When should you think about changing the alternator in your car?

The alternator is the part that allows your vehicle to function properly since, in addition to supplying the essential current to the electrical elements when the car is running, it also recharges the battery. Its role is therefore essential, which is why a failure can cause many problems for the vehicle. The question is, what kind of problems can a faulty alternator cause you and how can you detect the symptoms of a possible malfunction?

Possible breakdowns

The car alternator is the part that supplies your vehicle with electricity while driving through a coil and a belt. Despite the fact that it is a rather solid element, it is however a wearing part because of the belt. Thus, when the alternator fails or malfunctions, several failures related to the starting and operation of the vehicle may occur :

– Dashboard, high beam and other electrical equipment warning lights show signs of fatigue or do not come on.

– Difficult starting because the battery is too weak, without the recharging provided by the alternator.

– The oil sight glass flashes regularly due to a broken belt.

For some breakdowns, simply replacing the carbon brushes or the belt may be enough to repair the car, but if other warning lights (battery charge, oil level light…) come on irregularly, the alternator will have to be changed to remedy the problem.

What are the signs of anomalies?

An alternator failure can cause your vehicle to come to an immediate stop, which can create a lot of inconvenience, especially if you are on the road. In order to avoid possible problems, it is important to know the symptoms indicating a failure :

– The battery or alternator warning light comes on (for models that have it).

– The lights are low-brightness

– Electrical systems are too slow or stop working: speedometer, heated seats…

– Battery is low or worn out

– Strange smells and noises from the engine: squeaking, burnt rubber…

What are the solutions to solve the problems?

Since it is essential to detect the source of a fault before proceeding with a repair, it is necessary to test the alternator at a garage. After diagnosis, he will be able to tell you whether it is essential to change the alternator or simply to replace certain defective parts.

As far as old cars are concerned, warning signs indicating problems with the alternator can be difficult to notice so if you have problems with the battery, the lights on the dashboard or you notice strange noises and smells, it is better to switch off the engine directly and then consult a garage to avoid further damage.

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