Your day gets off to a bad start when you're ready to head to work, but your car won't start. There are several reasons your car may not start, and one of those is a problem with the alternator. The alternator keeps your battery charged, and if the battery goes dead, your car won't start. All you hear when you turn or press the ignition is a clicking sound. Here are signs your car's alternator is going bad and how a mechanic can fix the problem.
Signs The Alternator In Your Car Is Bad
When the alternator is bad and causes your battery to die, your engine won't struggle to turn on. An engine that tries to start but can't get going is usually a sign of another problem. When the engine doesn't turn over at all, the problem is usually the battery or alternator. If the interior lights of your car don't come on either, then you know the problem is a dead battery. However, the cause of the dead battery could be the bad alternator. You can jump a car with a bad alternator and battery to get to a car repair shop, but if the alternator is bad, it won't charge the battery as you drive like it's supposed to.
Another sign of a bad alternator is flickering headlights. The car radio and power windows might have intermittent problems as well. You could hear odd noises coming from the engine or detect a burning odor when the alternator is bad.
Car Repairs That Might Be Needed
When your car has trouble related to the electrical system, the mechanic will probably check the electrical output of the battery and alternator and check the condition of the belt that keeps the alternator running. This pinpoints the exact cause of the problem. When the alternator is bad, the mechanic will probably replace it. In some cases, repairs might be possible depending on the cause of the problem, but when the alternator is bad, it usually has to be rebuilt or replaced. Replacing the alternator on your car is a matter of disconnecting the battery, serpentine belt, and electrical connections. The old alternator is pulled out and a new one put back in.
When you notice signs of electrical problems with your car such as your headlights seem dimmer than usual, have a mechanic check your alternator so you can catch problems before your car won't start. Also, if you try to start your car and discover the battery is dead, you may want to have the alternator checked before you invest in a new battery because the problem might not be with the battery, but rather the alternator's inability to keep it charged.