What Does An Alternator Do?
The alternator is a small generator that helps maintain the battery’s health. It provides power to your vehicle while the vehicle is running and recharges your battery when the engine is off. The alternator powers your car’s electrical components, including the headlights, air conditioning, and more. You may be wondering how the alternator receives power itself. A system of belts spins the alternator pulley and turns the rotor within the alternator. This spinning rotor creates a current that is fed to the battery by a cable.
Signs That You Need Alternator Repair
There are a few ways to tell when you need alternator repair.
- You Hear a Whirling or Grinding Sound. This could be due to the bearings inside the alternator becoming loose or worn out.
- You Smell Burning Rubber. This can indicate that the belts within the alternator are wearing out. The alternator’s drive belt is constantly under tension, so this is a common repair.
- Dim or Surging Headlights. The alternator’s job is to provide a steady stream of power to the electrical components of your car. A failing alternator will provide an inconsistent voltage, which can cause your headlights to be too dim or even surge as the power fluctuates.
- Dead Battery. A dead battery does not always indicate that your alternator needs repair. Sometimes your battery will reach the end of its lifespan. There are times, however, when a dead battery could result from a bad alternator. A failing alternator cannot charge the battery while the engine is running. This can cause your battery to die faster than usual.
- Accessories or Dashboard Features Malfunction. You may notice that your windows take longer to roll up or that your dashboard lights occasionally flicker. An alternator that fails to provide enough power to your car’s electronics can make them malfunction or act slower than usual.
- Trouble Starting Your Vehicle. Your vehicle needs a certain amount of power to start. A bad alternator won’t be able to recharge your battery. If this is the case, you may hear a clicking sound as you try to turn over your car’s ignition.
Schedule Alternator Repair or Replacement with McCullough NAPA Auto Care
If your car’s electrical system is not as strong as it once was, it may be time for alternator repair or replacement. The ASE-Certified technicians at McCullough NAPA can diagnose your car’s electrical system to determine whether you need to repair your battery, alternator, or both.