Is it the Alternator Or Battery?: How To Tell Which Part Is The Problem, When Your Car can’t Start.

Imagine trying to head to pay a visit to someone on a sunny afternoon and your car won’t start, the first thing you check after checking your fuel tank meter to see if the fuel tank is empty and then you check if your battery is working. If it is the battery, you jumpstart your battery either from your neighbour or anyone around. Boom, this has fixed the issue for the time being. Still, the faults are still there.

When such occurrence occurs, most people would assume that the faults came from the battery, or the alternator, or even somewhere else in the car electrical system.

Here are few things that you can do by yourself before you get in touch with a mechanic to fix what is wrong:

  • Take a look at your battery. You need to start with this because battery problems are very common, especially in hot/cold weather.
  • Check the battery gauge on your dashboard to make sure that the car is still getting a charge even when it’s switched off. If you notice that the light on your is dim and flickering, then likely there’s a problem with the car battery.
  • If the light is not dim, turn off everything. Then check your battery wiring connections for corrosion or if a wire is not properly connected. Sometimes the problem is simply that there’s not enough contact or a wire was not connected.
  • If you noticed corrosion seems to be the problem, remove the battery cables first and use a bit of steel wool to clean up the corrosion.
  • After the cleanup and you noticed that it had solved the problem, awesome, but if the cleanup didn’t, this means you may have a dead battery, or a bad alternator.
  • You can check if it is the alternator by simply starting your car and disconnecting the negative battery cable/wire. Ensure that you do this carefully because there are a lot of moving parts in your engine compartment that could cause injury.
  • When the negative cable is disconnected, and the car stopped suddenly, then the alternator is likely the culprit.

If the alternator is faulty, you’ll need to contact your mechanics or contact Autoland mechanics, sign up for early access here to have access to 100+ verified mechanics.