Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Alternator Belt

alternator belt

Keeping a car’s battery charged is the job of an alternator. Without this key piece of equipment, the battery would die after only a short amount of driving. In order for the alternator to keep charging, it will have to continue to spin. This spinning is made possible by the belt that runs from the pulley on the alternator to the crankshaft. The belt does a very specific job and without it, the alternator will not be able to provide the constant charge the battery needs when the car is running.

The longer that the same alternator belt is on the car, the higher the risk will be that it has to be replaced. The type of belt around your alternator will depend solely on the make of your vehicle. Older cars will use a V-belt for the alternator while newer cars will use a serpentine belt.

1. Battery light is on

When the battery light on your instrument cluster comes on, you will need to pay attention. While this light does not tell you exactly what is wrong with your car’s charging system, it is the first line of defense in getting the issues addressed. Taking a look under the hood is the best way to see if a broken alternator belt is the cause of the battery light being turned on.

2. Dimming or flickering interior lights

The lights on the inside of your car are used primarily during the nighttime hours. When there are problems with the charging system, these lights will usually flicker or become very dim. A broken belt will prohibit the alternator from doing its job and can be the cause of the lights on the interior of your car becoming dim or flickering. Replacing the belt is essential in restoring the lights back to normal.

3. Engine stalls

Without a properly working alternator and alternator belt, the power that the car needs will not be supplied. This means that when the battery dies out, the car will be rendered unusable. Having this happen on the side of a busy road or highway can create a lot of problems. Getting the alternator belt replaced is the only way to get the car back on the road quickly.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...

Related questions

Q: Screaming noise while parking and pulling up slowly on a Suzuki Swift

Here is how you tell if it's a belt. It's really easy. Take them off the car and run it. If the noise goes away, you'll know if it's the belt and then you can put new belts on to...

Q: I have an Altima that stopped accelerating. Battery light and brake light on?

If you have a battery light on then it is most likely the alternator not charging the battery. The brake light may be on since the ABS will not work if the battery voltage drops below 12 volts. You should...

Q: The car stalled out and the battery and oil light came on

When a car has that many miles on it, it could be just about anything. The temptation is to go shooting in the dark and just start replacing parts until the car works again. That method can get very expensive,...