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In this guide, I will be sharing useful tips on how to fix a squeaky alternator bearing.
We know that a squeaky bearing can be irritating, not to mention that it can indicate a much bigger problem.
Fortunately, you can fix the problem if you know where to look and what to change.
In this article, I shall be guiding you through how an alternator bearing squeak sounds like and highlight some of the reasons you may experience these sounds.
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I will also go over the available solutions and quick fixes you can put into good use when you want to stop the squeak.
What Does A Bad Bearing In An Alternator Sound Like?
If the bad bearing is worn out, you will hear a whining or grinding noise coming from the vehicle.
Alternator bearings mostly malfunction due to accumulated dirt or too much heat.
If the alternator is not mounted correctly, a loose bolt could lead to a squeaky irritating noise.
You should consider this if you just had your alternator bearing installed.
A loose or worn-out alternator belt will cause some disgusting noises.
Worn-out alternator belts need to be replaced and the new piece fixed right to eliminate the loud grinding noise.
How Do I Know If My Alternator Bearings Are Bad?
Alternators are responsible for generating the power needed for lights, among other electronics in your car.
They also ensure that the battery remains charged even when your car is parked.
The alternator bearings keep the rotor in the alternator moving so enough power is generated.
Therefore, if you notice a drop in power, you should have your alternator checked.
In addition to the low power, you will also hear a squeaky irritating noise if the bearings malfunction.
If you experience these two, take your car to the mechanic as soon as possible.
An alternator bearing issue should be addressed immediately since it can lead to greater problems that will cost you an arm and a leg to repair.
You do not want to ignore the bearing noise only to find yourself in the middle of nowhere with a car that will not start.
To be sure that the bearings are the problem, try to jumpstart your car and then take the plugs off.
If the engine dies, the alternator is the problem.
In case the engine continues running, then you are dealing with a battery problem.
Ways On How To Fix A Squeaky Alternator Bearing
Now that you know how bad alternator bearings sound like and ways on how you can inspect them, let have a look at different ways on how you can fix.
Replace The Bearings
If the bearings are worn out, the easiest way to fix the squeak is by replacing them.
Below is the process to follow when you want to replace the bearings.
Shut the engine off
You can only know what to do with the alternator bearing if you know its condition. This is why a physical examination is important.
While checking, ensure that the engine is off. Putting your hand in the alternator when the engine is running can lead to injuries, so you want to be careful about that.
Loosen the belt
Once the engine is off, raise the hood of your car and locate the fan belt. Remove the belt to have a better view of the alternator bearings.
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Inspect the bearings
Now that you can see the bearings, it is easy to diagnose the problem. The alternator rarely malfunctions, so the first place you should check is the bearings.
You test the bearings but rotating the alternator with one hand as you touch the bearings with the other hand.
In case you hear the grinding noise as you rotate the alternator and the bearing feels rough to your fingers, then you have found your problem. Worn-out alternator bearings tend to be rough or course, which explains why they make that much noise as they rotate.
Replace the bearings
If the bearings are worn out, you have no choice but to replace them. However, getting bearings to match your alternator can be quite a task, and even the replacements will not last as long.
For a temporary solution, you can ask your mechanic to get bearings for your alternator.
Replace The Alternator
New bearings are just a temporary solution. Eventually, you need to buy the whole unit.
While the cost of an alternator might be higher than that of the bearings, it is a worthy investment.
A good alternator will offer exemplary performance for five-plus years, so you might want to consider how long your current piece has served you.
Replacing the alternator can be somehow complex if you don’t have experience in the same.
It is wise to engage a mechanic who will ensure that it is fixed right and all other parts are in perfect condition.
Tighten The Bolts
If the alternator bearing seemed fine when you checked them, you should check if the alternator is fitted correctly.
Sometimes, the bolts holding the alternator may come loose.
This is caused by car vibrations as you drive, especially on rough surfaces.
With a basic socket set, you can quickly tighten the bolts and rectify the squeak.
Replace The Alternator Belt
It is also possible that the alternator belt is worn out. While modern belts are designed to last, they will eventually weaken over time.
To see whether the belt is the problem, check it for any physical sign of wear.
Unlike the old belts that used to tear, modern belts just weaken at specific points.
If you see weak points, remove the belt and remove it. The process is easy, and you can easily order an alternator belt online.
Before removing the belt, take a photo of the set-up to know what goes where when fixing the new belt.
How Long will a Noisy Alternator last?
According to research, a well-functioning alternator will last up to 7 seven years or approximately, 100,000-150,000 miles. (Source)
However, this depends on a various of factors including brand, type of car, and the conditions in which the alternator is used.
It is hard to put a specific duration as this will depend on the cause, how bad the situation is, and your car.
It may take months before you experience anything more than the grinding noise, or your car may just die on your in the middle of the highway.
While an alternator is a small part of your car, it plays a crucial role.
So once you get an alert on your dashboard or hear the squeaky noise, you should start making plans to have it fixed.
A faulty alternator may also damage your car battery and cause other severe damages.
If you cannot have the entire alternator fixed at the moment, get a mechanic to install new bearings.
An alternator will cost you anywhere between $25 and $40. A mechanic will charge you between $500 and $700 to install a new one.
If you can replace the faulty bearings and then have the alternator changed during your regular maintenance visit, you will save yourself a few hundred dollars.
On How To Fix A Squeaky Alternator Bearing
A squeaky alternator always indicates a malfunction that needs your attention.
Fortunately, it is easy to fix if you understand the problem and have the right tools for the job.
Once you identify where the problem is, follow the steps to help you understand how fix a squeaky alternator bearing.
Some of them are easy to accomplish, while others may require a certain level of specialized skills.
Even if you don’t plan to fix the alternator problem yourself, it always good to know what is going on and the options you have at your disposal.
With the right information, it becomes easier to make the best decisions for your car and pockets.