6 Ways to Know How to Tell If Alternator is Bad

How will you be able to know if your alternator's failing on you? There are a few signs you can easily notice, but sometimes you might end up confusing it with other problems in your car. While you won't need to know rocket science or memorize all the parts of your vehicle to diagnose your alternator's problem, you will need a bit of logic to know all about your alternator.

So, how to tell if alternator is bad? We'll show you everything you need to know about your alternator and how you can tell if it's faulty.


What is an Alternator?


An alternator is a generator for your car's electric power. It's a major component of your vehicle, with this essential piece of equipment charging your car's batteries and supplying power to electrical systems.

An alternator would usually last for about 12 years. It doesn't require a lot of maintenance and won't need any repairs unless significant damage has come through it.

If the alternator runs poorly or fails, then your car will still be able to run. BUT, it will die once your car battery charge has depleted. That's why you'll need to know how to tell if alternator is bad to prevent that from happening.

How to Tell If Alternator is Bad?

There are a few things you'll notice about your car once the alternator begins to fail. It usually centers around the electrical system. Here are the symptoms to tell if your alternator is going bad:

How to Tell If Alternator is Bad

This is a good Alternator

1. Indicator Lights

If the indicator light shows the symbols ALT or GEN, then that is the first and major indicator that your alternator is bad. It's recommended to take it to the mechanic immediately to have it checked.

2. Headlights

If your headlights start to flicker or are dimmer than usual, then your alternator is losing power or struggling to perform. But this may also mean that you'll need to replace your headlights as well, for your alternator to distribute power while saving energy. Replacing your lights with the best LED headlights will be a good match with your alternator.

3. Noises

While hearing strange noises might mean something else, this is also another symptom that you shouldn't ignore. It would create unusual rattles and weird sounds. If your car also suffers from the other symptoms, then that may be the alternator.

4. Car Starting

If you have difficulty starting your vehicle, or if your car stalls, then the alternator isn't providing enough electricity or power to the spark plugs that ignite the engine.

5. Battery

If your car battery dies, then that's already the sign of a bad alternator that fails to recharge it when it drains. You will need to have both your alternator and battery checked by a mechanic because your car won't be able to start or run properly if the battery can't produce electricity.

6. Electrical Failure


The alternator provides power to any other parts of your car. If it goes wrong, it will also lead to other electrical systems failing, such as your power windows, locks, your radio, or even the air conditioner. Even the best car speakers won't be able to power up if your car battery is drained and your alternator can't distribute electricity to it properly.

If you have experienced any of these symptoms, then it's time to change your alternator. It will be a bit expensive, so you can also have it rebuilt or repaired, which is a cheaper alternative.

In Conclusion

Your alternator is an essential part of your car, providing electricity to support the power of various parts of your vehicle. Without it running properly, you won't enjoy your car like you should!

You'll be able to know how to tell if your alternator is bad by noticing the little things in your vehicle, as well as checking it up. This will help you take preventive measures and save money from replacing or it if it ends up being beyond repair! You'll want to make sure that this is part of your car tune up checklist.

Hopefully, you found this article informative. If you want to know more about how to tell if alternator is bad, then post your thoughts below! It would be great to hear what you have to say on this matter.

Tom Nguyen

I’m Tom, and I’m avid fan of automobiles! I love cars and learning more about how to tweak and repair them to make them look and perform better. Through a lot of projects and research, I make it a point to share my knowledge to other car enthusiasts like me.

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