On the outset, an alternator may seem like one of the more uncomplicated components in your vehicle. The main reason for this assumption is that it does not comprise numerous parts. But the alternator plays a vital role in keeping your car at optimum performance. In essence, this component is responsible for making sure all mechanical energy that passes through the engine's crankshaft is subsequently converted into much-needed electrical power through the process of induction. Because there are numerous systems in the vehicle that require this electrical energy, the alternator is connected to different aspects of your car. Therefore, if the alternator starts to malfunction, symptoms could manifest in various parts of your vehicle. So what signs are evicence of an alternator in critical condition?
Unexplainable dimming of your lights
One of the first auto parts that will be affected by a faulty alternator is your lights. When the electrical energy from the alternator is limited, the car lights will start to dim from time to time. You may also notice that the lights in your dashboard are not as bright as they are supposed to be. Ignoring the dimming lights is bound to result in them completely going off, which can restrict your movement at night. So if you notice that your lights are behaving erratically, it is advisable to have your mechanic inspect your alternator for you.
Sudden weakening of your battery
Although car batteries do have a finite lifespan, this does not mean that every single time your battery shows signs of depletion, it automatically translates into battery replacement. A typical reason why a new battery may begin to weaken is when the alternator is not functioning as it should be. A simple way to troubleshoot this problem is to fully charge the battery, then immediately attempt to crank your car to start. If the vehicle still exhibits issues with restarting, the likelihood is that it is in dire need of alternator repair.
Pungent odours emitting from your vehicle
People usually associate weird smells in their car with a potential leak, but a faulty alternator can also cause your car to develop strange odours. The placement of the alternator is such that it works in tandem with multiple belt systems. If the alternator is failing, it can alter the movement of one or many belts, which in turn creates friction. When the friction is left unencumbered, you will start to catch whiffs of burning rubber. It is imperative to cease driving your vehicle until the alternator is repaired and belts have been tightened and repositioned correctly.