As your car gets older, the alternator is one of the parts that could need to be replaced. If this vital piece of equipment breaks down completely then you could end up stranded when you are in a hurry.Therefore, it makes sense to keep your eyes open and look out for these common signs of a failing alternator. The sooner you spot them then the better your chances are of safely replacing the damaged part without any hassles at all.
Dashboard Indicator Lights
If you are lucky then you will get an early warning that there are alternator problems ahead thanks to a warning light appearing on your dashboard. This will probably take the form of the letters ALT or GEN appearing on your dashboard in lights.
This makes it easier to get to the root of any of the following signs, as some of them are issues that could also be caused by other problems. Of course, not everyone knows how to interpret the signs on their dashboard, meaning that they sometimes don’t take this clue into account when trying to work out what is going wrong.
Keep a close eye on your dashboard and you are far more likely to notice issues like this quickly and be able to do something about them. If you see a warning sign here and aren’t sure what it means then it is a good idea to check the manual or look for the information online as soon as you can.
A Dead Battery
There are a few possible reasons why a battery could show no signs of life. Among them, is a failure in the alternator, making this one of the first things worth checking if you have a dead battery.
Alternatively, it might be showing as being low on power with no apparent reason for this. If you can catch this issue in time and get a new alternator then this could save you the hassle of having the battery die on you.
This is definitely one of the first things that should cross your mind when your battery is dead, although there are some other quick checks you can carry out on the likes of the connections and the terminals.
Weak or Flickering Headlights
If you notice a problem with your headlights then you might automatically assume that it is something that it is being caused by an issue with the bulbs. Yet, this is something that can often be traced back to a failing alternator.
This part of the vehicle needs to be in good condition for the lights to work well and shine out a powerful beam. If you haven’t switched on your lights for a while then it is worth checking them out before you need them, as you certainly don’t want to risk driving at night with little or no lights.
In fact, it is always a smart move to check if your lights working on a regular basis, especially if you don’t often drive in the dark.
Electrical Accessories Not Working
Another problem that you might not initially link to your alternator is when the electrical accessories in the car stop working. There are a few different parts of the vehicle that rely upon the alternator working well.
Some of the things that could start to fail in this case are the radio and the power windows. If you notice that they aren’t working then this is one of the first areas that you should look into.
It isn’t the only possible reason for an electrical failure but it is an issue that commonly leads to this problem.
A Stalled Engine
If the car stalls then this is something else that can often be traced back to the alternator. The likes of BMW, Audi and Ford alternators tend to have a long life but if they start to fail then it could become obvious through a stalled engine.
This is one of the most dangerous problems that could result from alternator troubles, so you will want to look into this before you set off. You certainly don’t want your engine to stall when you are far from home.
Given that there are a number of different car problems that can stem from a failing alternator, this is a part of the vehicle that should definitely be taken into account when trouble-shooting and looking for the reason why it isn’t working perfectly.
If this turns out to be the reason for the problems then replacing it should be too big an issue or very expensive either.