The alternator is one of the most critical components of your vehicle. It supplies electrical power while the engine is running, and it also maintains the charge in the battery. If it fails, then there is a high chance that the rest of your vehicle will begin to malfunction soon after.
Stores that sell auto parts in Apopka, FL, advise motorists to monitor their alternators carefully. Knowing the signs of impending failure can reduce the likelihood of a breakdown or a roadside emergency. Here are some of the most common alternator problems and how you can identify them.
Signs of a Failing Alternator
The most common problem affecting most of these components is wear and tear. An automotive engine and the systems that are connected to it are home to many moving parts, so it’s only natural that friction and heat will eventually cause components to degrade over time. The alternator is no different.
One of the first indicators of failure is a persistent whirring noise. This is caused by the fan belt wearing down on the unit’s bearings. When the bearings fail, then the alternator has no means of generating electricity. In these instances, you are better off replacing the entire alternator unit instead of a part.
Also, keep your eyes on your vehicle’s dashboard. All too often, an alternator can fail due to overcharging. The voltmeter on your dash shouldn’t have a high reading while you are driving–it should settle down shortly after starting up. An overcharged alternator might also indicate that other auto parts, like the battery or regulator, might be on their way out.
If you notice any of these signs while driving, then it is better to have a trusted mechanic inspect your vehicle. Addressing mechanical problems before they escalate can save you a lot of time, money, and energy.