Car Service

What Happens When The Alternator Dies?

The bottom line is that when your alternator dies, your car dies. Well, not forever, but you certainly can’t get to where you need to be at the moment. The good news is that usually, you have some warning signs show up before you are completely stuck and broken down. Larry’s Independent Service wants to help you at least avoid a costly tow or worse damage, so we’ve compiled a list of the significant warning signs to get you out ahead of a potentially dangerous day. 

Your alternator is responsible for supplying your vehicle’s electrical power. When it stops, then your battery no longer can recharge. When your battery isn’t working right, then there’s not enough power to charge the spark plugs, and that’s all folks, you’re not going anywhere. Even if you can get your car started again with a jump, you probably won’t get very far. 

Warning signs:

  1. A warning light on your dash. ALT or GEN are the common ones and when this light shows up, get in to see your auto mechanic ASAP even if your vehicle isn’t experiencing any of these other signs.
  2. If you’re having trouble starting of your vehicle keeps stalling out.
  3. When your headlights seem dim or the start to dim as you are driving.
  4. Any other electrical challenges such as your CD player swallowing a CD, or your electrical windows not functioning right, or maybe your moon/sunroof getting stuck. With all the cool new gadgets we see in more modern vehicles, these are often the first signs that something else, like your alternator, isn’t working right. 
  5. A strange smell can also be an indicator that your engine is working too hard because the alternator is beginning to give out. 
  6. Growling or whining sound is coming from your engine can be a sign that it’s beginning to fail. 
  7. A dead battery might just be a dead battery, but make sure your alternator is checked out when having your battery replaced.

These are the top signs of a failing alternator that just might help keep you on the road. Just make sure not to ignore the signs and let us help you check out any drivability issue or a warning sign that something is wrong with your vehicle. We’d love to help! Schedule your appointment today or visit us at 25721 Taladro Circle Unit A, Mission Viejo, CA 92691. Or give us a call to set up get your alternator checked out.   


Larry's Independent Service is committed to ensuring effective communication and digital accessibility to all users. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone, and apply the relevant accessibility standards to achieve these goals. We welcome your feedback. Please call Larry's Independent Service (949) 830-4204 if you have any issues in accessing any area of our website.