1999 Toyota Camry - slight dim in headlights & whine when accelerating

Asked by Jun 27, 2016 at 07:13 PM about the 1999 Toyota Camry CE

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Just bought the car from a private owner
with 157xxx miles and I've been replacing
things here and there has recently been a
whine and it almost sounds electrical.. As I
accelerate the wine gets louder (keep in
mind the radio and a/c are running) I cut
them off and it completely stops and when
I step on the brakes the headlights seem to
have a slight surge of power... Any help or
opinions greatly appreciated!!!

14 Answers


Could be your alternator is starting to die. Simple to have it checked by your local auto parts store. Maybe the bearings are causing the whine and the weakening of the output is causing your dimming (load) issue.

I'll go now and have it checked thanks I'll let you know what they say


Start it up and while it's running remove the position battery cable making sure to not let it touch anything if car dies it is the alternator

Ok didn't have a chance to make it up there this evening caught some pretty bad thunder storms going tomorrow on my lunch break I'll be there.. Sorry

Did you mean the positive battery cable???


Yes the positive (red) cable make sure you don't let it touch anything !

Alt showing 13.8 volts what are the chances you think my a/c compressor could be takin a crap


Not likely the AC unit is the problem. Since your alternator seems OK, I would continue to other elements of the electrical system. Are you sure the alternator is not slipping on a loose or worn belt? A good output at idle may degrade if the pulley cant hold against the belt as the RPM's rise.

I tightened the belt up a few days ago but I'm not entirely sure what constitutes a worn belt grooves felt pretty good but I also don't know exactly how tight the belt should be either didn't wanna tighten too tight

I also have thought about cleaning out the outside ventilation into the inside and the blower motor behind the glovebox area because when I cut the ac off like I said before it goes away so idk just trying to brainstorm


This discussion and opinions are very interesting and educational. My opinion....the alt. has a bad diode. If you have a DVOM you can easily check this by placing the red test lead on the fat post on the alt. output term. Black lead of the DVOM to battery ground. Start her up and put on the AC.... Head Lights... etc. placing a huge electrical load on the Alt/Batt/Charging System. Turn the DVOM to AC Volts....That's AC VOLTS not DC. The volt meter should read LESS THAN 0.5v AC when the charging system is electrically Loaded. Anything more than 1/2 volt AC.....Bad alt Diode. If you cannot perform this test....take her to a Auto Parts store in your area that will test your ALT. for...Free.

It was definitely the alternator salvage yard part for 30 bucks changed it and no dimming no funny noises.. My windows were restored to full power and the rough idle smoothed itself right out. Thanks everyone for your help!!!


I love it when a plan comes together.


Good stuff!

Your Answer


Looking for a Used Camry in your area?

CarGurus has 71,624 nationwide Camry listings starting at $1,400.


Toyota Camry Experts

  • #1
  • #2
    Tom Demyan
  • #3
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Honda Accord
553 Great Deals out of 91,963 listings starting at $1,495
Used Toyota Corolla
678 Great Deals out of 66,255 listings starting at $1,599
Used Honda Civic
374 Great Deals out of 51,346 listings starting at $1,200
Used Nissan Altima
789 Great Deals out of 67,227 listings starting at $750
Used Toyota Avalon
162 Great Deals out of 9,699 listings starting at $1,995
Used Toyota RAV4
495 Great Deals out of 65,431 listings starting at $1,995
Used Nissan Maxima
220 Great Deals out of 18,086 listings starting at $1,500
Used Hyundai Sonata
362 Great Deals out of 50,267 listings starting at $1,300
Used Honda CR-V
569 Great Deals out of 66,216 listings starting at $1,800
Used Chevrolet Malibu
605 Great Deals out of 48,235 listings starting at $1,500
Used Toyota Tacoma
425 Great Deals out of 40,424 listings starting at $2,600
Used Toyota 4Runner
312 Great Deals out of 30,011 listings starting at $2,500

Used Cars For Sale

2018 Toyota Camry For Sale
9 Great Deals out of 36,958 listings starting at $17,977
2017 Toyota Camry For Sale
134 Great Deals out of 5,948 listings starting at $11,500
2016 Toyota Camry For Sale
99 Great Deals out of 5,198 listings starting at $9,950
2015 Toyota Camry For Sale
207 Great Deals out of 7,562 listings starting at $9,667
2014 Toyota Camry For Sale
134 Great Deals out of 3,389 listings starting at $7,988

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use.