Your battery allows you to start your car with an electric ignition, but did you know that it’s not really used so much once the car is running? What charges the battery after each ignition and provides electrical power for your various lights and accessories? That important piece of your vehicle would be the alternator. Here is a quick guide to recognizing trouble with your alternator:
One simple way to spot alternator trouble is the dimming of your headlights. As mentioned before, it is not the battery that powers your lights on the road, but your alternator. If your alternator is not creating enough power, your lights will not get the voltage they need to run at their full capacity. This can also be seen in the dimming of the lights in your instrument cluster.
In some modern vehicles, an indicator light in the instrument cluster—which your alternator powers—will illuminate and tell you when something is wrong. If you see a light on your dash that says “ALT” or “GEN,” you should have an automotive repair technician check out the problem right away, just as you would for a Check Engine Light or any other warning.
When your battery dies, it could be the result of accidentally leaving a light on in the car all night, or it could be that your battery has finally reached the end of its usable life. What many people don’t realize, however, is that the issue could be with the alternator. When your car does draw energy from the battery, it draws quite heavily. The battery needs to be recharged by a working alternator every time you drive.
If your car is not starting or you are experiencing other electrical issues, head to Dekalb Tire and Automotive Repair. You can visit our locations in Smyrna, Sandy Springs, Buckhead, and Cumming. Serving the area since 1965, we are a family-owned business dedicated to treating people the way we like to be treated. To learn more about our hours and services, contact us online or at (404) 252-9895.