My Car Keeps Burning Out Alternators (8 Reasons Why This Happens)


It’s a frustrating problem: your car keeps burning out alternators. You’ve probably taken it to a mechanic, and they’ve told you that they don’t know what’s wrong. Don’t worry – we’re here to help! In this blog post, we will discuss eight common reasons why your car might be burning out alternators. Keep reading for more information!

If your car keeps burning out alternators, it could be due to oil dripping into the alternator, improperly installed alternator, modifications that overload the alternator, high resistance in the charging circuit between the battery and the alternator, heat from the exhaust, poor quality alternator, corroded main terminal connections at the alternator and battery, or a bad battery.

My Car Keeps Burning Out Alternators (8 Reasons Why This Happens)

My Car Keeps Burning Out Alternators (8 Reasons Why This Happens)

Alternators have the purpose to recharge the car battery. Without alternators, the car would only run as long as the battery can keep it alive before being completely drained. Having such an important role, it is essential that your vehicle has a fully operating alternator. But, some cars keep burning out alternators. Here are 8 reasons why your car keeps burning out alternators:

1. Oil dripping into the alternator

My Car Keeps Burning Out Alternators (8 Reasons Why This Happens)

The engine oil can get into the alternator in a few ways. One way is if the car’s engine is overfilled with oil. When this happens, some of the oil can seep into the alternator through the seal between the engine and the alternator. Another way oil can get into the alternator is if there’s a leak in one of the hoses that carry oil to or from the engine.

A third way is if there’s a leak in the gasket that seals the connection between the engine block and the cylinder head. Any of these leaks can allow oil to enter the alternator, where it can damage the bearings or other parts.

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When engine oil starts dripping into the alternator, it will break down the insulation of the alternator’s winding and cause a short circuit. This can lead to all sorts of problems, but in some cases, it can cause the alternator to catch on fire.

The engine oil dripping on the alternator will also attract dust. Apart from oil, which is already bad enough, the alternator will have dust buildup. When dust mixes with oil, it will become like gunk and will block the normal operation of the alternator.

The alternator is saturated with oil, and probably the bearings are going out, or it’s catching on fire on the inside, from all the oil and dust buildup. You need to replace the alternator and fix any oil leak that’s causing the oil to leak onto the alternator.

2. Improper installation of the alternator

When a car’s engine is running, the alternator charges the battery and powers the car’s electrical systems. If the alternator fails, the battery will eventually run out of power, causing the engine to shut down. One reason that alternators keep burning out is if they are installed improperly.

If the alternator is not properly secured, it can become loose and potentially damage the other parts of the car’s electrical system. Most mechanics will test the alternator before they install it to make sure it is in good working condition. However, if a mechanic does not properly secure the alternator, it can eventually become loose and fail.

Also, while installing the alternator, sometimes the person who is doing the installation can mix up the wiring and connect it wrong. There is also a protective boot that goes over the power cables that prevents any unintentional grounding or arching. If this boot isn’t placed on, water can get in and burn the alternator immediately.

3. Modifications that overload the alternator

Modifications that overload the alternator is one of the leading causes why a car might keep burning out the alternator. When you overload the alternator, it puts strain on the electrical system and can cause a number of problems. It can overheat and fail, or it can simply wear out over time. Either way, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks before you make any modifications to your vehicle.

One modification that can overload the alternator is adding a powerful stereo system. If you have a powerful car stereo, it can draw a lot of power from the battery and cause the alternator to work harder. This can eventually lead to the alternator burning out.

Another modification that can overload the alternator is installing aftermarket lights. Aftermarket lights, such as HID headlights, can draw a lot of power and put a strain on the alternator.

Other modifications, such as installing a nitrous oxide system or an electric turbocharger, can also put a strain on the alternator and cause it to fail prematurely.

If you’re not sure whether a particular modification will overload the alternator, talk to a professional or consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Otherwise, you could end up causing serious damage to your vehicle – and yourself.

