Is It The Starter, Alternator Or The Battery!

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Vehicle starting system problems can be difficult to diagnose. The battery has to draw enough amperage to turn the starter motor. The starter needs to turn the flywheel and plunger to disengage once the engine starts. The alternator you need to replace the wasted voltage that the battery put out to connect the starter. If a car won’t start, it could be due to the starter motor, battery, or alternator.

Poor connections, corroded cables, or faulty components can lead to a no-start situation. But there is a way to tell if it’s the battery, the alternator, or the starter.

Know why a car won’t start: starter, battery or alternator

The steps you should take to find out why a car won’t start if you don’t know that the problem could be the starter motor, the battery or the starter are the following:

1- Open the cover and put a voltmeter on the battery

You must first open the hood of the car and put a voltmeter on the battery. Put the red positive cable on the positive battery terminal indicated by the stamped “+” insignia on the battery case. Place the negative lead of the voltmeter on the negative battery terminal indicated by the “-” insignia stamped on the battery case. If the voltmeter indicates 12.4 volts or less, recharge or replace the battery before continuing.

Voltmeter To Check A Car That Turns Off
Use the Voltmeter

2- Search for corrosion or flojedad

Inspects battery terminal clamps for corrosion or looseness. Clean the terminals if necessary, but before you unplug them, put a memory saver on the power outlet inside the vehicle.

3- Loosen the battery terminal clamps and remove them.

Use a hand wrench to loosen the clamps on the ground terminals, then remove them. Clean the terminals with terminal cleaner and a wire brush. Replace and tighten terminals.

A car won't start because of the battery
Check battery

4- Have an assistant turn the ignition key

You must have someone else turn the ignition key. Determine if there is a clicking sound when the ignition key is on and locate the component under the hood (or vehicle) that is making the noise. If the starter motor is making the clicking noise, check the wires connected to it for corrosion and looseness.

5- Check the starter motor

Use a hand wrench to loosen the retaining nuts that hold the cable connections to the starter motor. Clean the blades on the connections with a wire brush and replace them.

6- Light test

Have your assistant turn the ignition key. If there is still an audible click or no start, try having the assistant disengage the ignition key and turn on the headlights. Have the assistant turn the ignition key back on while you look at the headlights. If they remain stable without darkening, the boot is most likely bad. If they dim to a low level, the battery is most likely the problem.

7- Remove the starter and have it tested

Remove the starter and take it to an auto parts store for bench testing if the battery passed the headlight test. If the starter can’t be rebuilt, you’ll need to replace it.

Advice

When the alternator fails in a vehicle, the red battery light will illuminate on the vehicle’s dash. Once the alternator can no longer replace the necessary voltage back to the battery to keep it charged during operation, all electrical demand will literally suck the life out of the battery until it can no longer provide a charge to the vehicle. The motor will turn off once the battery is depleted.

Items you will need

  • Voltmeter
  • small wire brush
  • terminal cleaner
  • hand wrench set

Don’t stop reading: How To Test The Starter Motor When It Sounds Ugly

Vehicle starting system problems can be difficult to diagnose. The battery has to draw enough amperage to turn the starter motor. The starter needs to turn the flywheel and plunger to disengage once the engine starts. The alternator you need to replace the wasted voltage that the battery put out to connect the starter. If a car won’t start, it could be due to the starter motor, battery, or alternator.

Poor connections, corroded cables, or faulty components can lead to a no-start situation. But there is a way to tell if it’s the battery, the alternator, or the starter.

Know why a car won’t start: starter, battery or alternator

The steps you should take to find out why a car won’t start if you don’t know that the problem could be the starter motor, the battery or the starter are the following:

1- Open the cover and put a voltmeter on the battery

You must first open the hood of the car and put a voltmeter on the battery. Put the red positive cable on the positive battery terminal indicated by the stamped “+” insignia on the battery case. Place the negative lead of the voltmeter on the negative battery terminal indicated by the “-” insignia stamped on the battery case. If the voltmeter indicates 12.4 volts or less, recharge or replace the battery before continuing.

Voltmeter To Check A Car That Turns Off
Use the Voltmeter

2- Search for corrosion or flojedad

Inspects battery terminal clamps for corrosion or looseness. Clean the terminals if necessary, but before you unplug them, put a memory saver on the power outlet inside the vehicle.

3- Loosen the battery terminal clamps and remove them.

Use a hand wrench to loosen the clamps on the ground terminals, then remove them. Clean the terminals with terminal cleaner and a wire brush. Replace and tighten terminals.

A car won't start because of the battery
Check battery

4- Have an assistant turn the ignition key

You must have someone else turn the ignition key. Determine if there is a clicking sound when the ignition key is on and locate the component under the hood (or vehicle) that is making the noise. If the starter motor is making the clicking noise, check the wires connected to it for corrosion and looseness.

5- Check the starter motor

Use a hand wrench to loosen the retaining nuts that hold the cable connections to the starter motor. Clean the blades on the connections with a wire brush and replace them.

6- Light test

Have your assistant turn the ignition key. If there is still an audible click or no start, try having the assistant disengage the ignition key and turn on the headlights. Have the assistant turn the ignition key back on while you look at the headlights. If they remain stable without darkening, the boot is most likely bad. If they dim to a low level, the battery is most likely the problem.

7- Remove the starter and have it tested

Remove the starter and take it to an auto parts store for bench testing if the battery passed the headlight test. If the starter can’t be rebuilt, you’ll need to replace it.

Advice

When the alternator fails in a vehicle, the red battery light will illuminate on the vehicle’s dash. Once the alternator can no longer replace the necessary voltage back to the battery to keep it charged during operation, all electrical demand will literally suck the life out of the battery until it can no longer provide a charge to the vehicle. The motor will turn off once the battery is depleted.

Items you will need

  • Voltmeter
  • small wire brush
  • terminal cleaner
  • hand wrench set

Don’t stop reading: How To Test The Starter Motor When It Sounds Ugly

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