Q:

How do you know if your car needs a new alternator?

A:

Some of the most common signs of a car needing a new alternator include dim lights on the dashboard or the car's exterior, as well as an illuminated alternator light on the dashboard. Other common symptoms and signs of alternator troubles include a dead or weak battery along with noticeable sounds, such as a whining noise, coming from underneath the hood.

The alternator and battery in a car work in tandem to deliver an adequate amount of power to start the car and keep it running. Symptoms of a faulty or bad battery starter or alternator can initially be similar, such as a car not starting, taking longer to start than usual or dimming lights. However, there are key differences that can help to signal an issue with the alternator, such as the power windows moving more slowly than normal or the interior lights shutting off after having come on for a short time after starting the car.

A useful way to check that the issue is with the alternator, rather than the battery, is to try unplugging the car's positive battery connection. If the vehicle stops, the issue is likely with the alternator. Another option is to test the interior and exterior lights, both of which will come on as brightly as usual and then begin to fade.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    How can you tell if your alternator is bad?

    A:

    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.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    What are the symptoms of a bad car battery?

    A:

    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 >
  • Q:

    How can I tell if my car transmission is slipping?

    A:

    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 >
  • Q:

    What do you do if your car squeals after replacing the alternator?

    A:

    If a car makes a squealing noise after the alternator has been replaced, it often needs the serpentine belt or belt tensioner replaced. Continuing to drive the car without repairing the problem often causes early failure of the replacement alternator due to a perpetually undercharged battery. Drivers should have a technician check both parts and replace what is necessary to correct the squeal.

    Full Answer >

Explore