Cars are a necessary part of life. Owning a car means freedom to get around without relying on others for transportation. Cars can be expensive, and keeping them running well can be costly. One common issue is a car that keeps burning alternators.
In this blog post, I’ll discuss why this happens and how you can prevent it from happening in the future. Stay safe on the roads!
Reasons For Why My Car Is Burning Out The Alternators
1. Loose or Worn Serpentine Belt
The serpentine belt is located in the engine bay, typically on the passenger side. It’s a long, flat belt that wraps around all of the engine’s pulleys except the crankshaft pulley.
The tension on the serpentine belt is critical; if it’s too loose, it can slip off the pulleys. A slipping serpentine belt will cause the alternator to spin faster than it should, which puts a strain on the bearings and can cause them to fail.
2. Worn Bearings
Alternators rely on three sets of bearings – two in the back and one in the front. These bearings allow the alternator to spin smoothly and quietly. Over time, these bearings can wear out, causing the alternator to make noise and eventually fail.
3. Dirty or Corroded Connections
The alternator is connected to the battery by two large wires – the positive (red) and the negative (black). These wires can become corroded or dirty, causing poor electrical contact and increased resistance. This resistance can cause the alternator to overheat and eventually fail.
4. Failed Voltage Regulator
The voltage regulator is a small electronic device located inside the alternator. Its job is to regulate the alternator’s voltage output, keeping it within a safe range.
If the voltage regulator fails, it can cause the alternator to overcharge the battery, which can damage the battery or cause other electrical problems.
Alternators are designed to operate within a certain temperature range. If the alternator gets too hot, it can damage the internal components and cause the alternator to fail.
6. Failure of Other Electrical Components
If another electrical component in the car fails, it can strain the alternator and cause it to fail. For example, if the starter motor fails, the engine will not turn over, and the alternator will not charge the battery.
All of these factors can cause the alternator to fail. But, when you notice any of these problems, it’s important to have the alternator checked by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.
How To Fix When The Car Keeps Burning Out Alternators Problem?
1. Check The Voltage
The car battery sometimes does not provide enough power to the alternator, and it can cause it to burn out. To check the voltage of the car battery, use a voltmeter. The voltmeter should read between 12 and 14 volts. If it reads below 12 volts, the battery does not provide enough power and needs replacement.
2. Inspect The Serpentine Belt And Drive Belts
The serpentine belt and drive belts are responsible for transferring power from the engine to the alternator. If these belts are worn or damaged, it can cause the alternator to burn out.
To inspect the belts, look for signs of wear and tear such as cracks, fraying, or missing chunks of material. If the belts are damaged, they will need to be replaced.
3. Replace The Drive Belts
When the drive belts are worn or damaged, they should be replaced. First, disconnect the battery. Next, remove the old drive belts and install new ones. Be sure to use your car’s size and type of belt.
4. Clean The Connection
The connection between the battery and alternator may be dirty or corroded, which can cause the alternator to burn out. To clean the connection, first, disconnect the battery. Next, use a wire brush to remove any dirt or corrosion from the terminals. Finally, reconnect the battery.
5. Have The Alternator Checked
When you have tried all of the above, and the problem persists, it is time to have the alternator checked by a professional mechanic. They can diagnose the problem and determine the best course of action.
What Causes A Brand New Alternator To Go Bad?
Bad alternators usually have one of four primary issues:
1. A loose or damaged drive belt
A loose or damaged drive belt is the most common cause of alternator failure. The drive belt is what turns the alternator pulley, which in turn rotates the alternator rotor. If the drive belt is loose or damaged, it can cause the alternator not to rotate properly and, as a result, not charge the battery.
2. Corroded or damaged terminals
Corroded or damaged terminals are another common cause of alternator failure. The alternator has two main terminals – the battery terminal and the ground terminal. If either terminal is corrupted or damaged, it can prevent the alternator from charging the battery.
3. Internal electrical failure
The alternator has several internal electrical components, including the rectifier, the voltage regulator, and the winding. If any of these components fail, it can prevent the alternator from charging the battery.
4. Bearings going bad
Bearings going bad is the final common cause. The alternator has two bearings – the front bearing and the rear bearing. If either of these bearings goes bad, it can cause the alternator not to rotate properly and, as a result, not charge the battery.
What are the signs of a bad alternator?
A bad alternator can cause several different symptoms. Some of these symptoms may include:
- The engine will not start
- The battery light will come on
- The headlights will dim or flicker
- There will be strange noises coming from the engine
- The car will stall
- There will be a burning smell coming from the engine bay.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to have the alternator checked as soon as possible. A bad alternator can cause serious damage to your car if it is not fixed.
Can An Alternator Fail Suddenly?
An alternator is a vital component in a car’s electrical system, providing power to the battery and charging the electrical system while the engine is running.
However, alternators can and do fail suddenly, without any warning signs. There are some reasons why an alternator can fail, including a failed diode, bearings, or brushes.
When an alternator fails, the battery will eventually run out of power, leaving the car without electrical power and unable to start.
What Causes An Alternator To Overheat?
Overheating is the number one cause of alternator failure. Alternator overheats can cause many problems, from decreased efficiency to complete failure.
There are a few different reasons why an alternator might overheat:
Overloading: When an alternator is overloaded, it will have to work harder to charge the battery and power the electrical system. This can cause the alternator to overheat.
Poor ventilation: If an alternator is not properly ventilated, it can overheat. Make sure there is adequate airflow around the alternator to keep it cool.
Wiring problems: Sometimes, the alternator’s wiring is faulty; it can cause a short circuit. This can lead to overheating and damage to the alternator.
Faulty bearings: When the bearings in the alternator are worn out or damaged, they can cause the alternator to overheat.
What Happens When An Alternator Goes Out While Driving?
An alternator is a key component in a car’s electrical system, responsible for generating the power that keeps the battery charged and the engine running.
If the alternator fails while the engine is running, the battery will eventually run out of power, causing the engine to stall.
In some cases, the engine may continue to run for a short time on battery power alone, but it will eventually die. If this happens while you’re driving, it can be extremely dangerous.
When your car stalls while driving, try to get to the side of the road as soon as possible. Once the car is off, do not try to restart it. This will only drain the battery further. Call a tow truck or roadside assistance to get your car to a safe location.
How Can I Tell If My Battery Or Alternator Is Malfunctioning?
The most common symptom of a failing battery is a dead battery. If your car won’t start, your battery is likely the culprit. However, there are a few other symptoms that can indicate your battery is on its last legs:
- Your car’s electrical accessories (lights, radio, etc.) are dimming or flickering
- Your car is taking longer to start than usual
- Your battery’s terminal connections are corroded
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to have your battery and alternator checked by a professional as soon as possible.
A failing battery can cause all sorts of problems, from leaving you stranded on the side of the road to damaging your car’s electrical system.
How Long Can You Drive With A Bad Alternator?
This is a difficult question because it depends on many factors, including the severity of the alternator problem, the make and model of your car, and your driving habits.
If you have a bad alternator, it is important to get it fixed as soon as possible. A bad alternator can cause several problems, including engine stalling, electrical system problems, and battery problems.
Also, you may be able to drive for a short period, but you will eventually experience problems. Getting your alternator fixed as soon as possible is important to avoid these problems.
James Diaz here; I’ve been working on cars for over 11 years. I live in Memphis, where I work at a repair shop for motor vehicles, and I have also discovered a deep love for writing blog posts. To better serve my clients, I have created this blog in which I will address the questions I am most often asked. I hope that you find what you are looking for, and if you need to get in touch with me, you may do so using my contact page.