The common signs of a bad automotive alternator include a weak battery, dimmed headlights, an odd or burning smell and a whining or grinding noise coming from the front of the vehicle. Alternators are electromechanical devices that power the electrical requirements of the vehicle and charge automotive batteries while the engine is in operation.
Alternator failures can be classified as electrical or mechanical in nature. Electronic components, such as the voltage regulator and rectifier, over or under supply the required voltage output to the mechanical parts of the alternator, and in some cases cause electrical failures. An electrical breakdown usually produces an odd burning smell and prompts the charge lamp on the vehicle's dashboard to warn drivers. Other common electrical failures include burnt copper windings, loose terminal connections, broken slip rings and depleted carbon brushes.
Since alternators are powered by automotive engines via fan belts connected to crankshafts, rotor bearing failures may arise from under- or over-tensioned fan belts. The rotor bearings can overheat and eventually fail. This type of mechanical failure commonly produces a whining or grinding sound.
Other common mechanical failures include broken mounting studs and broken casings. Mounting studs are susceptible to slight movement due to vibrations, and out of position mountings cause low power output and put stress on rotor bearings that lead to potential damage.Learn More
The most common signs of a bad car battery include the vehicle backfiring, dimming of headlights while driving, problems with electrical systems in the car and the vehicle not starting. These issues arise at any time. It is important to monitor the lifespan of a battery and ensure that connections are not corroded during that period.Full Answer >
There are two simple tests you can perform to determine if your car's alternator is going bad: a headlight test and a battery test. Once you have narrowed down the issue with these tests, you can perform electrical tests on the alternator itself to determine for sure whether it is malfunctioning. Telling whether a car's alternator is going bad is a little tricky. Specifically, it is difficult to distinguish between problems with the alternator and problems with the battery; these problems manifest with similar symptoms, since a broken alternator always leads to a dead battery.Full Answer >
The most common signs that a transmission is slipping include the revolutions-per-minute gauge being above 3,500, the car taking too long to coast or a delay in acceleration. Common causes of a transmission slip range from poor cleanup to defective parts.Full Answer >
A 4x4 actuator is a mechanism that engages the front differential to put the vehicle into four-wheel drive. A 4X4 actuator is an electric component as opposed to a manual lever used to engage the front axle of the vehicle.Full Answer >