Car Won’t Start – Is it my battery, alternator or starter motor?

Car Won’t Start – Is it my battery, alternator or starter motor?

why my car won't start

Does your car turn on but won’t start? Finding yourself in a situation where your car won’t start can be confusing and frustrating, especially if you’re in a rush to go somewhere. In many cases, the car battery is at fault, but what if the battery is fine? Here’s how you can diagnose whether the battery alternator or starter motor is at fault and what you can do about it.

The Battery

The battery is usually where most people start. Car batteries will last for about 3 – 5 years depending on how it’s used, and they will eventually run dry. Unfortunately, you cannot prolong your car battery’s longevity, so it’s essential to keep up with regular maintenance and replace your battery before this happens. A jump start is usually enough to get you back on the road (to drive to a mechanic), but once the battery starts dying, you should get it replaced as soon as possible. 

These are some symptoms of a dead car battery:

  • The warning light illuminates, indicating an issue with the battery or alternator
  • Car won’t crank or start, and no lights turn on
  • The engine may crank but won’t start
  • You hear a low whining noise when starting the car
  • If you have needed to jump-start your vehicle multiple times in the week, you should have the battery replaced.

If your battery needs replacing, we highly recommend getting a professional car battery replacement service to ensure you get a quality battery installed properly.

The Alternator

The alternator is responsible for keeping the battery charged after the initial start and provides power to operate the car. The alternator typically lasts for 8 – 12 years, so it doesn’t need to be replaced as much as the battery, but it still needs maintenance from time to time. As the alternator generates the electricity needed for all the car electrical components like the ignition, computer, windows and locks, it’s crucial it continues to operate. 

These are some symptoms of a bad alternator:

  • Headlights and dashboard lights may appear dimmer than usual
  • The battery warning light may illuminate while driving
  • If your engine starts but stops after a jump start, the alternator may likely be at fault
  • The alternator works with belts and spins to generate power. You may smell burning rubber or hear grinding or whining noises.

If you have car alternator problems, find your closest alternator repairs shop in Sydney to get your car back on the road. 

The Starter

The starter is the gear mechanism that starts your engine when you twist the key or push the start button. The starter draws power from the battery, so the starter won’t work if the battery is dead. 

The gears on the starter will eventually wear as well, so you should look out for these signs of starter motor problems if you have an ancient vehicle:

  • The starter makes a clicking noise when trying to turn the key
  • Dashboard illuminates, but the car won’t start
  • Engine won’t start when jumpstarting

If you are experiencing issues with any part of your vehicle, talk to SCAR today, who can offer the best starter motor service, car battery replacement and alternator repairs at competitive prices.

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