5 Symptoms of a Bad Alternator

When many people think about their car’s electrical system, they instantly think of the battery. While the battery does give electrical charges to start your vehicle, the alternator is the component that charges your battery and runs electrical functions while your car is moving. Without a functioning alternator, your vehicle will abruptly stop all the time. 


What Is the Alternator?

The alternator is a fundamental aspect of your car because it converts power from the engine into electrical energy. This electrical current works to keep your vehicle’s electrical systems operating and keeps the battery charged. It was coined an alternator because it generates an alternating current that changes direction periodically. 


5 Signs of a Bad Alternator

The alternator is built up of many components such as bearings, rotors, and other internal parts. Over time these parts wear out, which means you need to take a trip to the auto shop. Here are some symptoms that indicate you need an alternator repair or replacement:

  • Dimming or Flickering of Interior & Exteriors Lights. Electricity generated by the alternator powers all the lights inside and outside of your vehicle. If the brightness of the lights starts to dim, then it is most likely the alternator at fault.
  • Malfunctioning Electrical Components. Your electrical features include things like power windows, power seats, radio, and seat warmers. Without sufficient electricity, these accessories may stop working altogether. 
  • Engine Stalls. If the alternator is not fully working, your vehicle may have used the battery to its’ total capacity, leaving it drained. A new battery may not be the only answer if you also have an impaired alternator. 
  • Loud Noises. If the parts in the alternator are misfunctioning, you may hear grinding or growling sounds. 
  • The Smell of Burning Rubber. In severe cases, a faulty alternator can produce a distinct burning smell. If you smell burning rubber, stop driving your vehicle immediately and get help.


If you regard any of these symptoms, our trained technicians at Community Auto would be glad to assist with inspecting and diagnosing your car. While you can opt for an alternator repair, it may be wiser to have them replaced altogether. We can help guide you on the best plan for you and your car. Give us a call or stop by our shop in Ft. Collins, CO, today!

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