Is it My Battery, Alternator or Starter?

06.27.14

My vehicle won’t start, now what?

Believe it or not, the first tool you need to use is your ears and you don’t necessarily need to even get out and raise the hood.

If you initially hear a clicking sound, that’s your starter trying to turn over the engine without receiving enough power from the battery.

It could be something simple like dirty terminal connections. If the terminals are dirty inside it might not transfer enough power to start the engine. It will allow the dash lights and radio to work, but not enough power to start the engine.

If you don’t hear clicking, but instead hear a high-speed whine, it could be your starter getting enough power but not engaging the engine.

If you don’t hear a clicking or a whirring, then it could be that the battery has lost its charge. Did you leave the headlights on or a door open for an extended period of time and drain the battery?

If this is not a one-time thing and you find the battery frequently dead, it could be the battery needs replacing OR that the alternator isn’t recharging it adequately. Once the vehicle is started, it is the alternator’s job to power the vehicle AND recharge the battery.

The starter gets its initial power from the battery, the starter turns the engine. When the engine turns on its own, it also turns the alternator which, in turn, recharges the battery.

If this sounds a lot like “the neckbone is connected to the shoulder bone which is connected to the elbow bone”, don’t worry!

Bring it into heritage and we’ll help sort it out for you.

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