5 Warning Signs Your Alternator is Failing

image with text 5 warning signs your alternator is failing

Your car’s alternator uses the electrical energy the engine provides to keep the battery fully charged. Without it, your car will not run for more than a few minutes. So, getting your car’s alternator repaired is essential for keeping your car running. 

Signs Your Alternator is Failing

1. Your Battery Loses Charge Quickly

The alternator’s job is to keep the battery charged. If your car battery won’t hold a charge, either the battery or the alternator is the problem.

2. Your Car Lights are Dim

Dim interior and head/tail lights are another sign that your car is not holding battery power. In addition to dim lights, you may notice your power seats and windows are moving more slowly than normal as well. If you are concerned, keep windows rolled up so if the battery/alternator fails you don’t need to worry about break-ins.

3. Odd Sounds or Smells

Your car’s alternator works with a series of belts and when these belts are too loose, too tight, or broken you’ll notice odd sounds or smells. If you are handy, you may be able to do the car repair by watching a video online. Otherwise, you’ll need to take your car to a qualified mechanic.

4. The Warning Light Comes On

Newer cars have an indicator light that lets you know when you will soon need car repair for your alternator. It may be shaped like a battery, or it may say “ALT” for alternator or “GEN” for the generator.

5. Your Car Won’t Start

Lastly, a car that won’t start very typically needs car repair of some kind. If the problem is a lack of power to the engine, the alternator may be to blame. If you suspect your alternator is the cause, you can use a voltmeter to test it yourself, take it to an auto parts store for free testing, or take it to a car repair expert.

Contact the auto repair experts at Performance Auto for more information about keeping your car in the best shape.


  1. I used to think the problem with my car was the battery, but after I replaced that I was still experiencing issues. You bring up that the alternator can have some of the same symptoms of a bad battery. This may be the issue with my car.

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