Tips

Is My Alternator Bad or Is it the Battery?

Sometimes, the signs of a bad alternator and the signs of a bad battery are the same. This can make it difficult to determine which auto part is having problems. The best way to tell whether your alternator is going bad or it’s the battery is to let Ultimate Auto Repair test both. The signs that we are going to list below definitely signal that you have a problem with your vehicle’s alternator. If the problem is the battery, it’s possible that the alternator is not charging it.

Accessory Malfunctions

If your vehicle’s accessories are malfunctioning, the alternator is likely going bad. The accessories are not getting enough electricity to do their jobs properly. Examples of the accessories that will malfunction include your power seats, power windows, GPS, and radio.

Dashboard Warning

If you get a dashboard warning light that says ALT or GEN, this is a sign that your alternator is going bad. If a battery-shaped light turns on, this points more to the battery. Unfortunately, this could be a sign that you have an alternator problem, as well.

Dead Battery

If your battery is dead and it cannot hold a charge after you jump-start it, your alternator is bad. The alternator recharges the battery while your vehicle is in motion. If your battery is not staying charged, this tends to point more to the alternator unless your battery is too old.

Dim/Bright Lights

This sign is a sign of both battery trouble and alternator failure. You may notice that your headlights and interior lights are unusually bright, but you will more than likely notice that the lights are dimmer than normal. This means the lights are not getting enough electricity.

Frequent Stalling

If your vehicle stalls frequently, the alternator could be going bad. The alternator powers the spark plugs so they can fire in the combustion chamber. Frequent stalling is a sign that the spark plugs are not firing correctly, and this can be attributed to the alternator.

Growling Noises

Growling noises coming from underneath the hood could be the sound of the alternator’s internal mechanisms going bad. You may also hear grinding sounds or whining noises. The latter is a sign of a problem with the alternator belt.

Hard Starting

Finally, difficulty starting your automobile can be attributed to alternator problems, battery problems, or an issue with your starter among other things. If you hear constant clicking, this is most likely a problem with the starter. Otherwise, it could be your alternator.

Ultimate Auto Repair in Jackson, MI, can figure out whether the problems listed above are being caused by the alternator or battery. Give us a call today and we’ll schedule an appointment for you.

Photo by meodif from Getty Images via Canva Pro
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