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How to Diagnose an Alternator or Electrical Problem

Updated on November 09, 2016

Diagnosing alternator problems can be a bit tricky because the electrical system in a car comes from two places, the battery and the alternator. I'll give you a little background so you can understand what both systems do.

  • The battery has one primary function, which is to start the car. It provides the high amount of voltage needed to turn the engine over. After the engine is running, the alternator takes over.
  • The alternator is basically a generator that provides an even amount of low-level electricity, which it generates with a circular bundle of copper wires and a rotating magnet.

After the engine starts (thanks to the high voltage provided by the battery), the alternator provides the electricity required to power the car's many electrical functions, including the lights and radio, the spark, charging the battery, and others.

What Happens When Your Car Has an Electrical Problem

When your car has an electrical problem you will notice any of the following:

  • Car power slowly dies while you're driving.
  • Lights begin to dim.
  • Trouble starting car.
  • Car won't start at all.

What to Check to Diagnose Your Car's Electrical Problem

Spark Plug or Ignition Coil
Solenoid or Starter
If the problem is a bad alternator, your car will slowly lose power. You'll be driving down the road, your lights will dim, and you'll lose power and die.
If the problem is with your battery, then you'll generally only have trouble starting your car since that's the battery's main function. Your lights may also be very dim.
When an ignition coil goes bad, the result is similar to a failed alternator: The car loses power and won't start.
If your car's solenoid or starter are bad, the lights will shine brightly but the engine will not start.
Once the alternator stops working, so do all of the electrical systems required to keep a car going.
Other problems can also cause a car to not start. It could be a bad starter, corroded cables, or a broken connection somewhere between the battery and starter.
When a coil goes bad there may be smoke or odor. Open the hood immediately and check.
A failed solenoid can make a clicking sound when you try to start the engine.

What Causes a Faulty Coil or Spark Plug?

Spark plug or coil problems can also make your car lose power and die. The ignition coil turns the battery's low voltage to the thousands of volts needed to create an electric spark in the spark plugs, which ignite the fuel. Coils can fail due to heat or vibration, or when there is a bad connection to the spark plugs.

As described above, when the coil goes bad, parts of it often melt and there's sometimes smoke or an odor. This will only really help you if you open up the hood immediately after it happens and check. If you check hours or days after the fact, then you won't be able to smell anything anymore.

Dual ignition coils (the blue cylinders at the top of the picture) on a Saab 92.
Dual ignition coils (the blue cylinders at the top of the picture) on a Saab 92. | Source

Test Your Systems Before Going to the Auto Parts Store

Before you go out and order a new battery or alternator, test some of these different systems. If your alternator, coil, battery, or starter is bad, the car probably won't start, and it definitely won't be drivable.

Try to get as much information as possible so that you can get the right parts quickly when you go to the auto store.

Depending on which system is bad, you should be able to fix it yourself.

Alternator Prices and Installation

Make sure that your current alternator is beyond repair first before getting a new one.

Alternator prices can vary greatly by make and model, but generally speaking, new alternators should run around $250 without labor for installation.

If you're going to order and install the part for yourself, then it shouldn't be too expensive — just a few hundred bucks. If you need to have it installed by the mechanic, then the price might be a bit higher.

Depending on where your alternator is located within the compartment, the installation might only take an hour. But if the alternator is difficult to access, it might require removal of other parts and it could take many hours.


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    • X&~X 5 years ago

      Been reading about alternators all day; this is by far the clearest, best article on the topic that I've seen. Thank you.

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 5 years ago from San Diego, California

      Thanks! That's very kind of you to say.

    • Ada 5 years ago

      Thank you- Very helpful clear article!

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 5 years ago from San Diego, California

      You're very welcome Ada!

    • o. george 5 years ago

      this info is so timely. keep up the good work guys.thanks

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 5 years ago from San Diego, California

      Thanks George. Glad you found it useful.

    • taurusbulldog 5 years ago

      Potholes can cause the alternator ground wire to become loose;retighen it, car now starts ffine.

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 5 years ago from San Diego, California

      Hey that's really good advice. I didn't think of that. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jon G. 5 years ago

      awesome article, very clear and to the point and well written. thank you

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 5 years ago from San Diego, California

      Thanks Jon! That's very nice of you to say.

    • yvonne 5 years ago

      Thanks to you all who have given me help, good to go on line an find people who give help freely, I am a novice and those unfortunates caught up in the failing economy. Never had a car this old, 1992 Ford Taurus. Thanks again, learned things I did not know.

