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Experts Suggested 6 Signs of Failing/ Bad Alternator

Diagnose your car's faulty Alternator

What's an alternator?

Alternator repair

You must’ve heard someone say that the battery is down when you’re unable to start a car. But have you ever wondered what keeps it charged in the first place? It’s the alternator. 


An alternator is the part that charges the battery in your car. When you use electrical components in your car (stereo, lights, etc.), the battery loses power. The alternator recharges the battery, replenishing the lost battery power. It is found in the engine compartment. Usually, an alternator is a long lasting device, but in case it stops functioning, the car will run for only as long as your battery drains completely. Once the battery loses power, your car will not start. Normally, a faulty alternator will turn on the battery warning light or will have a low volt gauge reading.

What damages an alternator?

Most alternators damage in their natural way i.e. wear and tear after long usage. However, there are a few ways an alternator can be damaged prematurely.

  • Fluid leakage in a car can potentially damage many components, including alternator. The engine oil or power steering fluid can leak onto the alternator and cause it to malfunction.
  • The way you use your car also determines how much your car’s component loves you! Random idling with lights or radio or any other electrical component can put extra pressure on the alternator, generating excess heat. This overheat can prematurely damage the alternator.
  • The alternator’s position in the car’s system puts it at a disadvantage against moisture intrusion. Being placed near the engine’s bottom makes it susceptible to damage due to salt and water.

What are the symptoms of a damaged alternator?

  • An overcharging or undercharging alternator can cause your lights to be overly bright or under dimmed respectively. Therefore, brightness of a car’s lights is an indicative of the car’s health.
  • Did your car’s battery lose power even while the car was running? It may be because of a faulty alternator. The car can only run as long as the stored battery allows it to. Once the charging is down and it cannot recharge, it means that the alternator isn’t doing its work.
  • Damaged ball bearings of an alternator can be a reason of whining and grinding noise coming from your engine. This is an indication of the alternator being in a bad sign.
  • Electrical issues with the car is another symptom of a damaged alternator. AC, radio, and many such components of a car work on electricity provided by the battery. Improper charging of this battery causes issues with these electrical components, hinting towards a faulty alternator.
  • Look out for warning lights on the car’s dashboard. A low battery sign should alert you of improper charging.
  • The ignition system is imperative to car’s working. Without proper supply of electricity, the ignition fails and hence, the vehicle stalls.

How to make your alternator last longer?

An alternator may encounter a physical damage such as a damaged or missing protective engine cover or shield. Water is the enemy of an alternator. The water splashing from the road enters the alternator and accelerates the wearing off process. If your engine undershield or cover is damaged, replace it to keep the engine compartment clean and dry. Coolants and oil can also be a reason for this wearing off. Similarly, while washing the car using shampoo and water, extra care must be taken to safeguard the alternator and protect it from exposure towards moisture.

Why repairing your alternator is important?

The insides of the car has a lot of electrical components like radio, ac, lights, etc. These work on the power supplied by the battery. Also, the car’s ignition requires a certain voltage from the battery to work. Therefore, a charged battery is a must for the car to work from any angle. But without an alternator or with a damaged alternator, the battery cannot charge and so the car won’t start. This is why an alternator is a very integral part of the car’s system and it is imperative to keep it repaired and working smoothly.