CAR BATTERY AND STARTER PROBLEMS
Battery and Starter Problems
Car Battery and Starter Problems
You’re in a rush and you jump into your car hoping to drive away as fast as legally possible, only to find yourself hot and flustered because it won’t start. At best, you might hear a whining sound. Sometimes it could be just a click-click-click. And sometimes, it could just be the sound of silence.
Diagnosing what is wrong - whether it is your car battery, or the starter, ignition or charging system can seem puzzling to you, but listening to the sound the car makes can give you a clue.
Battery/Alternator or Starter Problems?
Battery or Alternator
The battery and alternator work together to provide constant electrical power to the car. The battery stores electricity and powers up the car and its electrical components when the car is not moving. Once it gets moving, the alternator takes over and produces electricity to recharge the battery so it can run the car. How to tell if there’s a problem with the battery or alternator?
Low Battery. It could be low battery if a low whining sound is produced as the car is started. If this is the case, the temporary remedy is to use jumper cables and another vehicle to get the car started.
Old Battery. If it is not a low battery, it could be that the battery is simply old. The cells in the battery can dry up and rust. In a healthy battery, the cells are covered in clear fluid, usually distilled water. When the cells get dry, they lose their charge and die quickly. It is important to keep the liquid topped up to keep the battery in good condition.
Newer batteries called maintenance free or low maintenance batteries are sealed and do not require topping up with distilled water. However, even new batteries eventually get to the point where they will not hold a charge, and so need to be replaced.
Defective Alternator. A low battery could be caused by a faulty or defective alternator. The alternator charges the battery when the car is running. If the interior and dashboard lights come on brightly but start to fade, it points to a problem with the alternator.
Another indicator of alternator trouble is if the car lights run brightly if you are moving at a fast clip, but they start to lose power and dim when the car slows down. A defective alternator will not charge the battery sufficiently. If the car is allowed to stop, the battery will not have been charged and would easily run out of power even while just attempting to start the car. Have the alternator tested and replaced if necessary.
Clicking sound or no sound at all. The first indicator of a starter problem is if you hear clicking sounds or no sound at all when you turn the key. It could also indicate a problem with the battery. The way to find out is to turn on the headlights and interior lights. If they light up properly, the most probable culprit would be the starter.
Speed of the start itself. If the car is sluggish when you crank to a start, it may also indicate a faulty starter.
Grinding sound. This sound points to a problem with the gears in the starter being worn out and not working properly any more. It is called freewheeling and the sound is akin to the noise your car makes when you accidentally try to start it again while it is already running.
If you’re encountering any problems starting your car, bring it in and have it checked by our qualified mechanics. We are experts at diagnosing and fixing battery, starter, and alternator problems.
If you have any questions, feel free to call us as well at 951-461-2507. Need for more information on electrical system problems? Click here
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