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 5 years ago from San Diego, California

      Yvonne, you're very welcome! Old cars can get expensive fast if you don't at least try and troubleshoot some of the problems yourself. Thanks for your comments. I hope everything works out.

    • pramod 5 years ago

      i want an alternator expert who can give giideline ......

      input 18 watt & out put 80 watt with 200 rmp........

      can any one suggest me.............

    • EE 4 years ago

      The battery doesn't provide high voltage, that's provided by a coil, it provides high current. Batteries are around 12 Volts DC but their amperage varies with the battery type. It's the reason you see the ads for "cold cranking amps" and the like.

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 4 years ago from San Diego, California

      Yeah, you're right about that. That's a good correction.

    • Bubba 4 years ago

      When I use power such as headlights, blinkers, radio, AC and heat the worst it runs. If u use a blinker you can see a dramatic loss of power while looking at the battery guage and you can feel the truck just get weak and loose power. Is it true I need to have my alternator customized by adding a smaller pulley and and giving it more amps?

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 4 years ago from San Diego, California

      I wouldn't think so, but I haven't heard of this type of thing happening very often. If you're running a stock alternator, it should be able to cover the load it was designed for. All cars will experience a noticeable lack of power when running the AC, but experiencing a lack of power just by running the blinkers and radio is a bit excessive. Has this happened the whole time you've owned the truck? Are you sure the battery is good? Hmm, I'm going to have to think about this one. I've not heard of anyone experiencing loss of power like this from running simple electrical functions.

    • joe 4 years ago

      I have a problem ok my car started completely fine i drove it 10 min parked it turned it off i had the head lights and heat on which i turned everything off then i put my key in the ignition when i went to turn the car on everything went out no lights blinkers interior lights nothing i got a jump turned right on however now the car just turns on as if that never happened what warning could this be? Its a,94 Mitsubishi 3000Gt

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 4 years ago from San Diego, California

      Hmm, that's odd. I've not heard of anything that drastic happening before. Is everything running properly now? You must have had some kind of power surge and you may have blown a fuse. I've done that before in a situation like yours. I was running heat and head lights for about 15 minutes and then when I went to turn on the car, I blew a fuse and my SRS airbag went out until the fuse was replaced.

    • joe 4 years ago

      It seems to be fine i started the car up today like normal my srs light has always been on though i,, thought it was my battery i took it to AutoZone they tested my battery said there wasn't a signal said my battery is dead then told me try to start the car which it turned on as if nothing happened very confusing i just don't want this happening again luckily i was close to home next time could be further away you know.

    • michael 4 years ago

      Hi I left my headlights on and my battery went dead i got a jump and not 10 mins later the radio started blinking and my car died while driving. Do you think my alternator went out. Its a 1997 hyundai tiboron

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 4 years ago from San Diego, California

      Sounds like it, Michael. Sometimes, while getting a jump, a person can inadvertently damage electrical components under the hood. If you touch the two ends of the cables together while the other ends are hooked to the battery, for example, you can send a spike of electricity through the system that can wipe out the solenoid or damage the alternator. That might be what happened unfortunately.

    • Jered 4 years ago

      Great article. Extremely informative. My girlfriend's car recently would not start. I came to her house the next day to look at it. I tested the voltage on the battery before jumping it and it read 12 volts. I jumped the car, and then the voltage read 14 volts. Everything seemed fine. So I went to drive it to her work so she could have it. About 2 minutes into the drive, the radio turned off. Then the tacometer and speedometer shut off. Then the odometer went. I figured the alternator must be dying so I aborted my trip and quickly drove the car back to her house. I thought it was odd, seeing as I tested the voltages before I went. But when I got back, I tested them again with the car off. The battery read 10 volts. And then I jumped it one last time, and tested it and it read about 8 volts. Long story, but the mechanic she took it to said it was the battery. For some reason I think that's not right. Maybe the battery is done now, but wouldn't that be because the alternator failed and thus sucked the life out of the batter? Any help would be appreciated.

    • Ron 4 years ago

      A well written article explaining the difference between a battery's purpose and an alternator.

    • Andrew 4 years ago

      Omg....thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed article. Very helpful!

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 4 years ago from San Diego, California

      Hey guys. I'm really sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you.

      Jared -- Yeah, your first thought would be my first thought as well. If the battery is completely shot and won't hold a charge at all really, then I suppose it could cause problems like what you're describing while driving. But I don't know how you could get a battery into such a poor state. I would think it's the alternator as well. They should be able to test it at the mechanic and know for sure.

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 4 years ago from San Diego, California

      Thanks Ron and Andrew, that's very cool of you to say. It's awesome to see that people are doing their research and not just trusting the mechanic for everything.

