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Signs Alternator Is Failing

Top 3 Signs You Need a New Alternator

If you’ve found yourself here, then chances are you have an idea that your alternator may be failing. Our team here at Certified Autoplex is going to explore the top five signs of a failing alternator to give you a better idea of what the issue you’re dealing with maybe. Once you’ve determined the issue, it will be easier to move forward.

Although the alternator is not a complex component of the vehicle, it really does play a crucial part in the vehicle’s overall performance. Without the alternator, there would be no electrical power throughout the vehicle to turn on the headlights or power the radio. When the vehicle is running, the alternator works to charge the battery as well as supply power to the rest of the car’s electrical systems.

How To Know When Your Alternator Failed

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  1. Warning Lights: If your vehicle was built within the last ten years or so, chances are there is an indicator on the dashboard that will light up if the vehicle detects an issue with the alternator. This will turn on if the alternator’s output is either above or below the preset limit. Be sure to keep an eye on it especially when using more electricity than normal.
  2. Dimming Headlights: As we mentioned before, the alternator is what gives the electrical power needed to tons of features of the vehicle including the headlights. Be sure to keep an eye on the brightness levels of the headlights if you think your alternator may be failing because there will be warning signs in the way that the lights flicker or dim sporadically.
  3. Dead Battery: Since the battery is ultimately charged by the alternator, it comes as no surprise that drivers with a failing alternator may also end up with a dead battery. One way to narrow it down and determine which is the issue is to jump-start the battery and remove the cables. If it dies right away, it’s the alternator. If it doesn’t, then the battery is the issue.

There are a few other ways to determine the life of your alternator aside from the ones mentioned above. Most mechanics will be able to figure out the issue either by sight, sound, or smell. Let us explain. If a driver complains of common alternator issues, the mechanic will pop the hood and check the belts and connections, which could result in diagnoses right away. There is also a common “growling” sound that often accompanies a failing alternator along with the scent of burning rubber.


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More information regarding mechanical issues for your vehicle are available by contacting our team here at Certified Autoplex. We’re constantly updating our blog with helpful tips and tricks, answering FAQs, and proving useful how-to’s, so be sure to stay tuned!

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