How to Avoid Alternator Failure in a Honda in Lowellby Mechanics Direct July 4, 2022
The alternator’s function in your Honda is to provide electrical energy for all the electrical components and recharge your battery while the engine is running. Your vehicle’s electrical system will become unusable when it fails since they all need its current to run.
Ultimately, you may have trouble starting your engine because the battery also requires alternator power to recharge after every start cycle. Thus, you must avoid its failure at all costs. Keep reading as we discuss the causes and symptoms of a failing alternator.
Causes of a Failing Alternator
- Worn out carbon brush or old alternator: The alternator’s job in your vehicle is to feed the electrical system with energy and recharge the battery. However, the continuous usage of the alternator causes the wear down of the system, which may begin to hinder its efficient functioning. The average lifespan of an alternator is between 5 to 8 years. If you’ve had electrical problems for so long, your alternator may just be worn out and has to be replaced. Oftentimes, the damage could also be due to worn-out carbon brushes.
- Broken Serpentine Belt: A closer look at the alternator reveals a belt and pulley system that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. The alternator pulley is connected to a serpentine belt that runs off the engine’s crankshaft. The rotor’s movement spins a set of magnets around a coil, generating alternating current (AC), which is then converted to DC by the alternator’s rectifier. The serpentine belt may fail after an extended period of use, consequently causing the breakdown of the alternator.
- Computer System Error: Computer systems, such as the Engine Control Unit (ECU), are standard in newer vehicles. Virtually every car component, including the alternator, is managed by these systems. Even if the alternator is in good condition, a fault or error with the computer system could prevent it from charging correctly.
Symptoms of a Failing Alternator
- Illumination of the battery light: Your vehicle will notify you if there is an issue with the charging system or the battery by triggering the battery light on your dashboard. As a result, it could be a warning that the alternator isn’t supplying enough voltage to charge the battery or the battery properly isn’t holding charge. Whichever is the case, you want to have a closer inspection before it renders your vehicle unusable.
- Dead Battery: The alternator performs two functions: providing energy to the electrical system and recharging your vehicle battery. If the alternator fails, it stops supplying current to the electrical systems, and the battery cannot recharge. Consequently, the reserve in the battery will be used to power the electrical components until the battery depletes. You need to get the issue fixed before it also damages your battery.
- Stalling Engine: The battery will no longer be able to supply sufficient current to power the starter motor during the ignition process. Thus, the ignition system will not be able to complete the start cycle.
- Noises of Bearing: Noise from an alternator is one of the first signs that it is failing. The bearing inside the alternator is usually the culprit. The alternator bearings are on the outer shaft, and one is within the alternator for the rotor. When the shaft bearing begins to fail, you will hear a squealing or screeching noise while driving. When the bearing wears out, it will likely cause the alternator to fail.
- Dim headlights: You may notice that your headlights or interior lights are no longer bright as they used to be. This is an indicator that the alternator cannot meet the energy demands of the electrical system.
- Problems with Electric Accessories: Many automobile attachments require a significant amount of voltage. When the alternator fails, features like heated seats, the air conditioner blower motor, power windows, and even the radio will work intermittently or not at all.
Bring your Honda to Mechanics Direct for Quality Repairs
If you live in Lowell, MA and have any issue with your Honda, Mechanics Direct is here to help! We have specialized tools to handle both routine maintenance and repairs. For over twenty years, we have provided high-quality services to drivers in Lowell and the surrounding areas of North Chelmsford, Chelmsford, Dracut, Tyngsborough, and Westford.
Our technicians are ASE-certified and have years of experience in providing the best care for your vehicle. Please call or visit us for your next service appointment. We are happy to win your repeat business!