    • Shawna 4 years ago

      Hi, I left my headlights on for an hour and a half by mistake. I attempted to jump start the car and it did not work. The headlights worked, the radio did as well. When I tried to turn the car on it rattled. So, this isn't a battery problem. Is this a starter issue? Would leaving the lights on cause a starter to die?


    • SMMorse 4 years ago

      i have a 2004 alero, and i have a problem where it works fine for days,weeks or months at a time then i'll go to start it one day, it will start then die. I know when this is going to happen cause my interior light won't come on when i open the door(but all other electronics are fine). this malfunction starting last random amounts of time, sometimes 5 minutes sometimes 3 days but always starts eventually. Replaced battery, idling fan, ignition switch, and checked fuses. has anyone heard or experienced this problem? any help would be appreciated.

    • toasttoo 4 years ago

      Help.I have a 94 Honda civic I have had 2 batteries in 3 weeks, my nephew replaced the starter 3months ago NOW my car won't start I had someone jump me off the auto parts store said its the alternator, I'm the caretaker of my 86 yr old mother. Money is tight..could it be the connection from the starter to my 2nd new battery? .Thank you for any help.

    • Shulamis Boozer profile image

      Shulamis Boozer 4 years ago from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

      Hi how are you I have a kia sportage 2000. It has been driving well for the past two yrs but lately when I drive it somewhere when I get back in the car sometimes it wont start. Well it will start then shake then cut off after I wait like 15mins then when I start it again it cuts on. All this has been happening for a week. Thank you very much please help

    • Heinako 4 years ago

      Very good write-up.

      Had a problem yesterday. When I switched the starter key , lights went down and the car wouldn't start. Next day (after 8 hours or so) the car started up as if nothing had happened. I let it run for an hour, but the problem did not re-occur.

    • amber 4 years ago

      Replaced the alternator & Battery and Battery light will not go off! Soon as I pull the battery cable off the car dies

    • Mj 4 years ago

      I always encounter a faulty alternator, this is the third time i need to replace my alternator. My alternator last for about a year or more but not more than 2 years after i replaced them. What do you think is the problem of my car? Is it because of the alternators or is there something else? Thank you in advance.

    • Adrienne 4 years ago

      Please help. Last week we were driving and went to plug my phone charger in and my fiancé noticed that the radio light was out and the rpm was doing something funny. Then the car died. We had it jumped but it wont start. let it sit for 40 mins then it started again and got it home. pulled the alternator and it was bad and got a new one. ran fine for a week then the radio light went out and dashboard lights and rpm acted funny. pulled over and revved the engine and the lights came back on. turned the car off and it started no problems. next day after a little drive to my one kids school it was fine then to my other kids school the car died again. the lights went out and the rpm acted funny. let it sit for 20 mins and came back and jumped it and it started no problem. my fiancé and his brother put the battery on the charger for a good 3 hours. then it started to do it again when my fiancé was driving back after taking me to work but it didn't die. Is it my battery or something else? Im tight on money so we are trying to fix it on our own. Please an ideas would be awesome.!!

    • chedel kapika 4 years ago

      i have a 1996 honda accord 4cyl i just bought a new battery and a new altenator.... but within 3 days the battery dies... i get a new battery same thing... i had the altenator tested and its working fine.... if i turn on radio and A/C the car shuts off..... help pls

    • lovemycar 4 years ago

      98 honda accord. new starter last year. i go to start my car and it sounds like its not going to turn over. i try 2 or 3 more times and finally all the sudden it turns over. runs fine, never stalls. HELP??? Going to take it to a mechanic...the battery is less than a year old. could it be the ignition switch or rod?

    • Margaret 4 years ago

      I have been reading here and no problem shows up like mine. My car was starting a little hard and I noticed the in car battery gauge was up just under the red on the high side It stayed there for a whole 20 minute drive. My mechanic said both alternator and battery tested good twice, but my battery was low which he recharged. Since getting the car back, the in car voltage gauge still goes up around 16 and stays there for about 15 minutes into a ride. It also shifts at higher rpm's than normal and seems like it almost isn't going to but does finally. I know everything checks out but now I don't trust the car--I still think there is an issue--I drive a 1993 Buick Park Avenue. No battery light comes on to warn anything. If I do the test of just turning the key but not starting the carm my gauge only goes up to about 10 but I've heard in car gauges aren't that accurate and I am in a wheelchair and this is the only car I drive and from everything I have read, it is not good for the gauge to be up that high. After 10 to 15 minutes it will drop down to 13 (which is the middle of my gauge) or just a little above that and shift right and everything. The next time I start the car cold, the same starts all over again. It doesn't seem right to me. When my mechanic tested the alternator, would it register if the voltage regulator was not working properly, he said the alternator was fine and putting out 14 for him. I don't know what I should be aware to what can happen, I'd just like the red battery light to come on in my garage, the way my last alternator and battery died.

