28 September 2020 · Motoring Tips & Advice

Driving with a bad alternator | Phil Gilbert Hyundai

There are a few key components that help run the electrical systems of your car. The alternator is one of them, helping to power the electrical systems as well as keep your car battery charged. But what happens when your alternator fails? Worse, what if it fails while you’re on the road? Here’s what you need to know.

Recognising a failing alternator

First, it's important to know when you’re having alternator troubles. The easiest would be the indicator lights. Almost every car nowadays has a warning light on the dashboard. If the alternator indicator is on, then you would know you have problems with your alternator. Usually, this light is in the form of a battery or as ALT.

If you’re having problems with your headlights it might also point to an alternator issue since that’s what gives it power. Similarly, electrical problems with other systems such as radio, internal lighting, and power seats may indicate your alternator is failing.

You can also look for any smells like burning rubber or electrical fires. The alternator works with several belts inside your car. As such, any irregular movements that generate friction may cause the belts to heat up. Additionally, dead battery and car starting issues may also attribute to a failing alternator.

If all of the above checks out listen for any strange noises, if any. Any rattling, whining and grinding sounds may translate to alternator issues.

Driving with a bad alternator

When an alternator goes bad the car battery gets drained fast. Usually, cars with bad alternators can be driven safely for a short period of time, but a failed alternator means that you can only drive for as long as the battery has charge – which could be enough to get you to the nearest service station.

So, in case you’re unlucky enough to come across this issue while driving, there are few important things you should do. First, turn off all auxiliary items. This includes radio, air conditioner, internal lights, headlights, and windshield wipers. Avoid driving in congested areas. Pull up on the side of the road or a parking lot until traffic recedes. Turn on your emergency lights. This will let other drivers know that you’re having trouble. Try getting your car to the closest service station. If not, call for road side assistance [MB1] who will tow your car to a service centre.

The Phil Hilbert Hyundai premium service

There’s no way around your alternator problem. If you’re lucky, you could pay attention to the warning signs and get it fixed just in time. Else, you may need a mechanic’s assistance to get your car towed to a service station. Either way, faulty alternators need to be replaced, sooner rather than later.

Our team of professionals at Phil Gilbert Hyundai have been serving the automobile industry in Australia for over a decade. We specialise in all your Hyundai car essentials, including getting your alternator problems fixed. Come visit Phil Gilbert Hyundai today. You can also book here, call us on (02) 9735 8400 or contact us here.