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Is My Car Battery Dead or is My Alternator Bad?

Getting into your car and turning the key only to find that your car won't start is never a pleasant experience in Lakewood, CO. While most car owners will automatically think that the battery is dead, sometimes it can be an issue with the alternator or other starting and charging system components. Let's take a look at how you can better understand what the issue is and what to do next. 

The battery is responsible for giving that initial charge to the starting system which helps to get your engine running when you turn the key in the ignition (or push to start). Once your vehicle is actually running, the alternator is the component that helps recharge the battery as you drive. This helps to power your vehicle's electrical system and keeps your vehicle running. 

A car battery typically lasts anywhere from 3 to 5 years, so if you have an old battery in your car, it may be that your battery finally lost all of its juice. It could be that it just can't hold a charge anymore, or maybe you left a light on inside your car overnight. If the issue is with the battery, you may notice the following symptoms: 

  • The engine cranking is sluggish when trying to start your car
  • Your car starts inconsistently 
  • No sound when trying to start your car
  • No lights on the dashboard when you try to start your car
  • Jumpstart works

If the problem is with the alternator, you will notice these symptoms: 

  • No-start situation
  • Dimming lights
  • Stereo or other electrical problems such as power windows or locks
  • Car starts but stalls after driving for a while

While sometimes the problem can be differentiated between the alternator and the battery just by looking at the symptoms, an expert here at Pickering's Auto Service can definitely help determine the issue at hand. The best way for us to understand the problem is by running tests and seeing how much charge your battery has. If your battery is good, we look at the alternator or other charging and starting system components. If the battery is bad, a battery replacement will be recommended and will hopefully fix the issue.  Read more here!

If you're experiencing troubles with your vehicle starting or staying on or suspect you need an alternator or battery repair, we invite you into our shop here at Pickering's Auto Service in Lakewood, CO today. Our professionals will determine what your vehicle needs to be restored and get you back on the road in a timely manner! Give us a call or stop by today.  You can also Contact Us here!

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