    • khalil 3 years ago

      hey guys, need a quick tip on a problem. so started my car (es 300 lexus 1994) and it did feel a bit out of power but then within 300 meters saw white smoke coming from under the hood and the car died, not even emergency lights working. could it be the coil, or do you think it might be smething more serious?

    • cody111 3 years ago

      hey i have a question,the other day i put a alternater in my 96 mustang gt and the alternater was started to smoke and underneth my fuse box started to smoke.i put a brand new alternater in it today and now my stereo isn't coming on and my speedometer isn't working.any help would be great..thanks

    • Wilma 3 years ago

      My ignition is stuck on will not switch off or turn over engine all else working help

    • sfarrar59 3 years ago

      my battery and alternator went, my car just died on the corner, bought a battery, drove it home, replaced the alternator, however when it first died,my driver door would not open from the outside, just the driver side, only from the inside,,

      What electrical problem happened here,,,now I have to keep my driver window down and reach in to open it, even if I double click to open all the doors, it will show its unlocked, but will not open . like no spark in the door

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 3 years ago from San Diego, California

      Hmm, it sounds like a short in the system. It's possible that when the alternator went out, there was an electrical spike that knocked out the servo actuator mechanism. It's probably either seized or went bad. That would be my best guess. If it's just seized, you can try taking the door panel off and lubricating the mechanism. It's odd though that that would happen to a mechanism that wasn't even being powered when your alternator went out. But you never know with power spikes and electrical interruptions.

    • sfarrar59 3 years ago

      Yes Ben, I got right in the car with no problems and then when the car died, and I got out, I could not get back in, good thing my windows were down,,,my boyfriend was like you broke it,,,,,,,,,,,,lol noooooooo I said, it was fine, till the car died, jumped it, died, got a new battery drove it home, 2 miles down the road, put in alternator, still door not working, all the other doors do,,, odd, the lock goes up and down, but the door will not open,, so odd, but thanks , will give it a try and take the panel off, otherwise, what if it went bad because of the elevtrical interruptions??

    • CHris 3 years ago

      Have a 93 Taurus 6 cyclinder. Went to start and care was dead the wife said. Jumped it, started up, put in gear, it died. Jumped again, started, let it sit a bit, go to leave, died again. I think the alternator is the culprit. Thoughts!?

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 3 years ago from San Diego, California

      Yeah that sounds about right. Could still be the battery if it's completely shot. A completely dead battery won't produce the field voltage the alternator needs to charge it. You might want to take the battery out and get it tested at your local auto parts store just in case before you replace your alternator.

    • Ronny Corona Sr profile image

      Ronny Corona Sr 3 years ago

      So if I understand the article correctly can I infer that newer cars, with coils, can turn over, but will immediately run poorly and die as they idle down if the alternator blows? I have had alternators go out on older cars that would continue to operate properly until the battery ran low. I ask because I took the alternator out of my 99 Mustang GT as a core trade but had to re-install it because I ended up ordering one on-line (no new ones in local shops only reman) Car was running ok but returning a p0340 code (camshaft sensor)prior to this . Now the car turns over and immediately dies. If I pump the pedal it can stay on but runs poorly. The night before I removed the alternator the car momentarily burped on start-up. Because of the P0340 code which I could not resolve with a new camshaft sensor, my suspicions had turned to electrical interference from my alternator (it tested below normal but still charging at dealership) Battery currently reads 12.4 volts. I'm hoping the cause is because the Alt went south, but if the battery still supplies current to the coils I may have another problem.

    • Sheri 2 years ago

      My son has a 1995lexus sc300. He was driving one day and car list power. He pulled over and got a jump but it did not help. We put in a new battery but only the headlights came on. There were no tail lights and the interior was dead. No starter either. We were able to pushstart the car and he was able to drive home. What could this be?

    • roland 2 years ago

      Itdid tell why my car park light come after I cut the car off

    • Krystal 23 months ago

      Hey I changed my Altenator but now the stereos not working, do you know what the problem could be?

    • chris 76 22 months ago

      My car just died and when I try to boost it off I have nothing the only thing that works are the head lights when you put the boosting cables on you should have all your electric functions but I have nothing but headlights

    • Ann Williams 21 months ago

      I drive a 1994 Flairside truck.Sometimes my battery dial goes from side to side and my rpm races..during turning it shuts off but will start up.What might be causing this?

