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Austin Auto Repair

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What Are the Signs of a Bad Alternator?

The alternator makes up your vehicle’s electrical charging system. It is responsible for charging your car battery as well as powering many accessories. When your alternator gives out, your car will eventually die and stay dead until it gets fixed. The good news is that you can sometimes tell when the alternator is about to die. 

When your battery is dead or not working like it used to, please do not skip the step of looking at your alternator. If the alternator is the culprit, your vehicle will not be able to provide the spark plugs with enough power to start your engine and keep it running. Below are all the signs that indicate your alternator is at the fault of your starting problems:

Dashboard Warning Light On

Some cars have an ALT or GEN light that comes on when the alternator is faulty. In other cars, it may simply be the light that looks like a battery. Either way, please bring your car to our auto repair shop to have your dashboard warning light diagnosed. 

Stalling Engine

A dead battery may leave your vehicle stranded. But, a dying alternator may give subtle hints before your battery completely drains out. For instance, your vehicle may be able to start but immediately shut down soon after. This is a clear sign that it could be your alternator’s fault.

Dim or Malfunctioning Headlights

Are your headlights going dim when you drive? Do they go even dimmer as you accelerate? This could be a sign that your alternator is failing.

Power Accessories Malfunctioning

If any of your power accessories, including the power windows, power seating, wipers, or moonroof/sunroof, aren’t working properly, please be sure to have your alternator checked out.

An Unusual Smell

A malfunctioning alternator may smell strange when it is working overtime and on the brink of giving out.

Whining Sounds

Last but not least, the alternator’s nearby belt may let out a growl or whining sound right before it gives out. If this were the case, please bring your car to our auto service shop soon.

These are some of the most common signs that indicate your vehicle is due for alternator repairs. Some of them may be easy to brush off and ignore, but it can bite you back in the long run. To avoid being stranded, please bring your vehicle to Gordon Automotive for all your automotive needs, including alternator repairs. We are proud to be Austin’s #1 auto repair shop.