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Symptoms of a Bad Alternator

Most people only see the battery as the power source in your car, but the truth is the alternator is just as important. The alternator generates voltage and powers your battery and the rest of your car's electrical components. If it fails, you can count on not starting your car, truck, or SUV. You may be experiencing the following signs below with a failing alternator:

Unusual Light Behavior

Your car's headlights, taillights, and interior lights will dim or flicker as your alternator struggles to charge your battery. You may also notice other glitches in your power accessories like your windows or seat adjustments. 

Dashboard Warning Light

Even when all your lights are going faint, one prominent light on the dashboard may come on: your electrical system warning light. Usually, this light is depicted as a battery symbol, so don't be thrown off. Other cars may even have a specific light or message display for the alternator.

Battery Problems

If you're experiencing difficulty with your battery, it would be wise to check the alternator as well. It could be that the alternator isn't properly charging the battery. 

Strange Smells

The alternator develops power through a system of belts; if the belts fail, it could heavily impact the alternator's function. If the straps struggle to turn, you might smell a burning smell coming from under the hood. 

Audible Hints

The alternator has a motor inside of it that is made up of many moving parts. When the parts start to wear down, it may make a grinding or whining sound. Either way, strange noises are a tell-tale sign that your alternator needs to be repaired or replaced altogether.


The professional team at Robbie's At Your Service would be glad to inspect your alternator and other electrical components. If you notice any of the signs above, please bring your vehicle to our auto repair shop in Merritt Island, FL, so that we can address your electrical problem.