    • mikqi 21 months ago

      Hello, I have a 1997 honda accord and I drive it 2 work and went 2 get something 2 eat on break came back 2 work got ready 2 go home and my car wouldn't start. The headlights come on and the radio works. But the windows will not go down. Please o please tell me what is wrong with my mema. Thanks in advance¡¡¡

    • Robin 21 months ago

      while driving my 2002 Mitsubishi lancer at around 70 mph at a normal revolution it suddenly started to rev them had a sudden thump and went back to normal then my brake and battery light went on and my car started to lose power first the radio went off then the ac got warm and even the windows started to have trouble going up and down. After driving for a few more miles it went back to normal, not sure what it could be

    • Heidi 19 months ago

      Does anyone know what the problem was with Adrienne's car.. mine is doing the same thing. My battery and alternator have both been tested and are good. My alternator was just replaced a week ago. Since then my car seems fine for a couple of days and then randomly while driving my dash lights start coming on, my spedometer, and rpm stop working and my car slowly dies and wont start back up. Starts up fine with a jump though and will run fine for a while and then die again. Did that for the last week and today it slowly died again, i got a jump, barely drove 2 blocks and the dash lights came on again and it slowly died as i pulled into my driveway. If anyone knows what this could be or has an idea of what it might be please let me know. Thanks!

    • Devonna 18 months ago

      Hello, so last night I tried running to the store and my car wouldn't start. This morning I got one of my neighbors to give me a jump and it started right up! I ran my son to the doctor it started, I got home picked the kids up was leaving out to work and it wouldn't start again. My neighbor tried to jump it again but it didnt work. When you turn the key in the ignition it makes a click sound but doesnt cut on. The lights work in and out the car, the Windows roll up and down, and the radio still work. My break lights doesnt work but my signals work. Does anyone know what could be the problem?

    • Todd Phillips 14 months ago

      Im having a issue with a 2001 mazda protege 2.0 liter

      I put a brand new battery, the battery goes dead over nighr and the car has no power like its bogging down, the battery light stays on for the most part then goes off, im havinfg a hard time trouble shooting this can u please help me out.

    • jim 12 months ago

      what about when car starts then stalls when put into gear? Voltage regulator or alternator?

    • teddy 12 months ago

      this is a good article. thanks

    • Cassie Blackwell 11 months ago

      hey,,my battery light came on in my car,,then it just died,,someone jumped me off,,then got half way down the road and the battery light was still on it ut off again, so put new battery in and finally got home but the battery light is still on,, the car will still crank but im scared to drive it,,so what could it be? any help will be appreciated,,thank you

    • hazel 10 months ago

      I have a ford Taurus started it up ran up the road was coming back back home turned on headlights and wipers cause it was raining the wipers was moving very slow got home shut the car off and tried too start it back up and would not start only made a clicking noise help please what could be wrong with my car

    • Petrolhead1 10 months ago


      Please HELP.

      Drove my car 20miles got out for 5mins then completely dead when I tried to start it. I seem to remember a slight clicking sound. Called breakdown he attached a boaster starter and it started straight away. He then attached a brand knew battery to my car and followed me home, car drove fine. Breakdown put my original battery back on and I then recharged my battery.

      Following day I started car, started as normal drove as normal I took it for granted I had just been a flat battery.

      I drove for out of for 5mins, when I returned to start car it started again. Five miles down the road battery light came on, I stopped in a Carpark when I tried to restart my car after 10 mins car dead just slight clicking sound again. I used jump leads to start it(started straight away)

      I drove to kwik fit brought a new battery because needed to get home.

      Driving home battery light came on after driving for 10 mins and stayed on the whole journey home which took 3hrs! Other then that car drove as normal.

      Next morning car started. But battery light on. Been charging battery on and off ever since(about 4days)

      Driven car 3 times on 15mins journeys just to pick someone up so I've not needed to stop and restart my car while away from home.

      Last time I drove it my interior kept coming on and going off so did a dash light saying boot open. They were just coming on and off!

      Haven't driven car since.(yesterday)

      Now when I think of this I had the same thing happen with flashing dash light and interior light day or so before my battery died first time.

      Car hasn't been dead since I've fitted new battery but battery light has been on all the time. Haven't had a dead battery or had a problem starting it but it has been on charge on and off to keep battery topped up. I haven't done any reading or anything I'm not mechanically minded. Radio works, interior lights, all electronic pack inside car works even when battery is dead, so do the headlight. HELP what could this be...

