Question: I went out to start my car and it won’t start. Is it a bad battery or a bad alternator? What do I do?
Answer: The battery is the component that starts your car. But the alternator, that’s what keeps the car and all the electrical components in your car, running. So if your car won’t start, the first thing that I would check is the battery.
How to check your car’s battery:
First of all, when you turn the key can you turn on the radio or is everything dead? Then it’s probably the battery. Check the battery cables. Are they connected? Is there any corrosion where the battery cables connect with the terminals? If so, you’ll need to use a battery brush to brush off the corrosion.
If you suspect your battery is dead you can use a portable battery charging, testing unit such as the CTEK/Multi US 7002 battery charger. We love this little device because it even analyzes your battery and tells you if your battery can hold a charge or not. (If it can’t, you need a new battery.) By the way, we recommend having your battery replaced by a reputable auto repair shop.
If you have alternator problems, you probably will experience some of these symptoms.
- Are your headlights dim or do they pulse from dim to bright?
- Does your car seem to lose power when you turn on your radio or multiple electronics?
- Is the dashboard alternator warning light or battery light on?
If you suspect you have alternator or battery problems, the best thing to do is to go see a licensed and experienced mechanic who can safety test your vehicle’s battery and alternator and let you know where the problem is.
At Automotive Technology of West Islip, we specialize in full service auto repair including alternator and battery replacement.