Is My Alternator Bad?

Is My Alternator Bad?

In the Sterling, VA, area, our vehicles spend a lot of time commuting the Northern Virginia roads. Often, drivers will find themselves with what appears to be a dead battery and opt for a jumpstart. Sometimes, those drivers come to find out it wasn’t the battery that was dead; it was the alternator. In this informative piece, we will cover what an alternator is and the signs of one failing.

What is the difference between a battery and an alternator? 

A battery is a device that stores electrical energy in the form of chemical energy and converts that energy into electricity. While you can’t precisely save energy by catching it, you can store electrical power inside the chemicals found inside a battery

While the battery is the initial power source for starting a vehicle, it takes the alternator’s electrical current to keep it running. An engine-driven component, the alternator charges the battery while the engine is running and powers the vehicle’s electrical system.

Warning Signs for a Failing Alternator

Dashboard Warning Lights – The warning lights should always have attention paid to them as they are usually the first sign of a problem. There is a light in some vehicles that says “ALT,” and others may only have the battery light. When either of these lights illuminates, it is time to get your vehicle into a shop for an inspection. 

Lighting is Odd – When an alternator is overcharging, it can cause the vehicle’s exterior lights to be too bright. An overcharging system can also cause lights to burn out faster than they usually would. Alternately, if the alternator is undercharging, it can cause those lights to be dim. 

Electrical Issues –  As the primary source providing electricity to various components, electrical issues can happen when it isn’t functioning correctly. That is especially true for most modern vehicles. 

Dead or Discharged Battery – Since the alternator charges the battery while it supplies electricity to the rest of the vehicle, it cannot efficiently charge the battery when it starts to go bad. 

The Vehicle Stalls Out – Systems like the ignition or fuel injection cannot function without a proper charging system. As a result of a poor alternator, the vehicle will stall out while driving. 

Noise Comes from the Alternator – If the alternator’s bearings have gone south, it could create a grinding or whining sound. At the first sign of any unusual engine sounds, bring the vehicle into Casey’s in Sterling, VA, for an inspection right away. 

Alternator Repair and Replacement at Casey’s Automotive in Sterling, Virginia

When it comes to alternator repair or replacement, you want an automotive repair shop you can trust. At Casey’s Automotive, our team of certified technicians has the know-how to diagnose and repair your vehicle efficiently. If your car, truck, Jeep, SUV, or van shows any of the warning signs listed above, contact our team to book an inspection!