About Me

Auto Repairs and Servicing

Hello, my name is Walter. Over the past few months, I have been working on my car. I never used to think much about my car. I would just jump into it and hit the road. Things were fine at first, but soon I realised that things were starting to go wrong. Strange white smoke started to appear from the exhaust. Sometimes when I changed gear, I could hear a strange noise. Foolishly, I ignored all of this until my car broke down. When I got to the auto repair shop the mechanic repaired my car and then gave it a full service. As he did so, I began my auto servicing education.



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Auto Repairs and Servicing

Is Your Vehicle's Alternator Failing? 3 Signs to Watch Out For

by Margie White

The alternator is a vital component of the electrical system of your car. One of its major functions is to recharge your car battery, which is crucial when it comes to starting the engine. Alternators can develop a problem or two down the line. When this happens, the major repair options are usually replacement, rebuilding or remanufacturing. Rebuilding is often a preferred method because it is cost effective, and when done correctly, the alternator will function as good as a new one. However, it is imperative to know when you have an alternator problem in the first place. Here are some of the signs that your alternator could be failing.

Erratic Electronics

This is the most obvious sign that you may be dealing with a problematic alternator. That's because the alternator is responsible for the supply of power to the electrical or electronic accessories of your vehicle. Some of the problems you may experience when the alternator develops a problem include dimming or flickering headlights, failing dash lights, failing speedometer, radio cutting out, and the electric windows failing. A failing alternator will usually lack the capacity to generate the power required to keep up with the electrical needs of your car. For this reason, you will often experience some of the aforementioned signs when you engage other actions that use energy. For instance, the lights may flicker or become dim when you accelerate or turn on the radio.

Dead or Weak Car Battery

Car batteries are usually not designed for extended power use. If the alternator is failing to recharge the battery, your vehicle's electricity demands will be too high for your battery to handle, and it will die quickly. However, the battery itself could be the culprit here, so you may want to conduct a simple test to pinpoint the problem. All you have to do is jump-start your vehicle and remove your jumper cables quickly. Wait for a few minutes and observe the behaviour of your car. If it dies soon afterwards, your alternator is the problem because it's failing to charge the car's system.

Difficulty Starting Your Car

A hard-starting vehicle is a sign of a range of problems with your car, one of which is a failing alternator. A faulty car battery may also be the problem, but if you have eliminated this possibility with the aforementioned test, the alternator could be the culprit. The spark plugs need the power supplied by the alternator to ignite your engine. If the alternator is faulty, that power may not be supplied, or it could be insufficient, and this will result in your car struggling to start.

Contact a car service centre for additional advice.