When in college, I was driving back late one night and noticed my headlights were getting progressively dimmer. About ten minutes later, my cd player quit, and not two minutes later, I lost all power. The culprit? My alternator.
It takes a lot of battery power to start – and keep – your car running. The alternator is what recycles the power your car battery uses while driving. It provides power to operate the starter, ignition and all of the electronic accessories in your car. And when it malfunctions or stops working, it can mean the inconvenience of a break down and expensive repairs. Here are 3 warning signs your alternator could be going bad.
Three Alternator Warning Signs
1. Warning light
Luckily, most modern cars now have an indicator to let you know the alternator is having problems. It is generally dependant on how much life it has left, and how much electricity your vehicle is using.
2. Dim lights
As I mentioned above, this was my first warning sign. While my headlights had been dimming over a period of days, I didn’t really notice it until they got extremely dim. If you notice yours dimming, don’t wait as long as I did. Once the dash lights or headlights dim, it is a clear indication of potential alternator malfunction. Additionally, you may notice other electronic accessories such as your power windows and/or power seats operating more slowly than usual.
3. A Weak or dead battery
We all know that a car battery will not last forever. And as good as an alternator is at replenishing your car battery, it can only recharge it to the point that it able to accept a charge. If your battery is very weak or dead, the alternator cannot bring it back to life. So how do you tell if you have a weak battery or an alternator issue? Simply charge the battery and restart the vehicle. If it is your battery, the car will continue to run, but your lights will become dim after a short time. If the vehicle has difficulty starting after the battery is fully charged, then your problem likely is with the alternator.
A vehicle’s alternator has lots of internal parts, and it also works along with other components such as belts. Therefore, any issues could be caused by several different things. So instead of assuming you need to replace the entire thing, bring your car to a mechanic like those at Central Avenue Nissan, to have it properly diagnosed. They will get you back on the road safely and with confidence.