Electronic Failures
If you have an electronic component that is not getting the right voltage, there could be several reasons why. Newer cars have many more electronic parts that need power.
If you have low voltage going to components it could be caused by a faulty alternator. You might experience many strange issues both inside and outside your car. If you think something abnormal is going on with your car, it’s a good idea to check out the alternator or get someone to help you.
Normally, the alternator is located at the front of the engine near the serpentine belt. It’s usually, located at a high point of the engine but it can also be further down.
If you don’t know, the serpentine belt powers the alternator, and the belt is powered by the crankshaft pulley. The pulley is located at the front of the engine.
The alternator is a very important part of the overall operation of your car. You should have it checked out regularly to ensure it’s running properly.
If you believe you have an issue with your alternator or are considering a service, repair or MOT for you can book your vehicle in to one of our 4 branches by using the simple form below or give us a call at Oldham 0161 624 5060, Heywood on 01706 622633, Bury 0161 761 3030 and our Oldham Van Centre 0161 628 5270.
Arranging Your Service
Drop your car off
Simply drop your car off with us between 8am and 10am and in most cases your vehicle will be ready for collection the same day between 3.30 and 5.30. Outside these hours you are welcome to park.
Wait with your car
Most servicing and repair work can be done while you wait. If this is your preference we have a superb waiting area equipped with free hot and cold drinks and a interesting viewing area where you can watch our trained technicians working on your vehicle.
If your vehicle needs to stay with us for 1 day or longer then you are able to pre-book one of our courtesy vehicles to keep you mobile.
Pick up / drop off
The ultimate hassle free solution; one of our drivers will arrange to collect your vehicle from your home or place of work at a pre-arranged time and then return your vehicle when the work is complete. Our service advisors will contact you when the vehicle arrives on site during the day to discuss the progress of the work and then advise you of the time you can expect your vehicle back. Contact our service advisors for more details.