November 26, 2022
Don’t Mistake Alternator Failure for a Dead Battery!
When you hear rapid clicks when turning the key to fire up your car’s engine, which doesn’t start, don’t assume right away that your battery’s dead. You’ll want to check your alternator. Assuming that your battery is dead when it’s your alternator that’s failing can be costly. It’s because a faulty alternator could kill a brand-new battery.
What Is an Alternator?
Your vehicle’s charging system consists of a voltage regulator, battery, and alternator. The alternator uses an alternating current to convert mechanical energy to electrical energy. While your car battery is vital for starting your vehicle, your alternator keeps the battery alive when the engine is running.
Whether driving around or idling, your alternator powers your vehicle’s electronic components, including your electric steering, headlights, windshield wipers, power windows, dashboard instruments, heated seats, and radio. Additionally, it charges your car battery while you’re on the road.
Signs Your Alternator Is Failing
You have alternator issues if your engine doesn’t start or stops running after a few minutes. However, before this happens, you’ll encounter one or more of the following warning signs of a bad alternator:
- Engine stalling
A dying alternator that works in fits and starts won’t have what it takes to keep the battery charged even with the engine running. If the battery isn’t consistently charged, the fuel injectors won’t get enough electricity to fire, causing the engine to stall.
- Dead battery
A car battery might die if you accidentally leave the headlights on all night or if the battery reaches the end of its life after years of use. However, a dead battery may also result from a malfunctioning alternator. Since a bad alternator doesn’t sufficiently charge the car battery while the engine is running, the charge depletes faster than usual, and the battery dies.
Jumpstarting your car allows you to determine whether the problem is related to the battery or the alternator. If your car stays running after you jumpstart it, you’ll need to replace your battery soon. However, if your car dies shortly after you jumpstart it, the problem likely stems from a faulty alternator.
- Strange noises
An alternator gets its mechanical energy from the engine through a serpentine belt. A misaligned or excessively worn serpentine belt produces strange squeaking sounds from under the hood.
When the bearings inside the alternator become pitted and worn over time, they produce a humming sound. You’ll likely hear rattles from the engine as these internal bearings degrade further and further. Before your alternator gives out, growling and whining noises will clue you in.
- Dim or extremely bright lights
A failing alternator doesn’t give consistent voltage to your car’s electronic accessories. This situation typically involves equipment that either underperforms or overperforms, including dim or overly bright headlights.
- Slow or non-working accessories
Slow or malfunctioning accessories may also result from an alternator that isn’t giving enough power to your vehicle’s electronics. Consequently, your seat warmers won’t feel right, your windows will take longer to roll up or down, and other instruments will start to go haywire.
If you’ve noticed any of the symptoms, you’ll want to seek professional assistance immediately. Otherwise, you’ll risk getting stranded when your alternator fails.
You Can Use Your Unwanted Car to Help Struggling Veterans in Your Area
Are you looking to dispose of an unwanted vehicle? Consider donating it to us at Veteran Car Donations. We’ll use your auto donation to improve the living conditions of the struggling underprivileged veterans in your local area.
Our team will sell your car through an auction and use the proceeds to support the life-enhancement programs of our veteran-focused charity partners. These IRS-approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations are dedicated to serving former U.S. service members who are homeless and impoverished, those who are unable to find decent jobs, and those who are suffering from disabilities and serious illnesses, including mental health issues.
They use the funding they get from us to provide their beneficiaries with housing and financial assistance, employment and livelihood opportunities, family support, free quality health care and medical treatment, psychotherapy services, scholarships, and other services meant to uplift their lives.
In return, you’ll benefit from our free professional pickup and towing service, which is available to our donors throughout the country. Your donation will entitle you to claim the highest possible tax deduction in the next tax season. Above all, you’ll be privileged to enjoy a gratifying donating experience, knowing that your charitable contribution will help turn around the lives of our nation’s neglected heroes.
We accept nearly all vehicle types regardless of their ages, mileage, or conditions.
For more information on our quick and simple vehicle donation process or tax deductions, you may visit our FAQs page. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call us anytime through our toll-free hotline at 877-594-5822 or message us here.
Turn Your Old Vehicle Into a Life-Changing Tool Today!
Are you ready to give your old ride a new and higher purpose? Donate it to Veteran Car Donations to help our veterans overcome the tough challenges they’re facing. Call us at 877-594-5822 or fill out our secure online donation form now!