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Signs of a Bad Alternator

Bad alternators are brought about by several different factors and can have negative repercussions on your vehicle.

The best way to determine whether or not you have a problem with your alternator is to be able to recognize the signs of a bad alternator.

Here are common signs of a malfunctioning alternator.

Trouble Starting the Car

If you've noticed that your car has been having trouble starting lately, it could be due to an issue with the alternator.

Your battery is charged by the alternator, which sends power from your engine directly to the battery.

When this power gets interrupted for any reason, it results in problems for your car's starting system.

Diminished Power While Driving

Diminished power while driving is one major sign that you are experiencing issues with your car's charging system.

If your headlights seem dimmer than usual, or if the transmission seems not to respond quite right when shifting gears, these are all signs that could point to an issue with the alternator and charging system.

Warning lights on the dashboard

Many newer vehicles have several warning lights in their instrument panels that come on when there are problems with various parts of the vehicle.

One of those lights is often an indicator of issues with the alternator. If your dash is blinking at you, check the engine right away to make sure it's not overheating.

Unpleasant Smells

The smell is a powerful sense, so it's not surprising that some alternators can give off an odor.

What you're smelling might be electrical voltage arcing or the burning of insulation due to too much current running through the alternator.

In both cases, the smell indicates a problem that could lead to more serious issues in the future.

Typical smelly alternators are caused by the chemical reaction of high voltage with an exposed surface.

This reaction happens relatively quickly and smells like rotten eggs. The odor will get stronger as voltage increases and may cause a burning sensation in your nose and throat.

Alternators can also emit foul smells from internal failure and corrosion. The odor might resemble burnt rubber or plastic at start-up or during use when excessive load is placed on the alternator.

Ultimately, it is a sign of a bad alternator.

Bottom Line

We hope this article proves to be helpful to you. A healthy alternator is crucial as it plays a critical role in your vehicle's day-to-day functionality and operation.

That's why you must do regular maintenance on your alternator and do regular maintenance from time to time so that you can identify defects before worsening.


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