Does Your Vehicle Need a New Alternator?

There are many vehicle parts that you know exactly how long they are going to last, and you can plan for their replacements. Alternators are not among those parts. Unfortunately, you never know when your alternator is going to bite the dust, and more often than not, it tends to happen at the most inopportune times. But, there are ways to tell if your alternator is starting to go, and you can have it replaced before you end up breaking down on the side of the road somewhere.

Dashboard Lights

If your alternator or battery lights come on, it may not necessarily mean that there isn't a problem with the alternator. The bulb is wired directly to the alternator, and if there is a problem with the bulb, it can affect the performance of the alternator and battery. The voltage goes from the alternator to the battery, and it does this via the bulb. A bad bulb will cause the alternator to not work properly. Before spending a lot of money on alternator repairs, replace this bulb. If you change the bulb, the battery is fully charged, and there is still a problem, the alternator is likely the source of the problem.

Dim Lights

If the lights in and on your vehicle are dimmer than they should be, it is a sign that there is a problem with your alternator. The lights could also be fading and growing brighter as you accelerate and decelerate, meaning that the battery is not getting enough power from the alternator. This includes all interior lights, head lights, signals, and brake lights.


Have you recently replaced your battery and found that the new battery isn't working any better than the old one did? It may be that you didn't need to change the battery at all, but that the alternator isn't working properly. If your battery keeps dying, it is time to have the alternator tested. You should get a voltage meter to test your battery. If it reads 12 volts with the ignition turned off, and 14 or higher with the ignition on, you know that the problem isn't in the battery at all.


Before you go and spend money on a new alternator, there is one more, less expensive thing you can check. It may simply be that there is a loose belt. If this is the case, the battery isn't going to charge, even though the alternator is working perfectly.

For more information, contact Carbusters Auto Wreckers.