Your car’s alternator is a feature that can ensure your battery never runs flat. No longer will you run out of juice! Having a constant current is vital to many of your car’s features, including headlights and indicators. So when the alternator goes wrong, it can have a severe impact on your ability to drive. It can mean you aren’t properly safe on the roads, and eventually, can mean a dead car. As such, it’s important to be on the lookout for the following 5 signs of an alternator problem. And if you do discover a couple, it’s best to give it some attention as soon as possible!
How do I treat an alternator problem?
Since the signs of an alternator problem are rather obvious, it’s easy to identify issues early. It’s not an easy fix, however; repairing your car’s alternator is a tricky job that’s best left to a professional. The alternator is a small component with a small amount of parts, but because of its importance, it’s best not to tamper with it. Onto the signs!
1. Flickering/dim headlights
If your headlights are flickering or dim, there’s a good chance that your alternator is slowly dying. If you’re unsure how bright your headlights are supposed to be, ask a friend for help or look at your car online for comparison. Though, it should be obvious. Make sure you check your headlights before you start a lengthy journey. The last thing you need is to have a failed alternator when you’re on holiday. Not good!
2. Dashboard warning light
Most modern cars come equipped with a plethora of dashboard warning lights. Among these is a light you may not have seen before – until now. It’s the alternator warning light, and it looks a bit like a battery. In other cases, the warning light will display ‘GEN’ or ‘ALT.’ Both these are indicative of an alternator issue. Don’t ignore the light even if you have no other issues!
3. Car hard to start/does not start
While, technically, this could be linked to a range of issues, it’s a good sign of an alternator issue. Cars need juice to run, and if the alternator is dead… the car won’t start! Cars don’t just run on gas, and you’ll need plenty of electricity to get things moving capably.
4. General electrical problems
If anything in your car, that runs on electricity, ceases to work, inspect the alternator. These include, but are not limited to, electric windows, cigarette lighters, the radio, air con and dash lights.
5. Unusual smells
Read: the smell of burning rubber. This smell is never good, at the best of times, and here it’s a worrying sign. While it could be something else besides the alternator, it’s likely that it is the alternator. This smell may also be accompanied by strange noises. So, if you hear anything that you don’t usually, now’s the time to act! In short, if you notice any one, or any combination of, these issues, seek help. The alternator is very important to the longevity of your car, and it needs to be 100 percent maintained all the time. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons