Whether you’re driving a truck or a tractor, the alternator is the electrical powerhouse that keeps your engine running, headlights on, and battery charged. But when problems with this vital part pop up, you can count on a serious slowdown — or complete stop. While automotive alternator problems can happen any time of year, Eubanks Auto Electric cautions drivers to be more aware of winter driving risks. To help you avoid total system failure, these De Kalb, TX, technicians highlight a few common ways alternators are affected by the cooler weather.
3 Ways Winter Can Damage Your Alternator
1. Bigger Battery Drain
Dealing with thicker car oil — which is common in cold temperatures — can put a serious drain on a vehicle’s battery. Since this means more power is required to get a car started, the alternator will have to work harder and run longer to deliver a full recharge to the battery. If your alternator isn’t kept in good condition, this extra work may cause more damage. And if you’re using a weak or defective battery, low temperatures could place even more strain on the charging system.
2. Water Problems
Although snow is minimal in the Texarkana area during the winter, there is still plenty of precipitation. If you subject your vehicle or heavy equipment to deep puddles or excessive water exposure, the shaft bearings on the alternator can become damaged. If you hear a tinkering or rumbling sound under the hood, the bearings may need replacing. If they aren’t fixed in a timely fashion, the alternator may seize up and damage other parts of the charging system.
3. Stiff Belts
In colder weather, the serpentine belt can shrink up and become stiffer. When the alternator starts moving, it can place stress on the belt, causing it to become loose. If the belt is damaged or starts slipping, the charging system won’t work properly. Common signs of serpentine belt issues may include dimming headlights, burning rubber smells, or squealing sounds.
When you notice any of these warning signs or the vehicle’s indicator light comes on, seek repair or replacement as soon as possible. Stocked with the largest supply of alternators in the East Texas area, Eubanks Auto Electric is a trusted resource when repairs or replacements are needed. No matter the season, this team of dedicated technicians will quickly assess charging system problems and deliver a solution that keeps your vehicle powered properly. In addition to servicing cars, these specialists can confidently address truck and tractor alternator problems. Learn more about their expertise online, or call (903) 667-2081 to arrange a service appointment.