Starting Problems? Is it the Battery or the Alternator?

Starting a vehicle's engine and keeping it running involves three simple steps. Firstly, the battery delivers a current to the starter, which starts the car, prompting the alternator into action. The alternator charges the battery while the vehicle's running, completing the cycle.

If your car won't start, the culprits could be the battery or alternator. Jump-starting it may help identify the cause of the problem. If the jump-start works, but your vehicle goes off shortly after, the alternator may not be charging the battery. If the car starts, but you have trouble starting it later using the battery's charge, it's a sign that the battery may be dead. Read on to discover the signs of a malfunctioning alternator or dead battery.

Signs of a Malfunctioning Alternator

Alternators can serve your automobile for approximately six to 10 years. If it malfunctions, it'll only be a matter of time before the battery follows suit, leading to problems with your car starting. That's why you should know some signs that show it may need replacing. They include screeching sounds before the component stops working, dimmer headlights or dashboard lights, and a burning odor, resulting from the element overheating. A faulty alternator may also cause the electrical accessories in your car to malfunction.

Signs Your Vehicle Has a Dead or Faulty Battery

A quality car battery should serve you for at least five years. However, this doesn't mean it can retain its charge throughout this period. The alternator helps recharge the battery while you're driving. The metal components making up your car's battery may begin to corrode or rust over time, reducing its ability to maintain a charge for long periods.

Indicators that your vehicle's starting problems may be due to battery issues include a sluggish response when you crank the engine and corrosion on the battery. Dimmer headlights and low whining noises as you start the car may also show you need to invest in a new car battery.

Regardless of where the issue may lie, a vehicle that won't start can put a drag on your day, especially when you're in traffic. Therefore, if you need a battery or alternator repair, you're welcome to bring your vehicle to German Motorworks.

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