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How to Tell When You Have a Faulty Alternator

If you think your vehicle has a faulty alternator, it’s time to visit your trusted local mechanic. Since the alternator is the device that charges the battery and powers crucial systems such as the displays, lights, windows, wipers, etc., it’s definitely not something you can delay replacing. But how can you tell when your alternator is faulty (as opposed to the car suffering some other problem)? That’s what this blog entry is here to explain…

Common Signs of a Faulty Alternator #1: Dead Battery

If you suddenly discover that your battery is flat, that may be due to the alternator not doing its job and keeping it charged. To check the battery hasn’t just worn out from age/amount of use, you can test it with a voltmeter. If it turns out the battery’s OK, the alternator is likely the issue.

Common Signs of a Faulty Alternator #2: Dim/Flickering Lights

A bad alternator that is struggling to provide enough power will lead to headlights (and dashboard displays) that are either too dim or which flicker between dull and bright. The chances of this happening increase based on how many other power-using functions of the vehicle you have operating at the same time as the lights. Strangely, a faulty alternator can also result in headlights that are too bright. That’s because, although the alternator is having trouble supplying enough power, your car’s on-board computer system might detect this fact and try to compensate.

Common Signs of a Faulty Alternator #3: Stalling

You can be pretty sure you need an alternator replacement if your vehicle is consistently hard to start and/or stalls regularly. Again, this would be due to the alternator not charging the battery enough while you are driving around, as well as not providing ample power to the spark plugs (hence the stalling part).

Common Signs of a Faulty Alternator #4: Odd Engine Sounds/Smells

A bad alternator may give off a burning smell, like burning rubber or burning metal. Furthermore, it may cause odd whinings or rattlings to come from within the engine. This is an indicator that damage has either been done or is being done to related parts, so don’t wait too long to get that alternator replacement!

Common Signs of a Faulty Alternator #5: Other Systems Playing Up

It might be the car stereo. It might be the windscreen wipers. It might be any number of power-using devices. The common factor is that when an electrical component performs slower than usual or only intermittently – especially in conjunction with other systems –
there’s a fair probability the reason is a faulty alternator creating a power shortage.

For Servicing & Repairs in the Moreton Bay Area

Based in Dayboro, Mainstreme Automotive is a family business that’s been operating since 2001, earning numerous five-star reviews from our customers. As well as offering a 24-hour towing (two trucks), we can service and repair most types of vehicles and are committed to providing the best possible work at a competitive price. For regular enquiries, you can email or call (07) 3425 1503.

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