Alternator Failure: Everything You Need to Know About This Serious Car Issue

What Is an Alternator?

It’s easy to assume that your battery provides the power for your dashboard lights, charging ports, heated seats, radio, headlights, electrical steering, windshield wipers, power windows, and engine ignition. However, that’s not entirely the truth. Although your car battery has more capacity than your trusty iPhone, it still needs to be charged — and that’s exactly what your alternator does.

Your vehicle’s alternator works with the battery to supply the electricity that powers your car’s accessories and electrical systems. It turns mechanical energy into electrical energy stored in your battery through a spinning pulley. If you have a bad alternator, your battery won’t have the energy to run your car’s electrical components — let alone start your car.

What Are the Risks of Driving With a Failing Alternator?

Your car won’t move an inch when you suffer an alternator failure. You’ll have a dead battery and a stalled vehicle. To make you mindful of the need to regularly check on the condition of your alternator, Kids Car Donations has compiled the risks of driving with a bad alternator:

  1. It can drain or destroy your battery.

A failing alternator won’t produce enough volts to keep your battery charged. Although an alternator is designed to maintain a battery’s charge, it’s not meant to recharge a dead battery. Consequently, draining your battery will cause your car not to start or run.

  1. It can cause damage to your engine.

Modern vehicles with electric water pumps present an even greater danger when the alternator fails. If the alternator goes out, the water pump will fail, and the car engine will overheat. Since newer cars also have electric fuel pumps, the pumps and the motor will stop. The same goes for the brakes and ignition.

  1. It can compromise your safety.

Driving with a faulty alternator poses potential safety hazards. Since your vehicle’s electrical systems rely on the battery to run, a drained battery won’t power your electrical steering. If your car runs out of juice while driving, it will stall. Needless to say, a drained battery due to a failing alternator can be dangerous when your steering effort goes up at highway speeds or when you’re driving in areas with multiple turns in quick succession.


Common Signs of Alternator Failure

You can avoid the risks of alternator failure by staying alert to its early warning signs. They include the following:

  1. Dimming or flickering headlights

When your headlights dim while you are slowing down and get brighter when you accelerate, your alternator is the likely culprit.

  1. Stalling or difficulty starting

If you have to try to start your car many times to get the engine going or your car stalls out, you probably have a failing alternator, although this could also be due to a dying battery. Your mechanic will be able to tell which of these two issues is the problem.

  1. Malfunctioning electronics in your car

Since the alternator helps control the electrical elements in your car, experiencing electrical malfunctions is a sign that your alternator is on the way out. The malfunctions you may experience include your car’s power windows or locks working slower than usual.


How You Can Prevent an Alternator Failure

Alternators may last at least up to five years if they don’t get damaged earlier. The best way to prevent alternator damage and failure is to ensure regular inspections and maintenance of this vital auto part as well as others at least twice a year.

You should only take your vehicle to a repair shop that specializes in the brand and model of the car you’re using. The mechanics in specialty auto shops usually have intense training in the particular make and model of your car. In addition, they use special tools made just for your vehicle.


Put Your Unwanted Car to Good Use This Way

If a failing alternator is just one of the many problems plaguing your vehicle, you’d probably be better off without it. There’s no point in wasting money trying to fix a car that has already spent its best years on the road.

Consider donating that vehicle to us at Kids Car Donations. We’ll use your auto donation to provide medical assistance to indigent kids and teens in your community who are battling serious health challenges.

We’ll sell your car through an auction and use the proceeds to support the child healthcare programs of our charity partners. Thanks to your donation, these IRS-approved 501(c)(3) nonprofits will be able to provide more of their young beneficiaries with access to free comprehensive and quality medical assistance, including emotional support, pediatric treatment, and relief of pain and trauma.

As a donor, you’ll be entitled to claim the highest possible tax deduction in the next tax season. You’ll also have the privilege to enjoy our free pick-up and towing service any day, anytime, and any place you prefer.

Even more valuable than these material rewards, you’ll get to experience the satisfaction of making a charitable contribution that can help bring ailing children back to good health.

We accept nearly all types of vehicles whatever their makes, models, ages, and conditions. Feel free to donate your camper, motorcycle, boat, sedan, or whatever unwanted vehicle you have. Since we operate in all 50 states, you can process your donation wherever you are in the country.

Check out our FAQs page or write to us here to get more information about our vehicle donation program, including our quick and easy donation process.


Be the Hero You Were Meant to Become Today!

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Through your car donation, you can help sick youngsters regain their health. You could be the hero they’ve been waiting for. Call Kids Car Donations at 866-634-8395 or fill out our secure online donation form now!