Is the alternator charging the battery? What are common problems and when to bring your car into the shop.


Are you having
trouble starting your car?

Are you also noticing that the car’s headlights are dimmer than usual? Perhaps, a bad alternator is the problem. It is a small component that charges your car’s battery, radio, heating system, and lights while it is running. In short, it is responsible for providing electricity to your car parts. The car uses a lot of power for its operation, so if an alternator is not working right, the battery will expire quite rapidly.

A crankshaft provides mechanical energy to the rotor of an alternator which further converts it to electrical energy. An alternator also uses an electromagnet to produce the magnetic field for its output. The vehicles battery stores this produced electricity and plays an important part in energizing the engine. In a nutshell, an alternator provides power to the electrical system of your car.

Self Diagnosis – Alternator

Indicator Lights
In the latest cars, there are dashboard warnings lights present to notify when the alternator is not working right. Look for battery shaped warning light, or indicator with writings such as ALT, or GEN.

Malfunctioning Headlights
If you observe dimmed, pulsating, or flickering headlights, then your alternator is failing. Call an auto-electrician to check as the alternator supplies electricity directly to the headlights.

More Electrical Problems
A failing alternator can cause power seats and power windows to stop working or work at a slower speed. Your car’s internal lighting and radio may also stop functioning.

You may smell a burning rubber smell if the belt isn’t tight enough on the alternator. Further, if you smell an electrical burning there may be an issue with the alternator. If the smell persists, it’s time to call an auto electrician.

Dead Battery
The alternator powers the car’s battery. So, a bad alternator can result in a bad battery no matter how many times you replace the battery.

Trouble Starting
If you are having trouble starting or your car is stalling, then the spark plug is not getting enough power. So, the electrical system’s alternator may be responsible.

Common Problems

Some general faults such as a break in wiring, missing or loose fan belt, blown rectifier diodes, and blown fuse can make the alternator to not charge at all. Further, poor wiring connections and loose fan belt will cause the alternator to have a low charge. If an alternator is overly charged then it might be due to failed rotor or regulator, and poor battery condition.

Moreover, an alternator may be whining because of worn-out bearing, loose pulley, or damaged fan belt. An alternator may also fail if there is a loose wiring plug, fan belt, or its connection with earth wire is poor.

Finally, more than 85% of alternators malfunctions are failing in some fashion after only 30 minutes from installation. Bad installation is the most common cause of a bad alternator. It is all because the installer was in some way negligent. It is very critical to ensure that the car battery is fully charged before replacing the alternator. Contact us at channel auto electrics we will be glad to help and get the job done correctly for you.

Getting it set up?

Fortunately, there is another way to improve the electrical setup of your car.

You might be thinking about simply connecting a second battery to run these accessories. Yes, that is correct, but not as easy as it sounds. The process can be difficult as there might be

1) No space under the vehicle’s bonnet and the

2) The heat of the engine could cause problems.

3) Even if you find a suitable space for its installation, you cannot handle it without a proper battery management system.

Your start battery will be drained without it. So, in this case, all you need is a Dual Battery System.

Charging Options

Now, let’s get to which charging option should you opt for these dual battery systems? The “Basic Isolators” charger works almost like a manual switch except for the fact that ignition controls it. They operate automatically, and they are also extremely cheap. However, their major disadvantage is that you might not have enough power to start the engine as the auxiliary battery can immediately connect once you try to start the car.

You can try increasing your budget and invest “Smart Isolators” instead. They also work like basic isolators, but at different voltage levels, they will cut in and out. This will make sure that first, the starter battery is full, and then the auxiliary battery is charging efficiently. Therefore, the vehicle can always be on the run.

The last option we would like to discuss is DC to DC chargers. They are just like the battery chargers that we utilize in our homes. They will need to be connected to the vehicles’ wires. It works by developing two individual electrical systems, so you can run your fridge all night without draining the starting battery.

So, this was a quick introduction to the Dual Battery System and its importance. The charging system which you should use would depend upon your vehicle, usage, battery type, and alternator type. We would recommend you go for REDARC and Projecta dual battery chargers. They are currently the titans of the battery industry, that is why we use them.