It all starts with a few telltale problems: A dash light coming on for a brief moment, maybe dimmed headlights and a few flickering gauges. Perhaps there's even an odd smell, or a growling sound coming from under the hood.
Is this a case of automotive possession? No. Most likely it's one of many possible alternator problems, and without a little attention, this problem can cause car trouble ranging from slow starts all the way up to a dead car.
While an alternator is a relatively simple component containing only a few parts, it plays a critical role in any vehicle's operation. Essentially it turns the mechanical energy of the engine's rotating crank shaft into electricity through induction. Wires within the alternator cut through a magnetic field; this in turn induces electrical current. That current is used to power your car's accessories, which can be anything from headlights to the electro-hydraulic lifts on a snow plow. The alternator also keeps the battery fully charged, providing the power it needs to start the car.
Because the alternator is connected to (and critical for) other vehicle systems, any mechanical auto problems can have an affect on its function and have an affect on diagnosing car problems. However, paying attention to the five trouble signs on this list can make diagnosing car trouble related to the alternator a little easier.
Keep reading to find out what you should be on the lookout for.