Summerlin Auto Repair

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Starting Problems? Is it the Battery or the Alternator?

Your car will not start, and you are beginning to panic. Is it the alternator or battery? That is an excellent question considering these 2 parts work almost identically yet each has its own job. Here is a rundown of both the alternator and its functions as well as the battery and its functions.

How to Find Out Why Your Car Will Not Start

Between the alternator and the battery, you should begin the diagnosis with the battery. The reason, this is more often than not the cause of the vehicle not starting. 

The Battery

The battery will typically last 3 to 5 years. Also, it is not meant for this part of the car to continually be charged. As you drive, the alternator performs its job and recharges the battery. The battery is an essential part of the automobile. It provides an electrical charge to the electric components of the vehicle when it is not running. Over time, the parts of the battery will corrode.

Signs of a Dead Battery

  • A low whine will come from the vehicle when you try starting it
  • If a jump start works, but you need another one to get it started again.

The Alternator

The alternator's job is to keep the battery charged. So, if the alternator is faulty, it will not charge the battery. Here are a few tests you can run to determine if it is the alternator of the battery.

Signs of a Faulty Alternator

  • You have heard a growling sound in the engine compartment
  • There is a smell of burning rubber or wires that is coming from the alternator overheating
  • The dash lights or headlights may flicker, or the gadgets are beginning to act up
  • The jump start works, but the engine dies immediately following the start

Regardless, if you are in need of a battery or alternator to be repaired on your car, we invite you to bring the vehicle to our repair shop today. Our licensed mechanics will be ready to service the vehicle and repair the problem.

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