How to Drive With a Bad Alternator

by Tammatha R. Conerly
New car petrol engines image by Christopher Dodge from Fotolia.com

An alternator charges a vehicle's battery. When an alternator is going bad, the battery drains quickly. If the alternator is going or has gone bad, in most cases the vehicle can be driven for a short distance and for a short period of time, allowing you to make it to a service station or automotive parts store for a replacement alternator.

Step 1

Turn off all auxiliary items possible, including the radio, air conditioner or heater, lights and windshield wipers.

Step 2

Avoid driving in high-congested areas. Stop-and-go traffic can drain the battery. Try to find a parking lot to pull into until the traffic is less congested.

Travel to the nearest service station or automotive parts store, and purchase a new alternator. Install or have the new alternator installed. Recharge your battery before leaving.

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