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- 1 How To Tell If Alternator Is Going Bad
- 2 Is It Safe To Drive With A Bad Failing Alternator? Don’t Ignore These Warning Signs.
- 3 All You Need To Know About Bad Alternator Vs Bad Battery
How To Tell If Alternator Is Going Bad
When the engine is running, the alternator charges the battery and supplies power to the vehicle’s electrical systems. There are many accessories and electrical systems in your car besides lights and stereo. Modern cars are loaded with sensors and computers that require electricity. From lights to GPS systems, the alternator powers everything.
Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Alternator
If it starts to fail, many other things in your car will stop working. Your car’s alternator is responsible for keeping the battery charged and ensuring that all the other electrical systems in the car have enough power to operate.
The alternator produces electricity that is stored in the battery. The battery, in conjunction with the alternator, helps run all of your car’s electrical and accessory systems, including the ignition and engine control systems. The alternator is driven by a belt from the engine and produces alternating current (AC). AC is converted to 12 volts direct current (DC) by the diode bridge.
The alternator keeps things electrically charged and running. If it fails, you’re stuck and it can go wrong slowly or suddenly. If you know the warning signs, you can replace the alternator while it’s slowly failing and avoid sudden stalling. Here are some of the things you should know.
If the alternator dies, the battery doesn’t charge and rebuilds energy storage from whatever drain it has to cover. When the car is in operation, the charging system (alternator, voltage regulator) must recharge the battery and provide sufficient electrical power to the vehicle. The battery works as a backup. If the vehicle requires more electricity than the charging system (alternator) can provide, the battery covers the difference. This can happen in cold weather, especially if you are stuck in traffic, snow or rain. Many stops and stops, brake lights are constantly on and off, headlights on, heat and dimming, interior dashboard lights, devices such as smartphones being charged, radio and any other hi-fi equipment that requires power (boomin system), possibly built-in. Wireless, Bluetooth, built-in computers, entertainment systems such as DVD players, games, Internet/satellite/cell connections. Everything takes power. The alternator has a very difficult job.
Is It Safe To Drive With A Bad Failing Alternator? Don’t Ignore These Warning Signs.
Learn the warning signs of an alternator failure and what to do if it goes out. Dimming Lights The alternator itself can be the cause of dimmed lights, faded radio and/or jamming.
If the alternator is bad, you will notice that the dash lights appear dimmer than usual. In addition, you may notice that other lights, such as the interior light of the cabin or even the headlights, are not as bright as they should be, maybe even yellowish. You may notice that the lights dim when some other part of the car is activated, such as the engine cooling fan, and when it stops, the lights return to a slightly brighter state. This can also be a symptom of other problems in the electrical system that need to be checked.
The alternator powers the car’s many electrical/electronic accessories, from power windows and seats, dashboard, radio and horn to computer chips, GPS and internet connectivity. When things start to dim, fade, flicker, or just die, it’s a good sign that your alternator is dying too.
Most cars are equipped with a check engine light that comes on to indicate that something is wrong. There are a standard number of things that could go wrong if the check engine light comes on, but if the car has a separate battery light, it means something more specific. Some cars have an indicator light on the dash titled ALT or GEN, sometimes it’s around a battery to indicate general power or electrical problems (where the alternator goes in). It’s funny how a little light can change your day, or maybe your life. In this case, either the alternator or the battery (or both) is the problem. If all the control panel status lights come on, this is a sure sign of imminent catastrophic failure.
Alternator Diodes Blown
If your car won’t start, there is probably a problem with the starter system. If you turn the key in the ignition and all you hear is a click-click-click, or nothing, it usually means the battery is dead. Why is the battery dead? Alternator is old or not charging. The battery’s job is to provide power to the starter motor to start the car and all the systems that run, including the power/charging system. The battery is not intended as a long-term power source. Even the best new battery will regularly die with little or no recharging of the alternator. But when the alternator fails, it’s up to the battery to provide electricity to everything in the car. However, diagnosing a dead battery is easy. Start the car, remove the wires, let the car run and wait. If the alternator is dead or weak and not effectively charging the battery, the car will eventually stall. But the best way to determine if the problem is an alternator or a dead battery is to test the battery with a voltmeter, which you can find at most auto stores.
Inside the alternator are parts that rotate to generate electricity. If one of the alternator components breaks or wears, you may hear a grinding or whining sound. The bearings inside the alternator can wear out and make a lot of noise, such as rattling. The alternator block rotates two to three times faster than the crankshaft block and can become worn, loose or misaligned and begin to drag or dig. A worn housing in which the alternator is mounted can also cause strange noises.
If the alternator pulley belt slips or is out of alignment, this can lead to not only poor performance and low power from the alternator, but also strange odors. The smell of burnt rubber is common in cases of alternator failure, so if you smell it along with strange or less than ideal electrical system performance, you should take your car to a mechanic to check things out.
If your alternator is failing, check safety, performance and peace of mind. Don’t let yourself and/or your family down
Signs Of A Bad Or Failing Alternator
Check your electrical system and the rest of your car. Maybe now is the perfect time to make a statement.
Visit an AAMCO Colorado Comprehensive Auto Care and Repair Center when problems arise and you need your alternator, battery or other electrical components serviced or repaired. Call or make an appointment online.
If you have questions about road preparation for your car or vehicle repair and maintenance issues, AAMCO Colorado can help. You can also use AAMCO Colorado’s Ask a Mechanic feature to submit your auto repair questions. They will be answered by a real AAMCO Colorado engineer as soon as possible.
If you have an automatic transmission, expect your car to remain stationary when you put it in park. If your car rolls when you park, or your transmission is slipping, or you have other problems, bring your car to AAMCO for a full vehicle inspection. This will help identify potential problems that need to be repaired. Read more…
All You Need To Know About Bad Alternator Vs Bad Battery
If your transmission is hot, look into possible causes. Most transmission problems are a result of overheating. Causes of overheating include low fluid levels, leaks, burnt, old or ineffective fluid and solenoid valve problems. You can ensure the long life and efficient performance of your transmission and your car by doing a few things to make sure it doesn’t overheat. Read more…
A transmission filter prevents dirt and debris from entering the gears and other parts of the transmission system. It sits above the transmission sump, which collects excess fluid, and below the pickup tube that connects to the oil pump, which regulates fluid pressure in the transmission. Read more…
Your car should run smoothly whether it is in motion or stationary. If it shakes at idle, you can visit the mechanic. When your car is working properly, it should run smoothly in all driving modes: fast, slow, stopped and idle. A sign that the engine needs to be checked, and possibly needs some repairs, is when your car shakes at idle. Read more…
We all know that oil changes are a regular part of car maintenance. But do you know what an oil change and oil filter replacement does to your car? Your car
Is It A Dead Battery Or A Bad Alternator?
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