Functioning of an Alternator

You might think that all the electronics in your car are being powered by the battery, while that is partly correct, in reality, it is the alternator that is catering to all of the car’s electronic equipment like the power windows, radio, lights, etc. and also charges the car’s battery while you are driving, or even idling. The alternator works by converting kinetic energy to electrical energy. Whenever we start our car the engine powers a belt connected to the alternator via a pulley system. The movement of this belt generates DC power which is converted to an Alternating Current and powers the car’s electronics.

Faulty alternator might be the reason of car battery draining
Car alternator/signs of failing alternator

Alternators generally last a pretty long time, but some wear and tear like overheating, broken wires can cause it to break down. To get the best deals on your next alternator, click here.

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GoMechanic Spares/signs of failing alternator

Here are 5 signs of a Failing Alternator-

  • Dead Battery

The battery is essentially charged through the alternator, so a dead battery may mean that the alternator has stopped working. To confirm this, try jumpstarting your car, if it starts up and then stops again after some time it means that the alternator has stopped working.

  • Fluctuating Lights

If the lights of your car start to go overly dim or even overly bright, it might mean that the alternator isn’t functioning properly. This fluctuation of lights might happen because the alternator is not being able to send in continuous power.

  • Problem starting or frequent Stalling

If you hear a series of clicks while trying to start your car, or if your car dies shortly after starting it means that the alternator is not providing sufficient and regular power to the spark plugs. This happens also because the alternator is not being able to charge the battery properly.

  • A Shrill noise from under the hood

We often hear a shrill whining noise from under the hood of our cars. This might be the sound of the belt of the alternator misaligning and rubbing with any other parts in its vicinity.

  • Battery warning light on the dashboard

The battery warning light coming on might be a sign of a malfunctioning alternator. Alternators are designed to provide a specific voltage. If the alternator is failing, the voltage will drop below the required levels and a battery warning light will come up on your dashboard. The battery light will also come up if in case the voltage supply is more than the required range of 13-14.5 Volts.

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