    • rodney 10 months ago

      I have a 2006 mitsubishi eclipse gt iput new batery starter but still just buzzez when i turn on ignition jump stafrts fine runs good shut off does the same thang my hazards wont work or blenkers

    • Katie 10 months ago

      About a month ago, my car radio stopped working, and then a week later, the battery died. I got it jumped, drove it around a bit, and then had the battery checked at a garage. After the jump, the radio started working again. I chocked it up as a fluke, and mostly forgot about it, but now my radio has stopped working again, so I'm worried. Any ideas of what could cause this?

    • Celia 9 months ago

      Help, my phone charger stops when I turn my head lights on. I have a Toyota corolla Levin 2009. Can anyone help please

    • Jenn 9 months ago

      Hi, I have a 2006 Chevy trailblazer and I have noticed that when I have the car in park and just waiting inside my car the light to my dashboard would dim and I notice on the dashboard the lil alternator meter that I was always tld should always stay in the middle and whenever I put the car in park and leave my car on it starts to go down and stuff in my car starts to dim but when I get my car off park and start driving it goes right back up and stays up! What could this be??? I took it to a mechanic and he said that my alternator looks fine ! ??

    • skyler 8 months ago

      ok so i have a SERIOUS question? if i beat my system sometimes just depends but eventually it will just shut down..ok but recently it made my headlights everythang in my car stop working but it stayed running after about 15 minutes everythang was working again but it didnt die. and if i beat it and i park usually the car wont start i have to jump it just for it to start.really frustrating .would love tah hear some opinions on this because i dont know what quite it is.

    • Claudia 8 months ago

      I have peugeot 5008 that went mot but in midlle car stops and not turn on

      Says communication failure on computer

      ANY ideas?

    • Bennie 8 months ago

      So my car does this all the time... sometimes when I start my car every is fine...other times I start my car, the rpms will be higher than usual (1500), and once I turn off my car, I'll try to turn it back on, and it won't start, I have to wait 10-20 mins before I can get my car to start again, any thoughts of what this might be?

    • blaine 7 months ago

      My trucks acting up the battery light comes on and the rpm gauge and gauges start jumping?? Any clue what it can be???

    • Peter 7 months ago

      I shut my Jeep off with lights still on and it started ticking so I shut lights off ticking stopped but it wouldn't start after that so I jumped it and it started fine and have had no problems during driving no loss of power or dim lights or anything, I think I'm going to buy a new battery but am not sure. Anybody?

    • adry 7 months ago

      Hello im having a problem..i stil cant resolve. :-( i just bought a brand new alternator yesterday since it went bad. I checked it at O'Reilly my old one. Well i put the new one and after one day stoped working again and car turned off again like my old one. Why did this happen? Could it be that the new one was bad too.???Or an electrical problem???

    • Roz 7 months ago

      I brought a new alternator and the car ran fine for two weeks and then started acting up again so I took the battery out and had it charged and when I put it back in the radio doesn't come on and it cuts off like the alternator is not working again and I brought it brand new from auto zone please help

    • SAMm 7 months ago

      Hi, I'm having an issue with my 1997 Geo Prizm. I have a new alternator and battery but battery light stays on. Had them both checked again and battery is good but alternator isn't registering, the yester days to start car but car is on. Could it be a loose connection, maybe the alternator bolts or the connection from alternator to nattery, that particular battery terminal? Please help, I have no one to help me, I'm new to this area, far from home. Thanks in advance.

    • Mrs. Do it herslf 6 months ago

      02 Cadillac Deville. Battery good. Alternator good. Loosing voltages while driving. Just cleaned battery connector that was a tad dirty. Could it be electrical?

    • LS Leon 6 months ago

      Hi, this is a very nice article, thank you. My car's dashboard needles, like the gas gauge needle, take a second to move when I first start the car. Could this be related to the alternator or could it be more of a sensor problem? Thanks in advance.

    • Samantha 6 months ago

      When I jump off my battery as long as I do not cut off my car it will run but once I cut off the car I have to jump it off again what is wrong

    • noah 5 months ago

      I drove my car for 6 hours straight started fine each time i Turned it on and didn't seem to have any problems, not when i plug in the key to turn it on, everything lights up and get ready to be turned on… then when i twist the key the whole car shuts off and won't start

      what could this be

    • Latoyia 5 months ago

      I have a 97 honda accord i replaced the alternator and now it wont stay crunk once i take the cables off the battery

    • surya 5 months ago

      This is the best article on alternator I have spent a lot time researching. I have a 2012 acura which started after giving a jump start with another car, I took the car to autozone and they said I had a bad alternator. After that I tried starting my car twice which started immediately without any lag. But the display shows me my car battery is low, I am confused if the alternator is bad or battery? Any help would be appreciated.

