Bad Voltage Regulator Symptoms

The voltage regulator in your vehicle is in charge of keeping the right amount of electrical power flowing consistently to certain parts of your car. This means if the voltage regulator is broken, the components in your electrical system might only work erratically or not at all. That’s a pretty big deal, since you definitely need your car’s lights and battery to be dependable if you want to get anywhere! So if you’re trying to get your car in good working order, checking on this major car part is a start. Here’s how to tell if the voltage regulator is bad.

Learn how a bad voltage regulator can hurt your car.

Bad Voltage Regulator Symptom #1: The Battery Is Dead

There are many reasons your car’s battery might be dead, and one of them happens to be a broken voltage regulator. This is because when this part burns out, the battery will no longer charge, meaning it will eventually die. Recharging the battery will allow the car to start, but you’ll find that the battery will be dead again sooner than you might expect if the voltage regulator isn’t working correctly. So if the battery keeps going bad, it’s probably time to take your car to a repair shop to replace the voltage regulator.

Bad Voltage Regulator Symptom #2: Your Lights Are Dim

Another way you can tell the voltage regulator is bad is when the car lights keep dimming or flickering. After all, the voltage regulator is supposed to keep the power flowing to the lights, so it’s no surprise that those lights don’t work right anymore once this part goes bad. This issue can extend to your headlights, dashboard lights and even your sound system. Basically, if these components seem to be going out or don’t turn on at all, your voltage regulator may be to blame.

Bad Voltage Regulator Symptom #3: You Notice Engine Problems

A bad voltage regulator can even affect your car’s engine. For example, as this car part stops working properly, you might notice your car’s engine sputters or stalls once in a while. It might also have trouble accelerating as you drive. If you notice this issue, a replacement for your voltage regulator may be in order so you can get the smooth acceleration you’re used to.

Check out this article for more info on what bad voltage regulator symptoms are.

Bad Voltage Regulator Symptom #4: The Instrument Cluster Doesn’t Work

A car’s voltage regulator is supposed to provide power to the instrument cluster. So if you notice yours isn’t working, it’s likely because the voltage regulator is broken. You might still be able to start the car, but you’ll be missing a lot of information—such as how fast you’re driving, as the speedometer won’t be working. For this reason, it’s best not to drive the car until you get the voltage regulator replaced.

Bad Voltage Regulator Symptom #5: The Voltage Regulator Readings Aren’t Accurate

If you suspect the voltage regulator isn’t working, you can test it out to see if the readings are accurate. If, after testing the voltage regulator, you notice the numbers on the gauge seem to be changing erratically, you probably need a replacement for this part. Luckily, when you get it, this and any other related issues should be resolved so you’re back to having a car you can depend on.

Of course, just noticing one or two of these symptoms doesn’t mean your voltage regulator is bad for sure. It could be another problem that presents similar symptoms, so look into other possibilities—such as signs your alternator is bad—as well if you want to get to the bottom of the issue.

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  • Keep checking your regulator on regular basis. Also do replace the regulator in car and other vehicles if you are going for long trip.

  • the problem I am experiencing is my gauges drop to zero and come right back on line, if I rev the engine a little they come back online, or if i am driving and let off the accelerator they drop and then when I push ti down again the gauges come back online, I changed the ignition switch but nothing changed, it’s like I lose my ground, it effects,windows,radio,door locks about anything on the accessory side of the ignition

    • did you ever find an answer to your issue? ive got the same thing happening.

  • I have a Pontiac Montana….the original factory alternator with had the built in voltage regulator gave out on me. I had the alternator and battery replaced (both new.) My vehicle is experiencing erratic behavior…while It is operating on the road, the entire lights go out, speedometer goes to zero for a split second…….vehicle continues running. My question: What brand name alternators should I consider or not consider as a replacement???

  • So I had to Pay $480.00 usd for my car to get a fuseable link cut out my car wouldnt start i replaced my starter 4 times in 3 weeks times after the summer Aug-oct 2019 ok brand new not reman Altetrnator in early July 2019 ok (with a brandnew battery) in Sept had this problem since Feb 2019 so now today Dec 17 2019 i have this same problem again car keeps on dieing battery drain on a brand new battery i got and also replaced it but it didnt want to charge up with the car on driving 25-45mins at a time. i even took it home charged it last night 100% it drops cause it winter in ny and batterys dont like to hold charge thier is this part for my car Beside the common problem Battery and ALT my car has also a VOltage requlator some where in the Engine bay of the car next to the Alternator too septare diffent things and i didnt even replace that yet can’t be the battery fuseable link they removed it but what can be so power full to brun that out no the radio or lights

  • Thank you for your help here it seems to be helping but I have a question if you have a bad voltage regulator and disconnect the battery terminal will the engine die or should will it keep running
    Mahalo and thank you for your time