4. High resistance in the charging output circuit between the alternator and battery

My Car Keeps Burning Out Alternators (8 Reasons Why This Happens) 2

A car’s alternator is one of the most important components in the engine, as it is responsible for charging the battery and powering the electrical system. When the alternator fails, it can cause a number of problems, including a dead battery, dim headlights, and electrical problems. One of the most common causes of alternator failure (burning out) is high resistance in the charging output circuit. This can be caused by a number of things, including a loose connection, damaged wiring, or a failing diode.

The most common reason for high resistance in the charging output circuit is a poor connection between the alternator and battery. The resistance can be caused by corrosion, dirt, or incorrect terminal tightness.

Clean all of the connections between the alternator and battery, including the battery terminals and cable clamps. Inspect the condition of the battery cables and, if necessary, replace them. Make sure that all of the connections are tight. If you still have high resistance after cleaning and tightening the connections, then you may need to replace the alternator.

5. Heat from the exhaust gets onto the alternator

My Car Keeps Burning Out Alternators (8 Reasons Why This Happens)

A car’s alternator is responsible for keeping the battery charged and powering the electrical components while the engine is running. However, the alternator can fail for a variety of reasons. One common reason why the alternator keeps burning out is heat damage from the exhaust system. The exhaust manifold and catalytic converter can get very hot, and if they are located close to the alternator, this heat can damage the alternator’s electrical components.

If you changed the exhaust system and the new exhaust system is running close to the alternator, the heat can easily damage the alternator and cause it to burn out.

Over time, this heat damage can lead to premature alternator failure. In some cases, it may be possible to prevent this type of damage by installing a heat shield between the exhaust and the alternator. However, if the alternator has already been damaged by heat, it will need to be replaced.

6. Poor quality alternator

My Car Keeps Burning Out Alternators (8 Reasons Why This Happens) 2

If your alternator keeps burning out, it could be because you’re using a poor-quality alternator. Alternators are vital components in any car, and they need to be able to withstand a lot of wear and tear. Unfortunately, some companies cut corners when manufacturing alternators, and this can lead to premature failure.

If you’re using a poor-quality alternator, it’s likely that it will overheat and eventually burn out. To avoid this problem, make sure to buy an alternator from a reputable manufacturer. With a quality alternator, you’ll be able to keep your car running smoothly for many years to come.

Also, your car may be burning out alternators if you are using refurbished alternators. When an alternator burns out, it’s usually because the brushes are worn down. The brushes are what conduct electricity to the spinning rotor. When they get too worn, they can’t conduct electricity anymore and the alternator burns out. While you may be able to save money by buying a refurbished alternator, it’s not worth it if it keeps burning out.

7. Corroded main terminal connections at the alternator and battery

One common reason why alternators keep burning out is corroded main terminal connections at the alternator and battery. Over time, the acidic fumes from the battery can eat away at the alternator’s terminals, causing a poor connection. This can cause all sorts of problems, from the alternator not charging properly to an electrical short that fries the alternator.

In either case, it’s important to clean the terminals and make sure they’re making a good connection. You can do this with a wire brush or by using an abrasive cleaner. Once the terminals are clean, you should apply a corrosion-resistant coating to help prevent future problems.

8. Bad battery

If your alternator keeps burning out, it could be due to a faulty battery. A battery that is not capable of holding a charge can cause the alternator to work harder, which in turn can lead to premature failure.

The alternator keeps burning out when it is charging a deeply discharged battery. When you have a deeply discharged battery, it means that the cells in the battery are damaged and cannot hold a charge. When you try to charge a deeply discharged battery, the alternator has to work harder to charge the battery, and this can cause the alternator to overheat and eventually burn out.

If your battery is completely drained, use an external charger to charge it. This way, you are relieving your alternator from charging a completely drained battery. If you do not have an external charger, use jump cables and let them stay for about thirty minutes. They will help your alternator with the charging.

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Hi there. I am a certified Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) mechanic since 2018 and a car detailer for 10 years.

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