Alternator Whine


Asked by alynn11 Oct 18, 2013 at 09:11 AM about the 2008 Scion xD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair


  A couple of years ago I had my alternator die on me during a road trip. My care was only 3 years old at the time... Since then, it's been nothing but a slew of problem after problem with it. When the alternator initially went out, I was in a very small town that only had one of those "we'll rebuild your current dead alternator" shops. So, I paid $250 to have it rebuilt and went about my way. About 3 months ago I noticed my car was making a constant whining-type of noise. It's most obvious on the outside of the car. As long as the car is running, it's whining. I took it to a local shop, had quite a few repairs done on other problems, and was told that the whine is my alternator, but it is working just fine and doesn't need to be replaced. I don't not have enough mechanical knowledge to argue, so I paid and left. My problem now is that the whining noise is unbearable. It never dies down and is my car is embarrassing to drive around in. It's noticeable to anyone who I'm near. I go to the carpool every day to pick my children up from school and everyone just stares. I'm hoping someone can tell me if the mechanic I took it to just wasn't willing to address the problem, and there might actually be something I can do. I'd have a very hard time justifying spending the money on an entirely new alternator when the one I currently have is apparently "doing it's job and working just fine" according to the mechanic.


3 Answers

Tom Demyan

Well, the alternator is doing it's job of charging, but the pulley bearing is slowly failing. The longer you let this condition exist, the more likelyhood you will be on the side of the road. What will happen is the pulley bearing will heat up so much that it will catch on fire, or sieze up, causing a fire, and or breaking the belt destroying other components in the engine bay. Sometime it isn't worth the labor removing the alternator just to replace the bearing, so replacing the whole assembly is sometimes a better option. So to answer your question, have it replace, sooner than later, you'll thank me.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Best Answer

Hi Mark, I really appreciate your answer. I forgot to add that my biggest concern other than the sound, was that there is obviously something still wrong with it, and I was afraid I'd end up stranded... again. But I was told there was "nothing wrong with it" and that I didn't need to address it at all, as there was no problem. With this new information you gave me, I'll take it to another shop and just have the whole thing replaced. Even though it's working for now, I hate waiting until the last minute to fix problems. Thanks again! Amber

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Li Tao

You know what? your problem exactly happened on my car. first whining, then burnt rubber smell, finally alternator caught on fire, just as what Tom said above. Thank God, the alternator was on fire when it's just back to my garage, I put it off by a glass of water. so damage was limited. Well it has been 10 months, I hope your problem is long solved.

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions

Looking for a Used xD in your area?
CarGurus has 1,042 nationwide xD listings starting at $5,299.

Search Scion xD Questions

Scion xD Experts

#1 Tom Demyan
Tom Demyan
Reputation 50
#2 dandyoun
Reputation 20
#3 alynn11
Reputation 10
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Scion xB"
104 Great Deals out of 4,227 listings starting at $3,495
Used Scion tC"
159 Great Deals out of 6,430 listings starting at $3,927
Used Mazda MAZDA3"
375 Great Deals out of 26,621 listings starting at $1,999
Used Toyota Corolla"
1,237 Great Deals out of 51,107 listings starting at $1,499
Used Honda Fit"
88 Great Deals out of 14,410 listings starting at $3,995
Used Honda Civic"
981 Great Deals out of 62,525 listings starting at $825
Used Toyota RAV4"
726 Great Deals out of 30,080 listings starting at $1,000
Used Toyota Matrix"
65 Great Deals out of 1,501 listings starting at $2,983
Used Honda Accord"
1,132 Great Deals out of 61,410 listings starting at $950
Used Toyota Prius"
273 Great Deals out of 30,211 listings starting at $2,466
Used Nissan Versa"
376 Great Deals out of 21,869 listings starting at $3,500
Used Toyota Yaris"
167 Great Deals out of 5,825 listings starting at $2,990

Used Cars For Sale

2014 Scion xD For Sale
269 listings starting at $13,989
2013 Scion xD For Sale
4 Great Deals out of 145 listings starting at $10,662
2012 Scion xD For Sale
7 Great Deals out of 222 listings starting at $9,895
2011 Scion xD For Sale
62 listings starting at $6,950
2010 Scion xD For Sale
5 Great Deals out of 98 listings starting at $7,900