Tips

Is Your Alternator Failing?

Your car’s alternator is the key component in the electrical system. If it starts to fail, other components can fail, too, especially the battery. The alternator powers the battery, i.e., it sends the voltage the battery loses right back into it so it never runs out of a charge. Mark’s Auto Service can replace your alternator if it’s failing. Here are signs that it is.

You’re Hearing Some Odd Sounds…

Depending on what’s going on with your alternator, you might be hearing some weird sounds. This can mean that parts and bearings in the alternator itself are going bad. If the belts that connect the alternator to the rest of the electrical system are going bad, you might hear squealing sounds, especially when you turn on a component.

… And Smelling Something Hot

It’s also possible that you’re smelling something as the alternator fails. Overheating alternators can overheat the belts, creating a burnt rubber smell. Interior parts can also start to smell hot, and wiring may experience melted outer coatings, which get smelly fast.

Components Aren’t Working

You might notice that some of your components start acting a little odd, or are not firing up at all when you turn them on. Your radio might start to have some issues, for instance, or you might not be able to use the heat or AC. Trying to move your power seats? That may not work at all.

Your Lights Don’t Seem to Be Working

How are your lights looking? Most drivers forget to check on their lights, even periodically, but when you’re driving at night and need them, you might start to feel as if they aren’t bright enough. You might even try turning on your bright lights, finding that they’re not much better. This can all point to your alternator. 

The Battery Is Dead

When your alternator is really suffering, it can completely kill off your battery. That’s because the system works together when everything is working as it should. The battery starts your car, and the alternator kicks back electrical power to your battery as the car runs to help the battery keep its charge. When the alternator can’t hold up its end of the deal, you’ll have a dead battery on your hands.

Finally, you might also end up with a battery-shaped dashboard warning light that lets you know there’s an electrical system problem. That could be the alternator and we’d be happy to test your vehicle and battery for you at Mark’s Auto Service in Rockford, IL. We can help you to make sure your electrical system is working well.

Photo by pagadesign from Getty Images Signature via Canva Pro