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Bad Alternator Ground Symptoms: Everything You Need to Know

Bad Alternator Ground Symptoms: Everything You Need to Know

If an electrical surge ever occurs in your car’s motor, there is a chance that a lot of the different parts under your hood could sustain damage. To help you avoid this, there is an alternator ground cable that is designed to take any excess electricity from your car’s motor and carry it away safely. The problem, though, is that this alternator ground may go bad over time and stop doing its job as intended. It’s why you need to keep your eyes peeled for bad alternator ground symptoms at all times. It’ll ensure that you don’t ever get caught with a bad alternator ground cable in your vehicle. Find out more about what an alternator ground cable is, how it works, and what it’ll cost to replace it if you ever experience any bad alternator ground symptoms.


What Is an Alternator Ground Cable?

In a few moments, we’re going to discuss how an alternator ground cable works and what might go wrong with it and prevent it from working the way it should. But before we get into that, you need to know what exactly an alternator ground is. You should be able to easily identify it when you pop the hood on your car and take a look at what’s happening underneath it.

 

Although an alternator ground cable is called a cable, it actually looks more like a strap, which is why it’s sometimes referred to as an alternator ground strap. At first glance, it appears as though it’s a bunch of small steel cables braided together to make one big strap. This strap runs from the chassis located in your car’s engine block up to the negative terminal on your car’s battery, and it serves as a circuit for any and all accessories that might be connected to your engine block.

 

Some of the systems within your car that have a connection with your engine block are the different sensors in it, your ignition system, and, of course, your alternator. The alternator actually uses up the most total energy of all those things, which is a big part of the reason why the alternator ground cable references it in name.

How Does an Alternator Ground Cable Work?

Now that you know more about what the alternator ground cable your car actually is, let’s talk briefly about how it works. It doesn’t necessarily have the most complicated job in the world, but it does play a key role in your car’s overall well-being, especially as it pertains to the electricity used in your vehicle.

 

As we touched on a few seconds ago, your car’s alternator ground cable runs from your engine block up to your battery, and it’s designed to stop electricity from damaging anything that’s connected to your engine. If a power surge ever takes place within your car, things like your alternator could sustain severe damage because of it if you don’t have a working alternator ground cable in your car. This cable draws any extra electricity that is created during a power surge and directs it away from your alternator and your other accessories to stop it from damaging them.

 

With this in mind, you need to be aware of the different bad alternator ground symptoms so that you can keep your alternator ground cable working like normal all the time. The last thing you want to do is have a power surge knock out any of your accessories simply because you didn’t take the time to fix a faulty alternator ground cable.

What Can Go Wrong With an Alternator Ground Cable?

The good news when it comes to your car’s alternator ground cable is that, under normal circumstances, it shouldn’t be subjected to too much wear and tear. This means you won’t have to be too concerned about bad alternator ground symptoms popping up. But over time, your alternator ground cable is going to start to wear down on you, and eventually, you’ll have to replace it as a result.

 

When the alternator ground cable wears down, it’ll become frayed and stop working as well as it should. This will lead to some bad alternator ground symptoms starting to show their ugly faces. And things will get progressively worse from there as the alternator ground cable becomes less and less efficient. It’ll then wear down completely and stop working altogether at some point, at which time you’ll have absolutely no choice but to replace your alternator ground cable with a new one.

 

Again, this isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight on you, which is a good thing for those who might be concerned about a part like the alternator ground cable. You should be able to catch the bad alternator ground symptoms before they spiral out of control. But that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down and ignore any potential problems with your alternator ground cable. You want to catch any signs of trouble early and do something about them swiftly.

What Are the Bad Alternator Ground Symptoms?

One thing that we would like to point out with regards to bad alternator ground symptoms right from the start is that they tend to be subtle at the start. They’re relatively easy to miss if you don’t know what to look for, so you should be well aware of what could indicate issues with your alternator ground cable. If you spot any potential problems, you should then take your car in for service so that a mechanic can investigate your issues further.

 

Here are some of the bad alternator ground symptoms that might appear when your car has an alternator ground cable that’s on its last legs:

  • Your headlights might begin to flicker almost every time you have them on
  • Your car battery might stop recharging like it’s supposed to and die out on you way sooner than expected
  • Your car might not pass a simple voltage test
  • Your car might not start when you put your key into the ignition and turn it since your ignition system doesn’t have the power it needs
  • Your alternator ground cable might look damaged when you inspect it on your own

The problem that a lot of people run into when it comes to these bad alternator ground symptoms is that they’re also all symptoms of other common car issues. It sometimes leads people to make other auto repairs before even considering that their alternator ground cable might be bad. You should always at least look at your alternator ground cable for signs of trouble before moving on to diagnosing it with a different issue.

