How To Determine If An Alternator Or Starter Is Bad?

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If you are having trouble starting your car, there are multiple solutions depending on your situation. This time we show you how to determine if an alternator or starter is bad. Knowing specifically what’s going on when you try to start your vehicle will help you diagnose which part may need to be replaced and whether you can replace it yourself or need to take it to a mechanic.

How to determine if an alternator or starter is bad

On some occasions this dilemma can arise, in which you do not know which of the two of these components is the one that needs to be replaced. Next you will know how a bad alternator acts and how a damaged starter does it:

damaged starter

You first proceed to turn the ignition key, and if the engine doesn’t turn over, either your battery is completely dead or your starter is bad.

Listen carefully to see if there is a click. Some starters will hum as they turn and then click, while others will click shortly after you turn on the ignition. Now if you ever hear a click, then that would indicate that the boot may be the one with the fault. However, there are some other tests that you can do yourself in order to make sure that it is really bad.

Get ready to open the hood and shake the battery connections, also turn on the headlights in order to see if they are dimmer than normal or if they retain light. If perhaps the battery is not damaged and your car does not start, this would be another indicator that the problem is located in the starter motor.

Try to start the car to see if a boost helps it start. If so, then that is an indicator that the problem is not your starterNow, if a jump doesn’t help at all, then you’ll most likely find yourself dealing with a broken boot.

Tap the starter lightly with a hammer a few times, and try to start the car again. Sometimes this will help the starter fit back in, but it will still need to be replaced within the next couple of starts.

If hitting the starter causes the car to start the next time you step on it, that’s another indication that your starter is bad.

Proceed to take the damaged starter to the parts store when you change it, as they will be able to give it a final test to see if it is bad or not. If it isn’t, then you know you’ll need to replace a different part. You should consult the experienced people at the auto parts store or a mechanic if the starter may seem okay when tested.

damaged alternator

Start the car, if the car has trouble turning, that indicates the battery is dead or the alternator is bad. If the battery is heavily charged, you can still drive for a short time with a faulty alternator.

Check your dashboard battery gauge, if you have one, if it is low then this would indicate that the battery might not be picking up the minimum electricity from the alternator.

Remove the negative battery cable while the vehicle is driving. In the event that the engine dies, such an action would tell you that the alternator is the component that is working in a bad way. Now this is thanks to the fact that a huge part of the electrical energy of the vehicle comes from the alternator while the car is driving.

Take the vehicle quickly to an auto parts store, where they can do an electrical test on the alternator, in order to see if it is damaged or if the battery itself is causing the problems and needs to be changed.

It is vastly easier to change the battery than the alternator, the only way to know for sure if one or both parts need to be replaced is to have an expert check the alternator and battery together.

Advice

To start your car, you’ll need another running car and a set of jumper cables. Connect the cables primarily to the battery terminals of the vehicle while it is being driven, and later to the terminals of the vehicle that is not cranking.

Once connected, try to start the car, if the battery is dead, the jump will benefit you to find the original starting charge that it requires to start and drive the car.

Caveat

If you try to jump start the vehicle, try not to touch the metal ends of the jumper cables. If someone is helping you, try to make sure that you communicate well with them, also regarding starting the engine.

You should know: How To Put The Alternator Belt Properly

If you are having trouble starting your car, there are multiple solutions depending on your situation. This time we show you how to determine if an alternator or starter is bad. Knowing specifically what’s going on when you try to start your vehicle will help you diagnose which part may need to be replaced and whether you can replace it yourself or need to take it to a mechanic.

How to determine if an alternator or starter is bad

On some occasions this dilemma can arise, in which you do not know which of the two of these components is the one that needs to be replaced. Next you will know how a bad alternator acts and how a damaged starter does it:

damaged starter

You first proceed to turn the ignition key, and if the engine doesn’t turn over, either your battery is completely dead or your starter is bad.

Listen carefully to see if there is a click. Some starters will hum as they turn and then click, while others will click shortly after you turn on the ignition. Now if you ever hear a click, then that would indicate that the boot may be the one with the fault. However, there are some other tests that you can do yourself in order to make sure that it is really bad.

Get ready to open the hood and shake the battery connections, also turn on the headlights in order to see if they are dimmer than normal or if they retain light. If perhaps the battery is not damaged and your car does not start, this would be another indicator that the problem is located in the starter motor.

Try to start the car to see if a boost helps it start. If so, then that is an indicator that the problem is not your starterNow, if a jump doesn’t help at all, then you’ll most likely find yourself dealing with a broken boot.

Tap the starter lightly with a hammer a few times, and try to start the car again. Sometimes this will help the starter fit back in, but it will still need to be replaced within the next couple of starts.

If hitting the starter causes the car to start the next time you step on it, that’s another indication that your starter is bad.

Proceed to take the damaged starter to the parts store when you change it, as they will be able to give it a final test to see if it is bad or not. If it isn’t, then you know you’ll need to replace a different part. You should consult the experienced people at the auto parts store or a mechanic if the starter may seem okay when tested.

damaged alternator

Start the car, if the car has trouble turning, that indicates the battery is dead or the alternator is bad. If the battery is heavily charged, you can still drive for a short time with a faulty alternator.

Check your dashboard battery gauge, if you have one, if it is low then this would indicate that the battery might not be picking up the minimum electricity from the alternator.

Remove the negative battery cable while the vehicle is driving. In the event that the engine dies, such an action would tell you that the alternator is the component that is working in a bad way. Now this is thanks to the fact that a huge part of the electrical energy of the vehicle comes from the alternator while the car is driving.

Take the vehicle quickly to an auto parts store, where they can do an electrical test on the alternator, in order to see if it is damaged or if the battery itself is causing the problems and needs to be changed.

It is vastly easier to change the battery than the alternator, the only way to know for sure if one or both parts need to be replaced is to have an expert check the alternator and battery together.

Advice

To start your car, you’ll need another running car and a set of jumper cables. Connect the cables primarily to the battery terminals of the vehicle while it is being driven, and later to the terminals of the vehicle that is not cranking.

Once connected, try to start the car, if the battery is dead, the jump will benefit you to find the original starting charge that it requires to start and drive the car.

Caveat

If you try to jump start the vehicle, try not to touch the metal ends of the jumper cables. If someone is helping you, try to make sure that you communicate well with them, also regarding starting the engine.

You should know: How To Put The Alternator Belt Properly

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