Can A Bad Alternator Cause Transmission Problems?

Have you been wondering can a bad alternator cause transmission problems? The answer to your question is yes, an alternator can affect a modern car’s transmission. In this article, we’ll be discussing this question in detail.

What Are The Signs Of The Failing Alternator?

1. Dim Or Overly Bright Lights:-

When an alternator begins to fail, it provides inconsistent voltage to your electronic accessories. Generally, that takes the form of under- or over-performing equipment, such as headlights that are either too dim or extremely bright. You may also experience flickering lights or lights that erratically go from bright to dim and vice-versa.

2. Dead Battery:-

Sometimes a dead battery is just a dead battery it’s reached the end of its life after a few years of use — or maybe you accidentally left the headlights on all night. Other times, however, a dead battery could be a sign that your alternator is malfunctioning.

A bad alternator won’t sufficiently charge the battery while the engine is running, causing the charge to deplete faster than usual. One way to test whether the issue is battery- or alternator-related is to jumpstart the car. If you jumpstart your car and it stays running, your battery may need replacing soon. However, if you jumpstart the car and it dies again shortly after, it might mean your alternator isn’t getting enough power to the battery.

3. Slow Or Malfunctioning Accessories:-

An alternator that isn’t supplying enough power to your car’s electronics often results in slow or non-working accessories. If you notice your windows taking longer than usual to roll up or down, or if your seat warmers feel “off”, or even if your speedometer and other instruments start going haywire, you may have an alternator problem.

Many modern vehicles also have a priority list of equipment programmed into the car that tells the onboard computer where to cut power first if the alternator isn’t supplying enough electricity. That way, if you’re driving with a failing alternator, you’ll lose power to your radio or other nonessential accessories before losing power to your headlights.

4. Trouble Starting Or Frequent Stalling:-

As previously mentioned, trouble starting your engine might mean that your alternator is failing to charge the battery. On the other hand, if your car is frequently stalling out while driving, it may be a sign that the spark plugs aren’t getting enough power from the alternator to keep the engine running.

5. Growling Or Whining Noises:-

Cars make a ton of odd sounds some are harmless while others can indicate serious mechanical problems. If you ever hear growling or whining noises coming from under the hood, you could have alternator problems. This sounds occurs when the belt that turns the alternator’s pulley becomes misaligned or rubs against the side of the pulley.

6. Smell Of Burning Rubber Or Wires:-

A foul odor of burning rubber or wires could indicate that parts of your alternator are starting to wear out. Because the alternator’s drive belt is under constant tension and friction and because it’s close to the hot engine it may wear out over time and emit an unpleasant burning rubber smell. Similarly, if your alternator is being overworked or if it has frayed or damaged wires, you may smell a burning odor comparable to an electrical fire.

Therefore, these are some signs of the bad or failing alternator in your car.

What Happens When The Alternator Goes Bad While Driving?

A bad alternator will result in a discharged (dead) battery and cause a vehicle to not start or run. Your alternator’s job is to maintain a consistent charge on your battery. Draining your car’s battery is not advised.

Can A Bad Alternator Cause Transmission Problems?

If you have a faulty alternator and the vehicle battery gets low on voltage then the computer may not shift the transmission gears correctly and cause other drive symptoms like stalling or surges and rough shifts. Engine and transmission may even go into failure mode and cause various drive symptoms.

Here’s the answer for your question can a bad alternator cause transmission problems? Refer the above-mentioned video.

Will Your Car Start If The Alternator Is Bad?

Cranking Troubles And Frequent Engine Stalls A failing alternator will have trouble charging the battery. In turn, the car battery won’t have enough power to start the vehicle. The car’s alternator is the likely root cause for stalling the engine after a jump-start.

Can A Bad Ground Cause Transmission Problems?

If you’re wondering can a bad ground or can a bad alternator cause transmission problems? Then, yes both issues can cause bad engine grounds to cause severe damage. If too much current tries to find proper ground unsuccessfully, it will choose an easy path through transmission components, transmission cable, throttle cable, wheel bearings, and narrow ground wires, causing severe damage to these and other components.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix An Alternator?

It’s typical for a typical alternator repair to run you between $300-$500 dollars, depending on your vehicle. This is for a re-manufactured alternator with labor included.

A new alternator on the other hand, can run you anywhere between $600-$800. The problem isn’t the part itself, which shouldn’t set you back more than a few hundred. It’s the labor.

What To Do When Experiencing Alternator Trouble?

If you’re noticing troubles with your car’s alternator, your best bet would be to arrange for a mechanic to come over and take a look ASAP. We recommend having a professional mechanic come to your driveway since driving with a faulty alternator can lead to additional, more expensive problems.

However, ensure that your mechanic:

1. Is ASE-certified

2. Offers a service warranty

3. Uses only high-quality replacement parts

Sure, finding such a mechanic can be easier said than done.


1. What Is An Alternator? 

Around the size of a coconut, alternators tend to be found near the front of the engine. They receive power from the crank shaft, which converts the pistons’ up and down movement into circular movement. It powers the electrical components of your car, such as the headlight and windscreen wipers.

The alternator gets its name because it uses an alternating current (AC) to generate electricity. Alternators produce AC power through a stator and rotor. The electricity then moves to the car battery, which provides the voltage necessary to run your car’s electrical system. In the meantime, the voltage regulator ensures the voltage remains constant.

2. How Long Do Alternators Last?

While the alternator should ideally last as long as your vehicle, that’s not always the case. It’s hard to say exactly how long an alternator will last since so many factors affect its longevity. Some cars may experience a faulty alternator after 40,000 miles, whereas others will go 100,000 miles without running into issues.

3. How Do I Know If It’s A Faulty Alternator Or Battery?

In its simplest form, starting and running an engine involves three steps: the battery first delivers a jolt of energy to the starter motor, powering up the car. In turn, the engine powers the vehicle’s alternator, which recharges the battery.

If the engine starts but then dies immediately after, you have an electrical problem, indicating the alternator probably isn’t charging the battery.

If your car starts and stays running, but you can’t start it again using its own power, it’s more likely that you have a bad battery. Alternatively, consider purchasing a voltmeter. A voltmeter measures the electrical difference between two points on a circuit. If you suspect a bad alternator, a voltmeter can be the easiest way to determine this.

4. Can I Run My Car With A Bad Alternator?

Technically yes. If you have a bad alternator or you’re just starting to experience car alternator problems, you can still drive it; however, it’s best not to.

If your alternator has stopped working entirely, you have minimal time before your car stalls and won’t restart since you have a dead battery.

5. What Causes An Alternator To Go Bad?

Most of the time, alternators fail as a result of age or use. However, some other factors can cause an alternator to fail prematurely.

Fluid leaking on the car alternator can commonly lead to failure. Often, engine oil or power steering fluid can work its way into the alternator and cause it to malfunction or fail. Your driving habits will also affect the alternator’s lifespan. For example, if you spend a lot of time idling while using many of your car’s accessories, it can put the alternator under increased stress leading to more wear and tear.

Finally, if the alternator is located near the bottom of the engine, there’s a chance it may be subject to water and salt intrusion. Both of these can get in and cause an alternator malfunction.


We hope the above-mentioned information to your question can a bad alternator cause transmission problems? will be helpful to all the readers. If anybody’s doubts persist feel free to comment in the comment section below. We’ll try to solve your doubts as soon as possible.

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