Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: My car has possible alternator problems

asked by on

Hi there, I'll cut right to the chase. I was driving for about 20-30 minutes on the highway when I noticed that the battery light turned on. Moments later, the lights in my dashboard and digital clock started dimming. They dimmed significantly when I turn on the headlights. Eventually, all the lights would dim till they turned off. I turned into a Fred Meyer parking lot and turned it off and to my surprise, when I tried to turn the car back on, the lights were charged up. the next day I replaced the battery because I thought the battery light was pretty much the diagnosis. This has never happened before and am wondering if this could be a possible alternator connection issue or if I need to replace the alternator all together.

Thank you!

My car has 182000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

A: Replacing the battery was a good first move...

Replacing the battery was a good first move, but it may not be the end of your problems. The alternator may not be charging up to it's capacity. You might not notice a problem for a while with a new battery, because the battery will pick up the slack as long as you're not driving for a long time with all the accessories going. But it will catch up to you and at an inconvenient time. You need to have the charging system load tested to make sure it's performing up to it's designed level. You can have that done at your home or office by contacting Your Mechanic. They can send you a technician to check out your charging system and advise you on what to do next.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Odometer not working

The speedometer on your car is driven by a cable coming off the transmission. If the speedometer works, but the odometer does not, the problem is in the gauge itself. It can be replaced, or some specialty shops may repair...

Q: Motor ticking and stalling

Initially, check the engine oil for correct level and smell it for a gas smell. If the engine oil level is low, add oil until it is correct. If it smells like gas, then you likely have another issue. Regardless,...

Q: Clutch problem 1991 Acura Integra

Hi there - if in fact your transmission is still locked in gear, this would be the correct behavior. If the shifter linkage has failed with the transmission still in gear; or the clutch is dragging or the pilot bearing...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.