Updated at: 05-04-2022 - By: micdot

What are the signs that your car’s alternator is failing? It’s an emergency that necessitates immediate attention. Here’s everything you need to know about diagnosing and fixing a broken alternator. If you’re looking for an expert on this subject, you’ve come to the right place. On our website, you can find out more about us. Your car’s alternator powers all of its electrical equipment and keeps the battery charged. If you can’t start your car, get burning aromas in the cabin, or hear whining noises, your alternator may be faulty. It doesn’t matter what symptom you see, we’ll cover it and assist you figure out if your car’s alternator is to blame. In spite of its modest design, the alternator is critical to nearly every automotive process that requires energy.

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Bad Alternator Symptoms

Because of the alternator’s role in charging the battery and providing power to the vehicle’s electronic components, a faulty alternator can cause a slew of problems. The following are the most prevalent warning signs and symptoms of a faulty alternator:

Batteries are no longer charging

Fluctuating illumination

Smell of burning

A whirring sound.

Lights up in case of emergency

We’ll go through each of these symptoms in detail in the following sections so you can figure out if the issue is with the alternator or something else.

6 Signs of a Bad Alternator - In The Garage with CarParts.com

Dead Battery

Alternators play an essential role in recharging the battery, as previously stated. As a result, a car with a defective alternator will have a dead battery very quickly. When your car’s battery dies, you should check to see if the alternator is to blame. A new battery will fast drain if the alternator is malfunctioning. To determine if the problem is with the battery or alternator, try jumpstarting the vehicle. The battery is the most likely cause if the automobile continues to run after a jumpstart. When an alternator fails, the car normally shuts down right away. It’s also possible to test an alternator using a simple method.

Flickering Lights

Keeping your car’s lights on at all times requires a continual supply of electricity. Flickering lights are a sure sign of a malfunctioning alternator, which can be identified by the alternator’s low output or irregular output. This can be used to any sort of light, although headlights are usually the most obvious. There is no guarantee that the light will flicker. It’s possible that some could shine brighter than normal, while others will be darker. The alternator’s uneven voltage is to blame for this.

Burning Smell

Burning smells of rubber or electric wires may be a more serious symptom. A malfunctioning serpentine belt, an overheated alternator, or even an electrical fire can be to blame for the noxious odor. It is important to be aware of the dangers of these symptoms. If the stench persists, then the best course of action is to pull over and investigate. However, foul smells aren’t specific to defective alternators, and they need to be figured out asap. The air conditioner, brake pads, coolant, exhaust leaks, and much more are all possible causes of foul smells.

Whining Noises

Alternator Noise: How to Diagnose and Fix

An alternator that isn’t working properly might make a range of noises, including high-pitched sounds and knocking. Unless the bearings are failing and creating a knocking noise, a defective alternator will typically produce a whining noise. Alternators don’t make all the noises, and neither do the smells. This is why it’s important to keep an eye out for additional symptoms that may accompany these signals in order to get a clearer picture of what’s wrong.

Warning Light

If there is a problem with the alternator or battery, a warning light will usually come on in the vehicle. For the same reasons that headlights cause the dashboard to blink or flicker, a bad alternator can do the same. If this light comes on while you’re driving, you should turn off all non-essential electronics and find a safe place to fix the problem.


It’s inevitable that a malfunctioning alternator will make itself known in some fashion. Flickering lights, for example, are virtually always a sign of a malfunctioning alternator in the majority of cases. Signs and symptoms can also be less specific. An alternator malfunction could be the cause of a drained battery, for example. Before replacing a battery, it is critical to rule out one of these possibilities. Whining noises, smoke, and dashboard warning lights are all signs of a faulty alternator.

It is imperative that you address the issue as soon as you become aware of any symptoms or indicators, especially if you detect a burning odor. In order to get the full picture, it is important to look at all the symptoms and indicators.

Top 10 Signs of Alternator Problems | HowStuffWorks