Is It Safe to Drive a Car With a Bad Alternator Ground Cable?

When the alternator ground cable first starts to go bad, you’re probably not even going to notice it. Almost everything in your car will continue to work like it always does, which will make it easy to overlook your bad alternator ground cable. Your car should still be safe to drive around when it’s still at this point.

 

But as the problem with your alternator ground cable worsens, it’s going to begin to take a bigger and bigger toll on your car. You might start to see issues with your headlights, your battery, and more as bad alternator ground symptoms present themselves. It’ll be at that point that your car will no longer be as safe as you need it to be. You’ll want to stop driving it right away to address the problem at hand.

 

You might be able to get away with continuing to drive your car around. But you might also end up getting stranded somewhere because your car won’t start. Or you might find yourself driving around in a car without working headlights in it at night. These are not the kinds of positions that you’ll want to put yourself in. You’ll need to get your alternator ground cable replaced ASAP so that you don’t put yourself or others into any danger.

Who Should You Trust to Fix a Bad Alternator Ground Cable?

If you ever find yourself noticing bad alternator ground symptoms, you should spring into action right away and do something about it. More often than not, this will mean taking your car down to your local auto repair shop so that your mechanic can assess the situation. They’ll be able to inspect your alternator ground cable and test it out to see if it needs to be replaced.

 

If your mechanic recommends that you replace your alternator ground cable, you should always do it since it’s an important part in the grand scheme of things. For a rather minimal cost (more on this in a moment!), you can get rid of your old alternator ground cable and put a new one into its place. It’ll protect a lot of very important components in your car and prevent you from having to tackle more expensive auto repair jobs down the line.

Can You Attempt to Fix a Bad Alternator Ground Cable Yourself?

A lot of people are scared off by the mere thought of trying to replace a part like an alternator ground cable on their own. It doesn’t seem like something that an amateur should try and do. But it’s actually very easy to replace an alternator ground cable, even if you don’t have a ton of experience working on vehicles. It should only take a few minutes to get the job done from start to finish.

 

Here are the steps you’ll need to take if you decide to replace a bad alternator ground cable yourself:

  1. Disconnect the negative ground cable from your car’s battery
  2. Find out where the cable runs to and disconnect it from there
  3. Attach the new cable to the spot where the old one was
  4. Run the new cable back up to your car’s battery and reattach it

Simple enough, right? If you really don’t feel comfortable taking this task on, don’t do it. It’s not all that expensive to pay a mechanic to replace an alternator ground cable exhibiting bad alternator ground symptoms. But it’s an easy job that can be done by most people.

How Much Will a New Alternator Ground Cost?

Now for the moment of truth: How much is all of this going to cost? It’s one of the first questions most people ask when they start to see bad alternator ground symptoms appear. Well, you’ll be happy to know that it’s not all that expensive of a repair job, which makes it even more important for you to take it on sooner rather than later.

 

Oftentimes, a new alternator ground cable is only going to cost you about $20 tops. And that’s for a high-quality alternator ground cable, not a bargain bin one. From there, you can replace it yourself for free or you can pay a mechanic to do it for you. And even if you pay someone else to do it, you should only be looking at around $80 for labor, thus bringing your total cost for a new alternator ground cable to right around $100 all in.

 

Paying the cost to replace a bad alternator ground cable sure beats the alternative, which often includes paying for a new alternator or another new accessory for your car. You’ll appreciate being able to get around doing this by making an inexpensive repair to your car.

Selling a Car With a Bad Ground Alternator Cable: Is It Possible?

You’re probably not ever going to have to consider selling an old car simply because it has a bad alternator ground cable in it. Replacing it is cheap and easy enough to do. But if you have a bad alternator ground cable and a whole host of other problems with your vehicle, you may want to get rid of it rather than making a bunch of repairs. And the junk car buyers at Cash Cars Buyer will make this easy to do.

 

We specialize in purchasing old cars that have problems with them. Whether you have an issue with an alternator ground cable or an issue with an engine or transmission, we’ll take your old car off your hands and pay cash for it. Contact us today to get a great offer for your used car.