Things to Know About Alternator Replacement - information from the the pros at Shingle Springs Subaru

On many cars, the alternator will last the whole life of the vehicle. However, like many parts on a vehicle such as the radiator, the fuel pump, even the transmission, time and mileage can cause them to wear out. In some cases, it might be financially savvy to replace the alternator on your car if the electrical system is giving you trouble. If you have a high-mileage vehicle that's been well taken care of with a durable Subaru BOXER® engine, a new alternator might help you get thousands and thousands more miles out of your Subaru. Below, we'll tell you some of the symptoms that might indicate alternator trouble, as well as what can be done to fix it.

Headlights In Fog

5. Weak Or Flickering Headlights

Any problem that involves electrical components like lights, audio equipment or climate controls could ultimately be traced to a bad alternator. One of the most common you'll see first is headlights that are dim and may even flicker or fade as you drive. This is because either the battery is unable to hold a charge or the alternator is unable to keep it charged with power from the engine. You'll want to have the vehicle inspected to rule out the possibility of other problems, like bad headlight bulbs, but a quick battery and alternator test will likely reveal the source of the problem.

Dashboard Warning Lights

4. Electrical Accessories Don't Work Correctly

As mentioned above, if the stereo, climate controls or other lighting functions of the car don't work or only work intermittently, bad wiring or a faulty alternator could be to blame. Faulty wiring is difficult and time-consuming to locate and repair, but a bad alternator is a quick and easy diagnosis.

3. Engine Stalls Or Dies As You Drive

If the battery on your car is in good shape and holds a strong charge, it might get you going in the morning -- even if the alternator is weak. If the alternator is too weak to keep the battery charged as you drive, this can even cause problems with the spark ignition system causing the engine to stall. Engine stalling usually means either fuel or spark has stopped getting to the engine. Without a steady charge from the battery supported by the alternator, the spark plugs won't fire and the engine will stall.

Testing Car Battery

2. Battery Will Not Charge

Your battery can be tested to see if it holds a charge. If we can charge it and test it at our shop and determine it's healthy, but it won't charge while it's in your car, chances are the alternator in your car will need to be replaced or repaired. In many cases, the most affordable option is a remanufactured OEM alternator. New electrical components are installed in a cleaned and prepped used alternator so it's just about as good as new! In some cases, we may even be able to repair your existing alternator, such as by replacing a bad pulley or bearings.

1. Engine Fails To Start

If the engine in your car won't start when you turn the key, chances are the battery doesn't have enough juice to power the starter motor. This can point to a bad alternator if the battery itself is good. No matter what symptom you're experiencing, we can verify the cause and fix it with the highest quality components at the Shingle Springs Subaru service department. To find out more, speak with a technician. Certain symptoms can help us pinpoint the cause of the issue with your vehicle and help us provide an accurate estimate.