Open Now! Today's Hours: 9:00a- 8:00p
A standard alternator on a car here on Long Island, NY.

Five Signs Your Alternator Needs to Be Replaced

Posted at Fri, Aug 13, 2021 9:00 AM

In terms of car part replacement, the alternator is not the worst kind of repair. It is an essential part of any vehicle as it keeps the battery charged, which in turn allows you to use the radio, the headlights, the air conditioner, the heater, and anything else electrical. The signs of a failing alternator are quite obvious, with the main one being that your vehicle will not start. Another indication is if it only runs for a few minutes before quitting. There are a few other indicators of a failing alternator, and it is never a bad idea to be familiar with them, so our Westbury Toyota experts have written up a quick list of all the signs of alternator failure.

A Dead Battery

If you end up with a dead battery in your Toyota, there could be a couple of reasons for it, such as end of life or interior lights/headlights left on for hours. However, a faulty alternator could also be the reason if it no longer charges the battery when the car is running. If this happens, it means that your battery’s charge will deplete much faster than it usually does. A surefire way to test whether the battery issue is related to the alternator or something else is to give your Toyota a jump start. If you do this and the vehicle keeps running, it means that it is likely the battery that needs replacing. If the car dies right after being jumpstarted, it means that the alternator is not funneling enough power to the battery.

Malfunctioning or Delayed Electronics

Because your Toyota’s interior electronics are powered by the alternator, they may start to malfunction or respond slowly. An example of this is automatic windows that roll up or down far slower than usual. A dying alternator can also affect other things like seat warmers, radio, and instruments such as the speedometer in your Toyota. Modern vehicles are designed in such a way that in the event of a faulty alternator, non-essential accessories will lose power before the essential ones (such as headlights) will.

Lights That Are Too Bright or Too Dim

Once an alternator starts to fail, the voltage it provides to the various electronic components of your Toyota will become inconsistent. As a result, you can experience interior and headlights that are either very dim or incredibly bright. The lights may also flicker or switch from bright to dim without warning.

The Smell of Something Burning

Another common indicator that your alternator needs to be replaced is the smell of burning rubber. The alternator drive belt (which is made of rubber) is constantly under a lot of friction and tension while your Toyota is running. As it gradually wears out over time, the proximity to the hot engine can lead to the smell of burning rubber.

Another burning smell that can be attributed to a failing alternator is similar to that of an electrical fire. This is due to any frayed wires the alternator might have. When too much electricity courses through the damaged wires, they will heat up to an unsafe point, leading to the unpleasant odor.

Whining or Squealing Noises

Given how many sounds a car can make, trying to identify what they mean can be tough. Fortunately, faulty alternator sounds tend to either sound like whining or high-pitched squealing and they are caused by a misalignment of the alternator’s pulley belt. The sound may also come from bad alternator bearings.

Keep Your Alternator Working Correctly

The alternator is a crucial part of any car, and once it starts to fail it can lead to a whole host of issues. In order to prevent these from happening, it is a good idea to be able to identify the warning signs. Once you have figured those out, you can book your Toyota in to have the alternator replaced as quickly as possible. Our knowledgeable Westbury Toyota experts have done countless alternator replacements, so in the event you run into alternator problems, please do not hesitate to contact us!

© 2021 Westbury Toyota | Privacy Policy
Much from Remora