Students in Car Mechanic Training Should Watch Out for These 4 Signs an Alternator May Be Malfunctioning

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The alternator plays an extremely important role in the way a vehicle functions. Without a working alternator, it won’t be long until a car ends up broken down on the side of the road. The alternator is responsible for recharging the battery so that it has enough power to start the vehicle. If the alternator malfunctions, the battery won’t be able to stay charged and it’ll eventually die, leaving the car completely useless until it’s taken into a shop. Therefore, it’s important for future auto mechanics to be aware of the signs that a customer’s alternator may be malfunctioning, so that they can fix any problems early.
Are you interested in enrolling in a mechanic program? Read on to learn about four signs that an alternator isn’t working properly.

1. Students in Car Mechanic Training Should Watch for Dimming Headlights

As you may learn during your automotive mechanic courses, a car’s headlights rely on power provided by the car’s electrical system to operate. If an alternator is starting to go downhill, it’s likely that the car’s headlights won’t work properly. For example, if the headlights are dimmer than usual or flickering, or if the headlights dim when something else in the vehicle that requires electricity is turned on, then it could be a sign that the alternator isn’t working well. If a customer notices that the headlights flicker when they turn on the car radio, for instance, it’s a possible sign of a malfunctioning alternator.

2. Students in Car Mechanic Training Should Know Odd Sounds Could Point to a Failing Alternator

A vehicle’s alternator is made up of a series of complex parts that all work together to generate electricity. If an alternator is starting to break, the parts within it may start to break too, which can result in concerning sounds coming from under the hood, like whining or grinding noises. While many car problems are made obvious by strange noises and sounds, if after your car mechanic training a customer comes into your shop complaining of a peculiar noise, make sure to check that the alternator is working correctly.

3. Repeatedly Having to Jump Start a Car Could Indicate a Failing Alternator

It’s a sure-fire sign that an alternator is beginning to fail if one of your future customers complains they have to constantly jump start their vehicle to get it running. A functioning alternator should be able to assist the battery in providing enough power to start the vehicle. If the vehicle can’t start, it’s likely that the alternator isn’t providing the battery with enough juice to start up the vehicle.

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If a customer has to repeatedly jump start their car, the alternator may be broken

A good way to test if it’s either the battery or the alternator that is having a problem is to fully charge the car’s battery. If the car starts, but its lights start to dim after several moments, it’s likely that the battery’s charging system is broken. However, if you have difficulty starting the vehicle at all, even when the battery is fully charged, it’s more likely a problem with the alternator.

4. Students in Car Mechanic Training Should Watch for an Illuminated Dashboard Battery Light

Almost all modern cars come equipped with a battery light on their dashboard. This battery light is a valuable tool for figuring out if an alternator is working properly. If the light is illuminated, it’s likely the car’s system has detected that the electrical system’s voltage is too low, or that the battery is operating on very low energy stores and could run out of juice at any moment. Either way, both cases could be indicative of a malfunctioning alternator.
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