When you own a vehicle, it's in your best interest to be able to quickly identify signs of trouble. Many automotive issues give you warning signs before they occur, which means that you'll have time to react before the issue leaves you stranded on the side of the road or costs you even more money to repair. You might not know much about your vehicle's alternator, but you'll want to know some of the indicators that suggest it's wearing out. You won't get far with a dead alternator, so identifying these warning signs will allow you to make a detour toward the nearest auto repair garage. Here are some warning signs that you might encounter.
Dashboard Warning Lights Come On
While a warning light on your dashboard typically comes on when a specific part of your vehicle is acting up, an alternator that is wearing out can cause many of the dashboard warning lights to come on simultaneously. You might initially panic, thinking that numerous things are going wrong with your vehicle at the same time, but this issue is typically the result of an alternator problem. When the alternator is dying, adequate power isn't getting where it needs to go, and this can result in the illumination of the warning lights.
Your Car Dies After Starting
When a vehicle stops running after it's been started, many people make the mistake of thinking that the battery is bad. While it may be true that the battery is in bad shape, another potential cause of this issue is a bad alternator. If it's not putting enough power back into the battery, the battery will die. Don't be in a rush to replace your battery, as doing so can be expensive and may be unnecessary. Instead, visit your local repair shop to have your alternator tested.
You Lose Power Steering
Your vehicle's power steering is one element that receives power from the alternator, so if there's an alternator issue, you'll quickly know about it when you attempt to turn the steering wheel. You may be driving along and preparing to turn or merge; if you suddenly need plenty of forearm strength to do so, it's a sign of a bad alternator. While you might be able to drive the vehicle to a nearby repair shop, the alternator will often be dead by the time your power steering goes, and this means that you may need to park and call a towing service.
Talk with a company like Felix's Auto Repair & Towing for more help.