Signs Of A Failing Alternator

Published on 04/22/2023

signs of a failing alternator

Your diesel vehicle’s alternator helps supply your entire vehicle with power to get you safely to your destination or finish the job. The alternator ensures your vehicle’s battery has full electrical power, enabling everything from your windows to your radio to operate. We can easily forget the importance of the alternator in our diesel vehicles until we experience issues like stalling or a dead battery. 

Several failing alternator symptoms may alert you to bring your diesel vehicle, forklift, or other heavy equipment into the shop for repair. Some minor issues, such as flashing dashboard lights, still require professional attention. For heavy equipment or vehicles that keep stalling, trust a mobile mechanic to meet you where you are.  

6 Failing Alternator Symptoms

Motor problems can cause a significant hiccup on a job site or force a major detour during a long haul. Some issues might cause only minor annoyances, such as flickering headlights or a foul odor. More severe problems will compel you to bring your diesel rig to the shop, such as an engine that won’t start or keeps stalling.

Understanding the cause of an alternator failure can help determine when to bring your car into the shop. 

Battery issues

Many vehicle issues trace back to a dead battery, including problems with your alternator. While several occurrences can leave you with a dead battery, the underlying issue could be a bad alternator. The alternator keeps your battery at full charge when you operate your vehicle. 

Consider jumpstarting to determine whether the issue lies with your battery or a faulty alternator. If your vehicle continues to run without stalling, it may be time to replace your old battery. If your diesel vehicle dies shortly after jumpstarting, your alternator may be struggling to charge your battery. 

If you recently put in a new battery, yet your diesel vehicle continues to stall, consider taking it to a repair shop to look at the alternator.  

Headlight problems

Your battery enables the electrical mechanisms in your vehicle to function, but a faulty alternator could lead to many mechanical problems. One of the most common failing alternator symptoms is headlights that won’t turn on. Considering how essential they are to safe operation, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact a mobile mechanic in the Bay Area if you experience issues with your headlights. 

Headlights that seem too dull or bright can indicate an alternator issue. As electrical components in your vehicle, your headlights rely on a dependable alternator. An alternator problem could also cause your headlights to flicker, turn off, or turn on by themselves.  

Problems starting your vehicle

A car that frequently stalls or has trouble starting can be one of the most telling symptoms of a failing alternator. A bad alternator causes the engine to stall or not start. Additionally, even if you do get the engine started, your alternator may not supply the spark plugs with enough energy to keep the vehicle moving while out on the road. 

A mobile mechanic can come to you if you get stuck in a diesel vehicle that won’t start. All Bay Diesel offers mobile mechanics to service your truck, forklift, or other heavy machinery wherever you find yourself. 

Strange sounds could be a failing alternator

While your vehicle could make various sounds for several reasons, certain noises can point to an alternator issue. Growling sounds, in particular, indicate a serious alternator problem due to a misalignment between your alternator’s pulley and belt. You should take care of this problem immediately.

You may also hear a loud growling sound if you have a malfunctioning bearing in the rotator shaft of the alternator. Because the alternator works extensively each time you drive your car, the parts can wear out without proper maintenance. 

Warning signals on the dashboard

Your vehicle’s dashboard can alert you to issues such as low oil or battery power. While lights will sometimes activate because of changing weather conditions and other environmental factors, it's best not to ignore them until it’s too late. Addressing dashboard lights as soon as possible can help you avoid further repair or replacement costs. 

The battery light signal indicates an issue with your electrical system, not just the battery. This alert could signify a problem with your alternator falling below normal voltage levels. Typically, alternators function within a specific voltage range.

This light will turn off and on repeatedly depending on whether your alternator is outputting the correct voltage. While it may be just as simple as replacing the battery, these indications could mean your alternator has an issue and requires attention. 

Burning smell

When your alternator wears out from constant friction between the rubber and wires, it produces a burning smell. Given the proximity of your alternator to the engine, this burning smell can become overwhelming. When an alternator continually overworks, it forces excessive electricity through the wires, creating too much heat and melting the rubber. 

Heat-damaged wires pose a hazard because they overheat further each time you operate your vehicle. Call a professional to inspect your diesel vehicle or heavy equipment if you smell burning rubber during operation. A reliable repair shop will offer mobile mechanic services and same-day repairs for alternator problems.  

Trust All Bay Diesel To Fix Your Failing Alternator

A healthy alternator keeps your heavy equipment, forklifts, and diesel trucks operating by maintaining a full battery charge. Various issues can arise from a battery not receiving full power, keeping you off the road and the job. If your diesel engine has been sitting for a long time due to an alternator issue, let an experienced mobile mechanic bring it back to life.

Common failing alternator symptoms include battery issues, strange sounds, burning smells, and issues with all electrical accessories in your vehicle. To keep your diesel vehicles operating at total capacity, look for these signs of alternator failure, then give us a call. 

For fast and reliable mechanic work, contact All Bay Diesel at 925-522-1780 to schedule your alternator repair today!

Call Now: (925) 522-1780