Your Alternator Working? A Step-by-Step Guide Or Just Call Typarts Mobile Mechanics

Your Alternator Working? A Step-by-Step Guide Or Just Call Typarts Mobile Mechanics

Our car’s alternator is a critical component of its electrical system. It plays a pivotal role in keeping your vehicle’s battery charged and powering various electrical systems while you drive. When your alternator is functioning properly, you won’t have to worry about a dead battery or electrical issues. However, if it starts to fail, it can lead to a host of problems. In this blog, we’ll guide you through the process of checking if your alternator is working or not

Signs of a Failing Alternator

Before we dive into the testing process, it’s essential to be aware of some common signs that your alternator might be failing. Recognizing these symptoms can help you determine whether it’s time for a closer inspection:


  1. Dimming Lights: If your headlights and dashboard lights seem to be dimming, especially when you rev the engine, it could be a sign of an alternator problem.
  2. Warning Light: Most modern cars have a dashboard warning light that looks like a battery. If this light stays on after you start your car or illuminates while driving, it’s a clear indicator of an alternator issue.
  3. Electrical Issues: A failing alternator can lead to various electrical problems, such as power windows or seats moving slowly, or your radio and air conditioning not working correctly.
  4. Strange Noises: Unusual noises, like grinding or whining, coming from the alternator area can be a sign of trouble.


Now, let’s get into the step-by-step process of checking your alternator’s functionality:

Step 1: Safety First

Before you begin, ensure your vehicle is parked in a safe location, the engine is off, and the ignition key is removed. Safety should always be a priority when working on your car.

Step 2: Gather Your Tools

You’ll need a few tools to perform this test:


  • A multimeter
  • A wrench or socket set
  • Safety goggles

Step 3: Locate the Alternator

The alternator is usually located near the front of the engine, connected to the serpentine belt. Refer to your car’s manual or look online for the specific location in your vehicle.

Step 4: Check Battery Voltage

Start by checking the voltage of your car’s battery. Set your multimeter to the DC voltage setting and touch the red probe to the positive battery terminal (marked with a “+”) and the black probe to the negative terminal (“-“). A healthy battery should read around 12.6 volts.

Step 5: Start the Engine

With the multimeter still connected to the battery, start the engine. The voltage should increase to around 13.5-14.5 volts, indicating that the alternator is charging the battery. If the voltage remains close to the initial reading, it suggests a problem with the alternator.

Step 6: Rev the Engine

Rev the engine a bit while monitoring the multimeter. The voltage should increase further, confirming that the alternator is supplying power when the engine runs.

Step 7: Accessory Test

Turn on various electrical accessories such as headlights, air conditioning, and the radio. The voltage should remain stable within the 13.5-14.5 volt range. If it drops significantly, the alternator might be struggling to handle the electrical load.

Step 8: Listen for Unusual Noises

While the engine is running, listen for any unusual noises coming from the alternator. A grinding or whining sound could indicate a failing bearing.


Regularly checking your alternator’s functionality can help you avoid unexpected breakdowns and costly repairs. If your tests reveal that your alternator is failing, it’s best to consult Typarts Mobile Mechanics for further diagnosis and repairs. Remember, a well-maintained alternator is key to a smoothly running vehicle and a hassle-free driving experience.

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