1. Dimming or flickering lights
An alternator provides power to the headlights and interior lights of your equipment. When your alternator's life is beginning to diminish, it will send less power to your equipment's lights. As it sends less power, your lights will start to dim and/or flicker.
2. Burning smells
As the alternator's life declines, the drive belt may be overworked and be under constant strain and friction. This friction will create heat and produce the smell of burning rubber.
Not only is the belt under extra friction, but so are the wires. This friction will cause damage to your wires and you may start to smell an odor similar to an electrical fire. If this happens, check your alternator right away!
3. Grinding or whining noises
When your alternator is failing, the belt is being overworked causing it to become misaligned or damaged. As this happens, it is common to hear grinding or whining noises coming from under the hood of your equipment.
4. Trouble starting
Your equipment relies on the alternator to charge the battery by providing power to the spark plugs. If the alternator is having a difficult time sending power to the spark plugs, your equipment may stall, have trouble starting, or have a dead battery.
5. Other electrical defects
Additional warning signs of a malfunctioning alternator include warning or indicator lights and electrical problems. Some common electrical issues consist of failing battery powered windows, locks and radio. Moreover, the displays on your dashboard will often indicate an issue with your alternator. Look out for the battery light or the lights titled “ALT” or “GEN”. If one of these lights shows up, immediately check your alternator.