Alternators are used for the purpose of charging the battery in the vehicle. They’re used to power the electrical system located within the car when the engine is running. Think about when you turn on your headlights at night. They don’t draw power from the battery; they get the juice from the alternator. Likewise, if you were to turn on your headlights or radio while your car was off, it would be getting power from the battery. The alternator is constantly spinning thousands of rotations within one minute, just to operate all the electrical systems in your car. It is no surprise that this essential component, over time, will wear out.
Absolutely! One of the most common issues we see at Ryan GMW are problems with batteries and alternators. However, many of customers question which is which, and what part is at fault for their car not starting.
The battery is responsible for starting your car. The alternator then replenishes that charge using the rotation of the engine. It is entirely possible to have a dead battery at the same time as a faulty alternator if the alternator is the issue. This is because the battery won’t be receiving a recharge, and will be drained from the normal operations of the vehicle. Keep in mind that the more things you run, including the headlights, radio, heater, etc. will cause the battery to drain much quicker.
One of the first noticeable signs of a defective or failing alternator is dimmer than usual headlights. A common misdiagnose from vehicle owners, is either that the battery is going dead, or a bulb may need to be changed. However, more than likely this is the first warning signs of an alternator that needs to be replaced.
If the car will not crank, or you have to charge the battery every single time you need to crank it, it could be that the alternator has malfunctioned and is not charging the battery correctly. If you experience starter problems, it could be that the battery isn’t being charged correctly and actually have nothing to do with the starter itself. An inspection from Ryan G. Motorworks can put to rest any questions you may have as to if you have a faulty battery, alternator, or starter.
If you experience a whining or growling noise when you try and crank your car, you may need to get the alternator checked. The smell of burning rubber or burning wires is also a sign that the alternator is no longer in good working condition. The “GEN” light or a light shaped like a battery pops up on the dashboard and you automatically know somethings up with the battery. Buying a new battery may not fix the problem, because it may be that the alternator has malfunctioned and the battery isn’t getting the charge it needs. Diagnostic testing can be performed to determine what is causing the problems and the mechanic can let you know what repairs are required and the cost of fixing that particular problem.
If it is determined to be the alternator causing all the problems with starting, no worries! We offer alternator repair services that will have the issue fixed in no-time. For most vehicles, it is easier to replace a worn out alternator, especially if it is older. On other cars, it can be more cost-effective to have the part repaired versus being replaced. We will look at both options before proceeding with any service to ensure you have the best repair at the best pricing.
Is your car having difficulty starting or won’t start at all? Give us a call today, (530) 305-2499, to schedule an appointment for an inspection and alternator service. Or visit our appointments page!