5 Symptoms Of A Bad Failing Alternator

Alternator does charge the battery and provide power to other electrical systems when the engine is in running condition.

It consumes lot of battery power to get and to keep your vehicle running all the time. Battery power doesn’t long last, alternator’s current provide power to car accessories and all the electrical system.

When the alternator stops working or malfunctions, there would be a break down or expensive repairs. We have discussed here 5 symptoms of a bad alternator so you could find out the alternator problems.

You should take immediate actions to get it repaired or get it replaced if necessary. Following signs of a bad alternator would help you to take actions immediately before alternator gets totally damaged.

1. Very Dim Or Very Bright Lights

The alternator is the main part of the entire electrical system of your vehicle and its main role to provide power energy to ignition, starter and all other electronic accessories that run on an electrical system.

Alternator electricity is piped through large and big cables with smaller wires. If there would be any issues within the wires, its cables or the connections at any side, it will stop or reduce electricity from getting through.

Sometimes as a symptom your car’s headlight will produce brighter lights as alternator provide more energy to overcome the resistance in a bad wire or loose connection.​

Since, the alternator supplies the car’s electrical needs, when alternator lose its potential, it starts producing low energy and you may begin to experience dim headlights, dash lights, speedometer and tachometers.

It is sort of a clear warning of possible alternator malfunction. You may also start experiencing in power windows, power seats that it operates slower than usual.​

​If your battery is fully charged and if still your indicator showing that it is not charged, it might be indicating that there are some issues with the alternator, and you should get it repaired at the earliest.

2. Sound, Sight and Smell

These are the easy detectable symptoms that a driver could notice easily.​

  • Sound

​Driver sometimes complaints about hearing “whining” or “growling” sound before an alternator gives out.

The alternator is ran by an accessory belt or a serpentine belt in conjunction with the crankshaft pulley and if the pulley is not in the correct alignment with the belt and if the bushing and bearing are worn out, whining or growling noise will let you know that there is some issues with the alternator.

  • Sight

Alternator is constructed and run by the belt, if it has been loosen, flapping around the engine or hanging off the engine compartment.

It can be the sign of alternator failure in the future. So you should have a quick check of these issues and if you will find any of these, you should get it repaired.​

  • Smell

​Hot wires or burning rubber are the signs of failing alternator. If the pulley is not aligned properly or not twisting freely will lead more friction on the belt which produces more heat and it results smell of burning rubber.

3. Dead Battery​

Dead battery is not technically issue because of an alternator. If your car doesn’t start properly that means there is something happening in starting system.

You have probably notice an informer clicking of relays ticking when you turn your key. Even after sometimes, if you will not be able to hear that voice, it may your battery dead.​

The reason of dead battery is when the alternator starts failing, the vehicle’s battery starts to take up the drooping rather than doing job as a capacitor for the system.

So it is very necessary to get your car checked by testing a battery with a voltmeter. You may visit any auto stores to get your battery checked.​

4. Warning Light

In the last decade, car manufacturers have started to design car with a warning lights, which indicates alternator issues.

Usually, light indicator is looking like a battery, still some show “ALT” or “GEN” that means alternator or generator. When the light goes ON, many people think that they have battery problem but that doesn’t mean like that.​

That light is linked to the vehicle’s computer system that monitoring the voltage output of the alternator. If the alternator’s output goes above or below then their pre-set limit, dash light get ON.

Thus, it can prevent your alternator and other electric system from damaging. As soon as dash board’s light warn, you should get it repaired at the earliest.​

If you are using more than one electrical component, the lights will only trigger then. It is usually contingent that how long the life your vehicle’s alternator has left and what is the amount of the electricity your car is using.

5. Difficult Starting Or Car Stalls

Your car doesn’t run only on gasoline, it also requires electricity even if it is not a hybrid vehicle. Main job of alternator to provide energy to the spark plug that ignites the fuel in your car engine.

If alternator is stopped working fine, there would not be sufficient power in the plugs that keep the engine running, it may lead to stall the car without reason while your car is moving.​

If you will avoid this symptom, your vehicle will not start eventually at all. And gradually, it will completely destroy your alternator and you will not have any other option except replacing it.


This is how a failing alternator will kill a life of a battery and will ruin your day. Alternator has moving parts and it get dirty and are subject to stress from cold and heat.

You should also learn the maintenance of the alternator that keeps it last longer and you would probably not get the above symptoms.​

After knowing the symptoms of a bad alternator, you will have to be serious about the alternator problems. Otherwise, it may destroy your entire alternator.

Thus, you could find out the symptoms of a bad alternator. You should always take above all symptoms seriously otherwise it would lead to the total damage of an alternator and you would not have any other option except buying a new alternator.​

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.