6 Reasons Why Your Alternator Fails
The alternator is a very powerful and important part for the proper operation of all the electrical components in your car. Not only does it charge your battery, but it also charges your lights, ignition, stereo, and everything else. It’s connected to the battery to ensure your battery won’t drain while you are driving. We have listed several reasons why your alternator might fail and the signs you can look for if you have issues. You might find out if it’s time to replace your alternator.
You do not have to search for issues, you should get a warning light on your dashboard that your alternator is going bad. Other signs you will easily detect would be noises coming from the engine, flickering headlights and issues when trying to start the car.
Let’s take a closer look at the various issues that might arise that will indicate that your alternator is beginning to fail.
Battery Warning Light
If you want to check all the warning lights on your dashboard, the ignition should be on but the engine should not be running. You will notice images for all the warning lights and one is for the car’s battery.
1- The battery light will light up if the ignition is on and if the battery power is over 13 volts. Your car battery is normally 12 volts but when the alternator is charging, it will be around 14.2 volts in your system.
2- If the voltage in the system drops below 13 volts while the ignition is on, the battery light will light up on your dashboard which indicates the alternator is not charging correctly.
Your Headlights Are Flickering Or Dim
Your headlights are very high power components requiring a great deal of electricity. The more power given to the headlights, the brighter they will be. If the alternator is not running correctly, the voltage will drop causing the headlights to dim or flicker. If the headlights are not as bright as they should be, the alternator might be the reason. When your headlights flicker the chances are you have an unstable voltage coming from the alternator.
Newer cars are equipped with LED headlights so you will not experience dimming from your lights caused by the alternator. Instead, the lights might be completely turned off.
When you are driving, the alternator should be recharging your battery. That means every time you start your car after it’s been parked, it should have all the power it needs to start. Unfortunately, if the alternator is failing, it might not completely charge.
If the charging process is not up to a full charge to the battery you will eventually get to the point when your car is draining more power than it is receiving. In the morning you might notice your car is having starting issues. One sign that you have an issue with the alternator, your car feels worn out and tired every time you start it.
Noises Coming From The Engine
If your alternator is not working properly, you will probably hear banging or squealing sounds. The alternator has bearings and other spinning electronic components. Because the alternator plays such an enormous role in the operation of your vehicle, any strange sounds or other issues should be taken care of as soon as you can.
The most common issue could be a bad bearing inside the generator. If you need to check your alternator, it’s easy to see from the engine bay making it easy to access and listen for unusual sounds.
With some car models, the alternator might be located down in the engine bay making it difficult to hear noises. If that’s the case, you should visit your mechanic and have it checked out.
The Battery Drains
Your battery is always draining even though you charge it frequently and it’s in good condition. This could be a sign your alternator is not working properly. There can be several reasons why your alternator is not charging properly You might want to contact your mechanic to find out what’s going on.
Other Electronic Issues
Newer cars have thousands of components and it might be difficult to find the component that is causing issues. If you have a low voltage caused by a faulty alternator, it would be wise to get it checked out unless you have mechanic skills.
The Location Of The Alternator
In most cases, the alternator is located at the front of the engine near the serpentine belt. In most cases, it sits higher up in the engine but in some cars, it could be further down. The serpentine belt powers the alternator and the belt is powered by the crankshaft pulley which is located at the front of the engine.
If you are not mechanically inclined and have questions, it’s always advisable to speak with your mechanic to help you out. Keeping your car well maintained will extend the life of your car. Pay attention to sounds coming from your car or take note if it’s not performing correctly and get these issues taken care of in a timely manner.
If you are experiencing any of the issues as listed above that may sugggest an issue with your vehicle, you can get your vehicle checked by booking online today.