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Alternator plays a crucial role in the car operation where it functions to generate electricity for the car by from the movement or rotation of the car engine component.

The electric current is used to turn on all the car accessories, headlights, brakes, air conditioning and more. It is derived by the wires in the alternator that will travel through the magnetic field. Besides that, the alternator also ensures that the car battery is charged sufficiently to start the car.

Therefore, now we share the 5 trouble signs that can help you identify when if there is any problems with the car alternator


There are various warning lights available on your car dashboard panel, especially in modern. Usually, the alternator warning lights display the letter “ALT” or “GEN” while some cars show the sign of battery to indicate problems with the alternator.

This could caused some of the car owners thought that there is a battery problem instead. This light is connected to the internal computer system which detect the voltage output of the alternator. This light would light up whenever the voltage output goes below or above pre-set limit


One of the alternator major trouble signs is having dim lights. This is because alternator functions to power the electricity to the vehicle. Thus, you could notice that the lights could becomes brighter or dimmer.

Similarly, problems can be detected to other accessories that use electric power such as air conditioning, meter dashboard or the power windows.


These three symptoms might not be as accurate to the warning lights, however it is still valid from our experience as drivers.

Visual observation can be made by the mechanics by checking the alternator based on the driver input on signs of alternator problem. This inspection usually ended up to problems related to belt such as cracking or excessive wear. Beside that, the belt must apply the right tension to run the alternator correctly.

In terms of sound, the drivers will hear unusual sound from the engine section before the alternator fails to function. The belt accessory is used to move the alternator with the help of a pulley and some bushing to ensure the alternator moves smoothly.

You could also hear the sound of friction before the alternator is fully damaged as it also has its own bearing ball to launch its rotation, hence damage to the ball bearings or shaft will produce the friction sound.

When the alternator is almost damaged, you will be able to smell the burn rubber or the hot wires. This is because the conveyer belt would start to fail to move smoothly due to the damaged pulley and eventually become hot. This would produce burnt rubber smell.

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If you fail to start your vehicle, there are two possibilities whether you have a dead battery or a problematic alternator. You can differentiate this by hearing the sound produced when turning in the car key. A dead battery would produced a click sound when the key is turned.

If you have been taking care of the battery well or it is a new battery, there are a high chance that the alternator is damaged. This is because when the alternator is damaged, it won't be able to charge the battery hence the lack of charge to start the engine


In this situation, there is no damage detected but the car battery seems to lose power. This is because alternator supposed to produced electrical energy but it can be channeled to any part if there is any damage or problem with the connecting wires. It can also produce the smell of hot wires from the wires plastic insulation.

Another problem could be from the diode rectifier which functions to switch the AC current to the one-way current (DC) as most car accessory require DC .

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Generally, skilled mechanics are able to repair your alternator by changing the damaged components. This usually depend on the level of damaged as there is a possibility that your alternator can be saved. But if the damage is too serious, you would somehow need to change the alternator. You can get a new alternator from a cut shop or recond based on your budget.

Never underestimate the alternator problems as if it is not well-maintained, you car could end up just die in the middle of the road.

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