Fort Collins Auto Repair

Do I Have A Faulty Alternator?

An alternator is a generator that's responsible for charging a vehicle's battery and activating power to the engine. A series of components are involved in the process which includes the stator and rotator, diodes, voltage regulator, and cooling fan. Here are some tips on how you can tell when your alternator is faulty.


Electrical Failures - Dimming headlights and lights switching on randomly on the dashboard. Electronically powered processes such as turning on window wipers, moving windows up and down, and changing seat position, might become affected.


Battery Light On - When the alternator is losing power, the battery light might switch on, showing on your On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) and appearing on your dashboard.


Weak Battery - Batteries don't have a long life. If it's starting to fail, the alternator won't be able to charge it. By jump-starting your vehicle and removing the jump leads quickly, you'll be able to test if the alternator is causing the problem. If the car doesn't gain power, then the root of the problem is likely down to a faulty alternator.


Smell of Burnt Rubber - The alternator is powered by belts, and if they aren't moving freely, the friction causes heat to build up and a burning smell may be produced. The issue should be easily fixed by tightening the belt, but if it doesn't that could be a sign that your alternator is dying. A technician should be able to point out if this is where the problem lies.


Grinding sound - All of the components involved turn to generate the power to make the alternator work. If any of them aren't operating properly, a grinding sound may result.


If you have reason to believe your alternator is failing, and no warning light shows, open the bonnet and check the belt on the vehicle's alternator. If it looks slightly burnt, this could be a sign that the alternator is slipping from the belt. This slip causes friction, causing the belt the become worn. If you tightener the tensioner, the issue should be fixed. But make sure not to tighten it too much to ensure that you prevent any further damage done to the alternator.


If you don’t feel comfortable under the hood - feel free to bring your vehicle to ASR Automotive for an alternator repair or replacement today! 


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