Car battery vs alternator: which prevents your car from starting?

24/06/2019

Between your car battery vs alternator, which prevents your car from starting? Find out every information you seek right here, brought by Naijacarnews!

Have there been times when you turn on the ignition and the car doesn't start? You pull out the key, turn it to the side or even use the spare to try again and still nothing! You'll even consider trying the door, boot, or even house key and still no rev. I can imagine the chills it sends to your body, because you're already thinking of the thousands of naira you'll spend getting a new engine or paying that mechanic down your street.

But before you start panicking, it might actually not be a major repair that will have you emptying your bank account. It might be simple issues with the car alternator or your battery. Now the question win be, between the car battery vs alternator, which prevents your car from starting? Well, Naijacarnews have gone the extra mile to find the exact culprit and bring you all the answers you need.

1. The car battery

It's important that you know which is the cause of the problem so you don't spend time and money tackling the wrong issues. Usually, Nigerians immediately blame the battery and start seeking someone with a 'newer" battery to start the car with. Others even rush to the nearest store to buy a new battery, not knowing that the alternator can actually be culprit.

In the case where the alternator has gone bad, you will only end up damaging the new battery some more. Keep in mind that the life span of the alternator actually lasts longer than that of the battery. So the bad alternator will only make the battery life shorter. Therefore, before concluding, here's how you can check the battery for possible issues.

car-engine

Before you conclude that your battery is the culprit for starting failure, also check the alternator!

Check if the positive and negative terminals have gotten rusted. If they are, it could be the reason enough power isn't being passed into the battery. First thing is to find a way to clean the rust. You can use a rust cleaning brush, sponge and battery cleaner or fizzy drinks. Simply remove the red and black wires that clamp on the terminals and clean them.

However, if the wires on the clamps are the ones that have gotten rusted, then you'll have to trim them. The wires can also be frayed or damaged too, so trimming before reattaching them could save you the stress of worrying.

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Another way of knowing if the battery is bad is bu checking the voltage. If you have a multimeter or you can borrow one from an electrician, you can as well check the voltage. There are two clamps on the device, they should be attached to the negative and positive terminals of the battery. Once connected, check the reading. Anything from 12.5 volts and below is sign that you need to either recharge the battery or get a new one.

Jump-starting it will simply be a waste of time. If you feel the reading is wrong, try starting the engine - it likely would give you the same reading. Once you have carried out these procedures, the car should start. If it doesn't, the next probable culprit is the alternator.

2. The alternator

The alternator is the device that ensures enough power is supplied to the battery while the engine is on. There are multiple ways to examine the alternator. Firstly, check the voltage with the multimeter - like you did with the car battery. Put the key in the ignition and then it on. Also put on the stereo, air conditioning, inner lights and your windshield wipers. As the multimeter is connected, it should read somewhere around 13 - 15 V. When you turn off the ignition, it should not get to 12.6 V, or there's a problem. If it gets to that, then the alternator is likely the problem.

car-alternator

Your car alternator will look like this under the hood

Another thing to examine on the alternator is the wiring and power belt. Just like the battery terminals, if the wiring that connects the battery and alternator is rusted, burnt, loose, cut or spoilt, you will have to trim or change them. The power belt too should be good too. If not, the alternator has gone bad. To be more certain, you can turn on your headlights and the inner light while you turn the ignition on. If it keeps dimming or blinking, then it's likely the alternator.

With all these tests and signs, it's easy for you to know between the car battery vs alternator, which prevents the car from starting. A bad alternator leads to a bad battery, but hardly the other way round. So, always endeavour to check the battery first, and when everything works right you can then examine the alternator to ensure it is working properly.

>>> Many more car care articles and automotive news are waiting on Naijacarnews.com!

Kennedy Ilediagu

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