Troubleshooting Battery Problems In Your Car

Automotive Blog

You don't have to think much about your car battery until something goes wrong. They are made to keep working until the last moment when they give out. There are a few signs to tell you that there could be a battery problem. Then it's time to drive right to an auto repair services shop to get it looked at. Delaying that trip might find you stranded in the mall parking lot with a dead battery. Here is how to tell if your battery needs attention.

What Your Battery Really Does For You

The battery provides electricity when your car isn't running. When the engine is running, the alternator generates the electricity used by your car. It also charges up the battery. The times when your car relies just on the battery includes:

  • Starting the engine.
  • Running accessories, such as the radio, when the car is turned off.
  • Allows the power locks to work when the car is off.
  • Keeps the time on any electronic clocks while the car is off.

When a Battery Fails

At some point in time, your battery will fail to charge up from the alternator. When this happens, it doesn't take long for the battery to run down until it's completely dead. You'll know there is a battery problem when you see these symptoms:

  • The car lights dim when you shut the engine off and before you turn the key to "Off".
  • Your clock loses time.
  • The radio loses it's station programming.
  • The engine turns over slowly when you try to start it.

These are good signs to get to an auto parts store or repair shop quickly before the battery dies completely.

Battery or Alternator?

There is a chance that the alternator is starting to go bad and it's not recharging the battery as it should. You can test this easily with the following steps.

You'll need a pair of pliers and a flat-blade screwdriver to do these troubleshooting steps.

  1. With the engine running, open the hood and find the battery.
  2. Look for the black (negative) battery cable and where it's attached to the battery.
  3. Loosen the negative battery clamp and remove it from the battery post while the engine is running.
  4. If the engine continues to run smoothly, the alternator is likely OK.
  5. If the engine starts to run rough or dies, the alternator is faulty.

When you get to the repair shop, tell the technician about your results. They will do more tests on the alternator and tell you if it needs to be replaced. Your battery might be fine and the alternator is the problem.

For more information, contact Byrd Automotive Repair LLC or a similar company.


14 August 2015