What Causes the Alternator to Go Bad?

Age is what causes the alternator to go bad. Generally speaking, you will get 100,000 miles out of the factory alternator that was installed in your vehicle during the assembly process. In terms of years, this equates to approximately 10 years. After this time, the alternator can start to make strange noises in your engine and cause the following problems.

Accessory Complications

Your vehicle’s accessories cannot work without power. The alternator produces up to 14.5 volts of power to help the accessories work. If the alternator is not producing enough energy, the accessories will malfunction and slow down. For example, your power seats may slow down.

Battery Complications

The alternator also produces up to 14.5 volts of electricity so it can keep the battery charged. If this doesn’t happen, the battery will discharge until it is dead. As such, if you have had to jump-start the battery frequently lately, it could be that your alternator needs to be replaced.

Dashboard Complications

When we say dashboard complications, we mean a dashboard warning light. In the case of the alternator, the engine control unit will turn on the battery light. This light will let you know that you have an electrical problem in your automobile. In this case, the problem is the alternator.

Electrical Complications

The alternator can overheat your electrical system if it generates too much electricity. When this happens, you will smell burning wires and rubber underneath the hood. You may also have blown fuses in the fuse box because the alternator is causing electrical surges in the electrical system.

Light Complications

Another thing that is noticeable when it comes to a dying alternator is complications with your vehicle lights. The lights will go dimmer if the alternator cannot produce enough electricity. The lights will be unusually bright if the alternator is overproducing electricity.

Spark Plug Complications

Finally, you may start to have problems with your car, truck, or utility vehicle stalling intermittently. Unfortunately, this can be a sign that the alternator is struggling to produce the power that the spark plugs need to fire in the combustion chamber. This will also affect your engine’s performance.

We are here to help, so call us today if you are having the problems discussed above. We would be happy to test your alternator to see how much voltage it is generating. If there is a problem, we will replace the alternator.

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