    • grahamstuart 5 months ago

      2005 Hyundai Tucson question. A day ago my wife drove the car turned it off, and initially would not restart, but she said no clicking. Today the stereo doesn't work, and the air bag light (which should have been on ) pulsed when I used my turn signals. Not sure if I have an alternator issue, or battery issue or other. Any suggestions?

    • Anthony 5 months ago

      I had a bad starter and solenoid so I changed them both but before I did I disconnect the battery. After putting both part on I connected the battery back on but 02 expedition shows no power anywhere. So I checked to see if the battery is good I put a screw driver to the starter solenoid and there's power there but that's it. I checked all fuse and they are good. But I didn't know how to check the black box fuse. What could be the issue and what fuse powers the truck. It's a 02 expedition 5.4 l 2wd. Plz email me at

    • Bobbi 4 months ago

      So my car just died on me about a month ago. I took it to the shop and they said I needed a new alternator. I got it towed back home because they tried charging me $800 to change it. We decided to do it ourselves so we got a new alternator, changed it and it still wasn't working. My radio, power steering, and heat/air wasn't working either. So we took the new alternator and my battery and got them them tested. I had a bad battery. So I bought a new one, got it put in. Now my car runs, but my radio, heat/air, and power steering still isn't working. Any ideas of what it could be. I'm at a total loss here.

    • Marie 4 months ago

      My 2005 saturn vue driver side power window will only go up half way or change to only going up all the way but down half way. So i took off panel n sprayed wd40 as seen in a video. N still not working correctly it sounded like dirt was in there as it moved. I stupidly put water to rinse off so called dirt. N now my car doom light stays on constantly now. N my car want to cut off after started n has cut off different times while on. So i disconnected the battery so it dont uncharge. My car ran fine until i did this stupid thing.please if u have any advice please let me know. N where do i take to get not sure to take to a power window repair or a diagnostic repair or a general repair place. Thank you for your help if u can. God bless you. distress

    • monica 4 months ago

      My car radio shuts of and on battery light went on dash lights and gages stopped working. I was driving and it,kept wanting to turn off on me. Then it turned off didn't want to start anymore. Changed alternator and starter and car battery

    • martin 4 months ago

      Good morning

      if i stop the car and switch the engine off and leave the lights on by mistake , even for a minute the car will not start unless I jump start it . is this a problem with the battery or the alternator or something else

    • Juan 3 months ago

      Why would my car a 2012 Malibu alternator not charge my battery I just bought a new one .I checked as all fuses got new battery and still no start won't change at all so I had to run the positive wire directly to the battery now it charges but I want it fixed right .do I have to buy a new fuse link wire or something I can't seem to find any information on this help me please

    • Habib 3 months ago

      you should be a teacher, perfectly clear information

    • Michael 3 months ago

      I have a car that isn't my primary vehicle anymore. I didn't drive it all summer and the battery was dead when I started it up in Aug. I recently put (3 weeks ago) a new battery in. Didn't drive it until 2 weeks later....dead as a doornail. A mechanic said I needed anew battery and since I had it warranteed I put another new one in. Two days later dead again. I took it to the dealership Subaru and they recharged the battery and checked alternator and starter and said they are fine. What to do? I know it is going to die again. What should they check next?

    • Jcm 3 months ago



    • Michael 3 months ago

      I have an 1999 GMC SOnoma, that is acting funny. It has a new battery and all the bulbs work with no shorts, now start it up and run for a minute. And the lights start flashing or flicking but, not all the way off. The alternator gage is bouncing to the neg. side. I've checked the tightness of the belt and it is fine, the pulley is fine also. What can be wrong?

    • Angie 2 months ago

      The last couple days when going to start my car it clicks and wont start on the first try starts on the second but today I tried to start it up it clicked the first time the second time made a loud noise startedthe third try but it didnt want to start I go to get my headlight fixed because my left one keeps going on and off had to get a socket and car wouldnt start or turn over no lights nothing put a different battery car starts ten minutes down the road all the lights starts flickering car shuts off and locks up on me I couldnt use the break or turn I had to throw it in park when it slowed down and had a bad smell but the dashboard has been shuting off for a while now every now and then and I have to restart the car can anyone ease help me my trac light came on with all the other lights when they flickerd before the car stalled anyone have any ideal ?

