The alternator is a critical component to your vehicle’s operation. It only contains a few parts, but if the alternator starts to go, you may have issues with your vehicle. The alternator turns the mechanical energy of the engine’s rotating crankshaft into electricity through induction. The alternator also has wires that cut through a magnetic field that helps to induce the electrical current. The current is used to power the accessories in your vehicle like the headlights or radio. The alternator also helps to keep the battery fully charged to the power it needs to start the vehicle.
The typical warning sign there is an issue with the alternator is to have the light on the dashboard illuminate. This light usually looks like a battery when it lights up. The light is linked to the computer system within the vehicle to help monitor the voltage output of the alternator. Many alternators have an output between thirteen and fourteen volts that is maintained at a constant level. If you have numerous accessories turned on, like the radio, headlights, and others, the alternator will need to work harder to maintain the necessary voltage needed.
The alternator supplies the power for the vehicle’s electrical needs. If it begins to lose electricity, so do the accessories that need that electricity to run properly. There may be erratic symptoms in your vehicle that could range from dim or extremely bright headlights, to the radio stopping abruptly. Other accessories like the power windows may start to slowdown if the alternator is starting to lose its current.
A sign that the alternator may start to go out is any growling or whining noise that you might hear. Along with the crankshaft pulley, a belt helps to produce the power for the alternator. If the pulley or belt is out of alignment it can cause other parts to start to wear out. As this happens, noises may start to be produced as problems arise. The smell of burning rubber is also an indication that the alternator is faulty. This is because the belt is creating more friction and heat to send power to the alternator.
If the alternator begins to fail, the battery starts to work harder to make up for the difference. This can cause the battery to wear out quicker than it should. The vehicle’s battery is not designed for any long-term power use, and it may result in it becoming unreliable. If you are unsure if the battery is starting to fail, make sure to bring your vehicle in and we can inspect it to see what the issue might be.
The electricity from the alternator is sent through cables and wires. If these have any issues with the connections at either end, it can reduce or stop the electricity from getting through. This may cause the lights to get brighter as the alternator produces more energy to overcome the resistance of a bad wire or loose connection.