How To Tell When Your Alternator Is Failing

If your car does not start, then you may understand that an electrical problem is likely. However, there are several electrical system parts that can suddenly stop working and it can be hard to figure out which one is in a state of disrepair. Often, the alternator is to blame, and there are some distinct signs that the part has failed. Keep reading to understand what the alternator is and how you can tell that it is broken.

What Is An Alternator?

The alternator is an essential part of your car's electrical system that ensures your car is getting more than enough power. It works directly with the battery to give your engine the boost of power it needs to start. It also supports the regulation of electrical current to lights, your radio, and other electrical components. 

The alternator is actually an electromagnet that is powered through crankshaft mechanisms. In essence, the alternator takes the electrical energy from the battery and amplifies it. It also stores the energy and helps to keep the battery charged while it is not in use. 

Without an alternator, energy would constantly be pulled away from your battery, and it would die fairly quickly. Also, there would not be nearly enough energy to actually run your engine from a cold start. Since the alternator allows energy to move to the starter, the starter will not engage if the alternator is not working properly. 

Signs Of Alternator Failure

The alternator is essentially the middle part of the electrical system that sits between the battery and the other electrical components. For this reason, it can be hard to tell if this part has failed, since the electrical system will usually stop working as a whole. Due to this failure, individuals often think their batteries are dead and simply change them expecting this to fix the problem.

Dead batteries are a sign or alternator failure. Also, you will often notice that your car experiences intermittent electrical failures. This can happen while you are driving, and you may notice your radio and dash lights going it. This is a scary and dangerous experience and requires immediate mechanical expertise.

You may also notice that your starter has a difficult time engaging and starting your engine.

Sometimes the alternator will make grinding or whirring sounds when it starts to fail. Since the part has a number of moving components, this happens as the broken pieces still try to function. Sounds are relatively easy to hear since the alternator sits on top of the engine compartment. 

If you want to know more about alternators and how you can tell if one is broken, speak with your auto repair services professionals.