You’ve probably noticed a bunch of warning lights on your dash when you start your engine. They flash to test the circuits and then go off if everything’s OK. One of the warning lights looks like a car battery and its job is to warn you when your battery is not charging properly.
Your battery stores electricity – enough to start your engine and get you moving, but you can only get a few miles on battery power alone. You need an alternator to generate enough electricity to run your engine and power your electrical accessories like the stereo, power seats, heater fan, on-board computers, and so on. On top of that, the alternator needs to recharge your battery. So, when your alternator isn’t working properly, there isn’t enough electricity for all those things. When your alternator fails, you aren’t going very far.
Like many components of your vehicle, the alternator has moving parts, which tend to get dirty. The alternator can also start to fail as a result of stress from extreme heat or cold. Thus, the alternator can wear out. Sometimes you know when the alternator is failing because the radio begins to cut out, the dash lights start to dim, the headlights stop shining brightly, and the engine may die. One of the most common sources of an alternator going bad is bearing failure. Alternator bearing failure is often characterized by a loud grinding noise.
Once you start hearing this noise, it is only a matter of time before your alternator fails. There’s no sense in hobbling along with an alternator that’s not working properly. It will fail at some point and leave you stranded. If you start to notice an issue, make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you.
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Old Town Automotive <br/>707.442.4556 <br/>oldtownauto.com
Revised from content contributed by NAPA Service Assistant