Whining Alternator


I have a 92 Accord with an alternator that is making a lot of noise. A whining noise to be exact. It’s been doing it for over a month now but it hasn’t had any problem charging as of yet. Am I right in thinking my alternator is about to die? At this point I almost wish it would stop working so I could get rid of the noise, but it still works so I can’t justify the cost! Any thoughts on this? Thanks.

Are you sure it is the alternator? It is likely a bearing or the belt. It may go for a while yet, or may die a sudden death. If it smokes while it seizes, you may need a new belt too. I would get it looked at ASAP.

I know for sure that it is the alternator. Maybe bearings inside the alternator. So it is possible for it to seize and ruin the belt?

Yes, definitely; if you are on the freway and the bearing seizes, it will damage the belt before you can sto[ and pull over. My wife ruined the Air Conditioner drive belt when the compressor seized up.

Sure it’s possible for the bearings in the alternator to seize and ruin the belt. The belt should not be all that expensive compared to alternator anyway. The problem with losing the alternator is getting home, or to a repair shop on battery power alone. You really don’t get to travel too far without the alternator working, 10 or 20 miles maybe. I’d recommend replacing the belt with the alternator unless you know it is fairly new. It would only increase the cost a little because the labor is already being done to remove and replace the belt when they replace the alternator.

Agree; that sounds like a worry-free plan. Playing Russian Roulette with an alternator is not my idea of fun.

Sometimes the whning noise in the alternator is caused by a bad diode in the alternator. It’s a question of time before the alternator goes out. Some automotive electrical shops will rebuild the alternator and replace the diode bridge. I would get it fixed. I had the same problem with a 1993 Oldsmobile 88. It started whining one day, so the next day I took it to my mechanic. The alternator gave up on the way there. As I said, you are driving on borrowed time. Either repair or replace the alternator.

You are getting a grace period and early warning to get it fixed to avoid a tow or further damage. My advice would be to heed the warning and fix it. Its either bad brushes or a bearing. Sometimes they can lock up and you won’t be going anywhere (happened to me) or it’ll go out and you’ll drain the battery down and ruin that, etc. etc.