An alternator is a simple and supplementary, sometimes central, component found in many engines, not just in cars. It only has a few parts; but it plays such a huge role in the vehicle's operation. To put it in plainly, it turns mechanical energy generated by the crankshaft to electricity through induction. That converted energy is used to power the car's accessories, which can be anything from side mirrors to the fully automatic adjustable seats. The alternator also keeps the battery fully charged, providing the power it needs to operate the various parts in the car that need power. Because the alternator supplies the juice to almost every electrical component it is connected with, any problems coming from it certainly affect, not just its function, but also other systems in the vehicle. Paying attention to the alerts of an ailing alternator is essential for keeping the blues away.
This is the easiest, most obvious alert to spot and hardest to ignore at the same time. Most cars already have a dedicated signal for an alternator issue, including the Jeep Commander. It might flash in a shape of a battery, ALT, or GEN. Often times, people mistake this as a battery problem. However, this is not the case. This light is linked with the voltage output monitoring the alternator. Any deviation in the pre-set output will cause this light to come on. For instance, if you turn any electrical accessory in your car on, the signal light up and stays on. Afterwards, turning it off makes the signal disappear. This means the alternator might not be able to deliver the required voltage output anymore.
Another alert of an ailing alternator comes in the form of dimming headlights. Alternators in perfect condition are most definitely able to regulate enough power to make all accessories work. However, when an alternator starts to fail, it begins to send low power. Once the headlights experience erratic lighting, the alternator might be in its final leg.
The senses could also help to identify alerts from an ailing alternator. For example, a "whining" or "growling" sound is heard once an alternator gives up. This is because of the serpentine belt that spins the pulley of the alternator. When the pulley becomes misaligned or worn out, the bearings and bushings in the alternator will produce that distinct sound. In addition, a scent of burning rubber can give off an alert of an ailing alternator. A pulley that isn't turning well can cause friction on the serpentine belt. A burnt wire smell can also be a warning of an overheated alternator.