Signs That You Car’s Alternator May be Failing

The alternator is one of the major systems used to supply power to the electrical components of your vehicle. Along with the battery and voltage regulator, the alternator provides power to your lights, dashboard instruments, and many other electrical systems. If your car is having trouble starting, here are some of the signs that your alternator may be failing:

Bearing Failure

Inside your alternator, there is an electromagnet called a rotor. As the engine runs, it supplies power to the rotor, which causes the rotor to spin. Inside the rotor housing are needle bearings that allow the rotor to spin freely. If the bearings fail, the rotor will seize up and fail to turn smoothly. When you attempt to turn on your car, you will hear a loud grinding noise. You may also notice that your car battery has no charge.

Low Voltmeter Reading

To generate an electrical current, your alternator is equipped with three stator windings, or wire coils. If one or more of these stator windings fails, your alternator will put out a lower voltage of electricity. In order to check and see if your stator windings are out, you can attach a voltmeter to the battery and perform a load test. If the voltage readout is less than 12, this is a sign that you have a problem with your alternator.

Dim Lights

When your alternator begins to fail, it will no longer supply the power that charges the battery. As you drive, you may notice that your headlights are dim, or that it is difficult to start your engine. In addition, the battery service light on your dashboard may come on. At the first indication that your vehicle is low on power, you should visit your mechanic for repairs. 

If you are experiencing problems with your alternator, schedule an auto repair appointment with Casey Automotive. We have convenient auto repair locations in Streamwood, Arlington Heights, and Palatine, and our expert mechanics will provide you with top of the line service. To make an appointment, call (847) 934-6602 or contact us online.

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