How to Tell the Difference Between a Bad Battery and Bad Alternator

Diagnosing mysterious automotive issues is just part of being a car owner. But without proper training and education, maintaining a comprehensive understanding of automotive mechanics is not easily accomplished. So, when something starts to go wrong with your car, it is impossible for you to mistake it for something else. Such is the case with batteries and alternators.

Because the car battery and alternator both contribute to electrical power sourcing in the car, they can exhibit overlapping signs of malfunction. If you are having electrical problems in your vehicle, it could be the car battery or the alternator, or possibly even the starter. In either case, it is not safe to drive a vehicle in this condition.

Continue reading to learn how to tell the difference between a bad bet battery and about alternator, plus what to do if you detect these symptoms in your vehicle while driving.

24 Hour Roadside Assistance Indianapolis Indiana 317-247-8484
24 Hour Roadside Assistance Indianapolis Indiana 317-247-8484

Battery or Alternator? Or Starter?

Symptoms of a Bad Alternator

In most cases, the car battery is to blame rather than the alternator. That is because alternators typically last between eight and twelve years, only requiring replacement prematurely in the case of acute damage. However, the signs of failing alternator are very similar to the signs of car battery malfunction, sometimes making it tricky to confirm an alternator issue. For this reason, it is important how the car battery tested before having your alternator checked out.

The most common signs of a failing alternator include:

▷ Illuminated Check Engine Light
▷ Flickering Dashboard Lights
▷ Dimming Dashboard Lights
▷ Smell Of Burnt Rubber
▷ Whirring or Grinding Sounds
▷ Car Dying Immediately After Jump Start

Symptoms of a Failing Car Battery

As mentioned, before you have your alternator checked out for any defects, first test to see if it’s the car battery causing your automotive problems. The most common signs of a failing car battery include a battery older than 5 years, dimming dashboard lights, dimming headlights or taillights, and an illuminated check engine light. However, there are many more signs of a bad car battery, and you need to know them all.

The most common signs of a bad car battery include:

▷ Aging Car Battery
▷ Low Battery Fluid
▷ Leaky Car Battery
▷ Dimming Headlights/Taillights
▷ Illuminated Check Engine Light
▷ Visible Battery Corrosion
▷ Swollen Battery Case
▷ Slowly Cranking Engine

Diagnosing a Bad Car Starter

In many cases, after troubleshooting the car battery and alternator, a person can come up empty-handed. When this happens, is typically the starter to blame. Common signs of a bad car starter include many of the same symptoms of about alternator or battery, but also seeing visible smoke coming from the car after starting it and an engine that refuses to crank over. If your car won’t start, but the lights come on, it is a definite sign that the starter is failing.

Is your vehicle exhibiting any of these signs of automotive malfunction while out on the road? If so, don’t drive it any further. Contact Zore’s Towing for 24 hour roadside assistance and towing services in Indianapolis and its surrounding locations. We operate 24/7, year-round.

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