When you turn the key in the ignition and you hear a series of rapid clicks but nothing else, it's easy to think your car battery is to blame. While that can be true, here are some ways to help determine if it is your car's alternator instead.
1. Service Engine Light - When your alternator starts to go back, it can cause your "check engine" light to come on. If your car has more specific messaging, you may even see "ALT" or a battery icon indicator.
2. Dim Lights - Dim or flickering lights is one of the most common signals that your alternator may be starting to fail. It can be more obvious at night, but if your interior / dashboard lights brighten when your vehicle is increasing speed (increasing RPM's), then you should have your alternator checked asap.
3. Odd Noises - If you hear a squealing noise, growl or grinding noise while driving, these are all signs that your alternator may need some attention.
4. Engine Stalling - if your engine cuts while driving, it is often the alternator, caused by lack of fuel injection due to lack of electrical power. Without fuel, the engine dies.
5. Electrical Issues - If power seats and/or windows start to fail or are slow, this is a sign they aren't getting enough electrical power, which again, points to a faulty or worn out alternator.
6. Dead Battery - If the alternator fails, the vehicle will quickly use up your battery's capacity, even if it is new. This can completely drain your battery. People will replace their battery but not check their alternator, and this can result in being stranded once again.
If you suspect your alternator is failing, give us a call at 763-497-1677 and we can get your scheduled for a diagnostic test and evaluation.