Carl's Cool Cars Blog

Beyond the Warning Light: Three Signs That An Alternator Repair or Rebuild Might Be Needed

Is it time for alternator repair? While a warning light is an obvious indicator is issues, there are many situations in which the warning light doesn't appear until the problem is extremely serious. You might think that you wouldn't know the other signs of alternator trouble unless you have an automotive background -- however, there are several signs that anyone can watch out for. Here are three clear signs that alternator repair or alternator rebuild may be needed soon. If you spot any of these problem signs, it's best to see an auto industry professional as soon as possible for assistance.

The Lights Are Starting to Dim

Are the lights starting to dim? In many cases, this is an indicator of problems with the alternator. The alternator is a component of your car's electrical system -- it supplies the power for critical components of the vehicle like the starter. If you notice the headlights growing weaker, it's one of the most obvious indicators of a faulty alternator. In many cases, this dimming can happen alongside a dimming of the dashboard lights. Whilst dimmer lights might not seem like a serious problem initially, they can grow worse and worse quite quickly when your alternator is faulty. It's best to have the alternator repaired or replaced before you're left with no light at all while on the motorway. 

The Power Windows Aren't Quite so Powerful

Because the alternator is so crucial for all of your car's electrical components, it's possible that the power windows will start moving more slowly. At first, you might think you're imagining it, but in fairly short order the windows might slow to a crawl. Eventually, the windows may stop responding at all. Whilst you might think that you can live with slowly-moving windows, this problem will only worsen until the alternator stops working entirely. As soon as you notice the windows slowing, seek alternator repair.

There Are Odd Odours Occur Whilst Driving

The alternator works together with a belt system within your vehicle. If there's a problem with the alternator belts, for example, if a belt starts to slide off the alternator pulley, the heat caused by friction can produce a distinct odour. Many people liken the odour to that of an electric fire, although a burned rubber smell can also occur if the belt isn't properly mounted. This type of issue may be strictly confined to the belts. However, the alternator itself won't function properly without its belt system. Therefore, you need to seek alternator repair or alternator rebuild before it becomes serious enough to require an alternator replacement.

Have you noticed any of these three signs of alternator problems? Take it seriously and get the problem resolved promptly -- it might just save you a costly alternator replacement in the future! Contact a mechanic shop that does alternator rebuilds for more information and assistance.