When it comes to maintaining electrical excellence in your car, the alternator is responsible for some pretty major moving parts – yet it might not be the first thing you think of for maintenance repair. Not surprisingly, it takes a lot of electrical capacity to run all the automotive systems that modern Sacramento drivers need. Between GPS, air conditioning, satellite radio, and rear-facing camera/alert systems, your alternator is usually working overtime to keep everything communicating properly and distributing electrical power evenly.
Alternator maintenance and repair is extremely important, but many drivers don’t understand the role electrical power plays in keeping their cars running. Here are the most common signs that your alternator needs some extra attention.
1. Inconsistent Headlights/Taillights. It’s easy to get caught up in the glitz and glam of all the modern technology in your car – but the basics are just as important, and can actually be the best places to spot reliable warning signs when your alternator is on the fritz. All the electricity that essential systems like taillights and windshield wipers require can get overlooked when compared to more entertaining gadgets like Smartphone docking stations and touch screen interfaces in your dashboard. Those features are definitely attractive, but keeping tabs on the regular headlight and taillight systems is actually a really reliable way to gauge the health of an alternator. If you notice blinking or other inconsistent behavior, it could be connected to alternator trouble and you should get a professional inspection to rule out major impending issues before they escalate.
2. Faulty Dashboard Lights/Functions. If you have noticed an issue with your headlights or taillights, you might be tempted to think it’s just a problem with the bulb. One way to verify the alternator is the culprit is by confirming that all the non-essential interior computer systems are still working. Your car is designed to cut power to unimportant things like seat warmers before it would cut power to more important safety features. If your lights are acting weird and you also notice other internal systems are having power problems, you will know you are having electrical issues.
3. Follow Your Nose. Weird smells usually aren’t a good sign in any situation. When it comes to alternator health, the smell of burning rubber and electrical wires might be a sign of increased friction from a belt falling out of alignment, or just an overheated alternator in general. It could be the death gasp you’ve been dreading, but at the very least it’s a good indication that your car isn’t in safe condition to drive until getting further assessment. When the alternator goes out, it usually has an impact on the car battery – meaning, an eventual symptom could be that your car won’t start at all. There are few inconveniences more pronounced than a car dead in your driveway, especially if you’re on the way to work or school. Getting the alternator checked early on will help avoid this scenario altogether.
To get more information about alternator repair and alternator replacement in Sacramento, call the Standard Auto Care experts today at 916-924-8040.