My Car Will Not Start! Is it the Battery, Alternator or Starter?
It’s very easy to panic and assume the worst when your car will not start. But, before you panic, try to see if a faulty battery, alternator or starter is the problem. These three parts of a car closely work together, so it can be hard to tell which one has failed. Below, we’ll describe how to diagnose which of the three is faulty.
Alternator and Starter Diagnosis
Rotating electrical parts such as starters and alternators often have to be replaced on older, high-mileage vehicles. Fuel injection has helped prolong the service life of starters by allowing engines to start more quickly when they are cranked. Such is not the case with alternators. Higher electrical demands on charging systems have increased alternator failures.
Use Your Ears and Your Headlights to Help Diagnose Your Starter System
Funny sounds, or no sound, upon the turn of the key may indicate electrical problems in the starter or elsewhere in the starting system. Some of the most common electrical problems are corroded electrical connections, an undercharged or bad battery, or a malfunctioning component:
Car Starter Problems? Five Starting-System Inspection Tips
If you suspect the starter motor, take it to an auto parts store for testing. Many auto parts outlets will test your starter for free. An aged starter motor may have worn out brushes, armature, shaft, or burned field winding that may cause unusual noises, excessive current draw, slow cranking or no cranking at all.
A quick inspection at an auto parts store will reveal the drive mechanism and motor general condition, whether the starter draws enough current to operate, and the general state of the internal components.
AUTOZONE STARTING & CHARGING GUIDE – STARTER
The starter motor is mounted to the back of the engine block. When the key is turned to start the car or truck, the starter motor turns, engages with the flywheel by the starter solenoid and cranks the engine. When the engine starts and the key is released, the starter disengages the flywheel and stops turning so that the starter is not damaged by staying engaged with a turning flywheel.
Solving Common Aftermarket Starter Problems
Solution #4: Clean the starter mounting surface. Most starters are grounded through the mounting block, and if there is excessive oil or paint on the block, the starter will have a faulty ground.
Starter Problems-What Do You Hear When You Try to Start Your Car?
If your lights are bright with the engine off, but they get really dim when you turn the engine over with the starter, and the engine turns over very slowly, you may have starter problems. If battery terminals get hot along with the battery cable (positive and negative) you probably have starter problems.
Lewisville Auto Repair
If your vehicle is a Ford, it is important to note that many Ford vehicles use an external starter solenoid which is usually mounted on the fender or firewall. If you make an attempt to start your vehicle and get only silence in return, this could mean that the solenoid is actually the problem. Many Ford solenoids are grounded through the bolts that are holding them to the body of your vehicle, so it is important to make sure that the bolts are clean and tight for a good ground. A bad ground at the battery can also make the solenoid malfunction.