How to Spot a Damaged Alternator in Your BMWby techplusaadmin October 5, 2018
What does your BMW’s alternator do?
Your BMW’s alternator is a crucial element that helps to provide various systems and components with power. As a part of the electrical system, the alternator is responsible for converting power from the crankshaft and transmitting it through electrical components. For instance, the alternator is the sole power source that aids in recharging your car’s battery as you drive – that’s why after you jump start a battery you need to drive around the block a few times to allow the alternator to recharge it. As you can see, the alternator is an important component in your BMW that must be cared for and maintained over time.
Symptoms of alternator failure to be aware of
Noticing the signs of alternator failure is not always simple; sometimes symptoms may mimic the signs of part failure that is completely unassociated with the alternator. Therefore, it’s essential for your BMW automotive shop to perform a differential diagnosis to rule out other potential causes of the following symptoms often accompanying alternator failure:
Dashboard warning lights
Your BMW is a highly intelligent mechanism. Equipped with various sensors and an on board computer. These components help detect when your BMW encounters a performance issue, such as a failing alternator, if you notice the “ALT” light come on in your dash, it must be diagnosed right away.
Noticing performance issues in your BMW can be devastating, and the performance-related symptoms associated with alternator failure can often be confused for ignition problems. Here are a few that you’ll want to have thoroughly checked out to isolate the alternator as the source:
Stalling – If your engine cannot sustain the power it needs to continue driving, you may encounter stalling. This is dangerous and problematic for drivers.
Starting problems – Getting your engine enough power to start means that the battery must be charged. If you notice your BMW won’t start, it’s easy to automatically assume it’s because of a dead battery; however, the problem may be traced back to an issue with the alternator.
Odd sounds – Usually you won’t notice odd noises, like rattling, as the primary symptom of alternator failure; however, if the engine becomes compromised as a result of alternator problems, it can certainly lead to concerning noises alongside the other above-mentioned symptoms.
It goes without saying that you’ll likely experience electrical problems in your BMW when you encounter alternator failure. Here are some of the most prominent electrical problems drivers experience:
Accessory failure – It is most common for drivers to notice their accessories malfunctioning before any other more serious symptoms arise. If your navigation or radio isn’t working properly, it could be related to a faulty alternator.
Dimmed or flickering headlights – Since your headlights require power from the alternator to perform well, it’s common to experience issues with them if the alternator begins failing.
Power window failure – You might not notice until you’re in the drive-thru at your local fast-food restaurant that your windows don’t work without a functioning alternator – what an inconvenience!
Power door lock failure – A safety hazard and total hassle, failing door locks due to a bad alternator is one of the more annoying symptoms to deal with.
AC problems – Brace yourself for the summer months if you have a failing alternator – going without air conditioning due to a bad alternator can make the summer heat a real challenge.
What you can do to prevent alternator failure in your BMW
• Hire an automotive repair shop that specializes in servicing BMW vehicles.
• Use only the highest-quality, manufacturer-recommended parts in your BMW.
• Perform routine inspections and services for your alternator throughout the year, especially before summer and winter months of the year.
• Report any concerning symptoms to your automotive shop immediately – waiting can leave you without a reliable mode of transportation, or can cause more damage, leading to more repair bills.
Here at Tech Plus Automotive, we service BMW vehicles from all over the areas of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, and McCormick Ranch, AZ, giving us a wide range of experience attending to alternator issues in all types of BMW models. Over the years we’ve built a reputation in our community for our thorough diagnostics and attention to detail in the repair and maintenance processes. To learn more about our shop or to schedule an inspection of your alternator, please call one of our BMW specialists today.
* BMW E46 image credit goes to: kurmyshov.
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