Taking care of a car is just as difficult as maintaining a house, because there are always things to look out for. You need to prevent problems from happening, but also deal with them when they occur. One of the essential components of a car is the alternator, because it transforms the engine’s mechanical energy into electricity. In this article we will show you how to distinguish alternator problems, so you know when and how to act immediately to prevent the car from breaking down, or having other functions inside it stop.The alternator is quite a simple component in a vehicle, being constructed out of a few simple parts, but its role is important. There are wires within the alternator which run through a magnetic field, creating electrical current. This current is essential for the good functioning of the car’s accessories, such as headlights or dashboard lights. Moreover, the alternator ensures the car’s battery is always supplied with energy, so the driver can start the car without trouble. There are a few main signs of alternator problems, and we are going to see what they are.If you are lucky, your car will be fitted with a special light indicating alternator problems. The light on the dashboard can be shaped like a battery, or show the letters “GEN” or “ALT”; this light is connected to the car’s computer systems, which, among others, will measure whether the alternator’s voltage output is in normal standards. If the output is lower or higher than it’s supposed to be, the light will come on. However, this light may only flicker or come up only when certain accessories are activated, so make sure to pay attention, because troubles with the alternator may be imminent.Another sign of alternator problems may be when the car’s headlights aren’t as strong as they should be. This is an obvious result of an alternator problem, because it is responsible with supplying the car’s electrical requirements. Brighter headlights than usual could indicate the same problem, and so could the stopping of the tachometers or speedometers. As a driver, you mustn’t only rely on the car to tell you or signal when something is wrong; you must use your senses and experience and try to “listen” to what the car is “saying”. For example, use your eyes to detect whether something is amiss under the hood; you may find that the alternator belt is loose or broken.You may also hear if the car has trouble, as many drivers hear growling sounds right before tracing alternator problems; your nose should also be helpful in this matter, as you may smell burning or smoke, which can appear with something malfunctions. One of the more confusing signs of alternator problems is a dead battery, but then you need to delve in some investigations, as it just might be a bad battery that needs replacing.It may also occur that the alternator works just fine, but the car’s battery is dead and no other electrical accessories seem to function. This probably means that some essential connections are loose or broken altogether. These are the basic signs of alternator problems which you can watch out for in order to maintain your car at optimum functioning.