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Starting Problems? Is it the Battery or the Alternator?

Testing Car Battery

If your car won't start, it is most likely due to a faulty or dead battery or a bad alternator. Both components work together to start your vehicle, so you might have trouble identifying exactly which part is at fault. Here are some of the unmistakable signs that will help you determine which of the two parts is the main culprit:

Signs of a Failing or Dead Battery

When your battery fails, you might experience problems trying to start your car early in the morning, especially during the cold season. In other cases, the vehicle will start then die down almost immediately. The battery warning light on your dashboard is probably one of the major signs of a failing battery. You might also notice that your car battery is visibly corroded, and in some instances, the battery appears swollen and oversized. Besides, you have already jump-started your car over the past few days-your batteries are clearly at fault.

Symptoms of a Bad Alternator

If none of the aforementioned symptoms point towards a failing battery, it might be time to pay attention to the alternator. Are you experiencing dimmer headlights and trouble with the stereo system output? Or the battery warning light constantly flashes on your dashboard? Well, you might be dealing with a defective alternator.

Another common telltale is if your engine dies out almost immediately after jumpstarting. You might also hear some grinding or squealing sounds emanating from the engine and gets louder when the lights or other drains like the sound system are on. A burning smell could also be a sign that the alternator belts are producing too much friction.

Sometimes, you might hear a clicking sound every time you turn the ignition key or notice that the headlights are working, but the vehicle won't start. In such cases, the problem is most likely with the starter or other engine components.

A bad alternator might end up damaging your battery. Therefore, it is crucial that you drop by an automotive repair shop immediately you notice any of these signs. If you are still unsure which of the two components are faulty, your mechanic will run a diagnostic and determine the main issue. If you need a battery or alternator repair, we invite you to bring your vehicle to our auto repair shop today!