    • Jimmie C 2 months ago

      my car died while i had it running i jumped it it started but soon died again later i changed the alternator and the battery and was riding good for about a week and the same thing happend again my battery is dead and when i jumped it it died shortly after i drove i have a aerio suzuki 2003. all my parts and battery have warranty

    • Tiffany 2 months ago

      2001 eclipse 2.4 new battery new alternator and car still won't keep a charge.. I can drive for a minute then I loss all power .. what can be wrong

    • 7 weeks ago

      Finally an article about a car I can understand! Narrowing down my problem thinking battery or starter.

    • Bill Rich 6 weeks ago

      alternator needle on gage sometimes flickers like I have seen with a generator when the battery is at or near full charge car is a chevy celebrity

    • EricH 6 weeks ago

      98 Honda Passport - Suddenly loses electrical power while driving. The battery starts the car no problem, it's an older battery with leaks around terminals. I did clean the terminals off and it seems to work for a few weeks but the problem has returned and the terminals look clean. With lights dim with added electrical features such as heat, blinkers. While driving at highway speed the car will click and all gauges will drop to 0 if the blinker or brakes are applied. It's as if the car was off, heat and radio go off as well as clock reset. after about 2 seconds everything comes back and the car keeps driving, engine never stalls. Any ideas? The battery never dies completely and I'm always able to start even in cold weather so I've ruled out alternator and ignition. The engine itself runs ok so I assume the plugs are ok. I do get an O2 sensor code occasionally but I've never seen this cause electrical power surges. Any ideas? The only thing I can think is a bad battery but I want to confirm before dropping $100.

    • Bruce 6 weeks ago


      Have a2000 sienna , battery is new , but easily loose power , I can drive it for along distances , but some times if i open ac , and stop the car at feul station it won't start , even some times when it parked for a couple of days , it won't start until I jump start it ..the car has alarm system , could it be it?

    • jim 5 weeks ago

      my car start great i drop my nephew at school then i get coffee at a gas station when i start the car the battery lite come on after driving for about 5 minutes the light goes out

    • dan 4 weeks ago

      my truck will seem to loose all power (dashboard lights turn off) but truck keeps on going, it doesn't completely shut down.

    • KCVenom 4 weeks ago

      Okay I just replace the alternator and the battery on my car. But I can now start my car and run it. the problem is that it is shutting down. So what else could it be?

    • Emily Gonzalez 4 weeks ago

      As soon as i jump start the car, then i start driving the car. the lights start fading away that i have to keep pushing the gas for it to keep going than i turn it off and now it won’t turn on again. everything from inside the car works, then i noticed its been smelling like something is burning with some smoke coming out up front. My battery is new, the alternator has already been changed. what else could it be?

    • Pieter Hatting 2 weeks ago

      Hullo im from South Africa i have a 2002 mod Toyota Corrola 1600 GLE feul injection recently the batt run low overnight and thees a smell by the wiper motor and as she starts. And when i rev themotor the wipes start up a ele trical smell is strong could there be a short somewhere and where do i look pls help im desperate its a very reliable car still in mint condition any a ideas??

    • Olga Santos 2 weeks ago

      Thank you for the information! It was very helpful and easy to read and understand!

    • Chris 12 days ago

      My cars lights started flickering then quit, shortly after the car died and would not restart , any ideas?

    • diane 10 days ago

      change the battery in my 2006 kia sportage 4 wheel after that the windows and heat and radio does not work do you think that it is the alterntor

    • melissa 7 days ago


    • Trina Crawford 5 days ago

      Hi, I have a dodge avenger 2008. I drove my kids to school this morning and I went downtown then I notice that my AND and slipper when wet indicator came on. Then ten minutes ten minutes later notice my radio went out. So I continued to head rob the grocery store everything still fine. At a stop light I shut the car off and turned it on again then the radio came back on. As I started the car and e mind into the drive the car stop and it cranked for a sec and then cut off again . Tried started several time wouldn't catch and shut down again. Finally after putting my feet on the accelarator am the gas pump it moved just enough for me to get it to a parking space on the street. However, tried to start it again it would not start at all. Could this be the alternator?

    • Blair Day 3 days ago

      Thank you this article helped me understand what's possible wrong

    • Laura 34 hours ago

      My sons car wont start. His lights wont work. Radio. Nothing at all. There is absolutely no electricity. He has had some problems lately. He put in a new alternator n then things were fine for a while. Then the car stopped working n he had to replace the fuel pump n then it worked fine for a while. Then he had to get a new battery n it worked for a few days. Then it completely stopped working. He took the battery up to auto zone and they charged it to 100% n he got it home n it still wouldnt work. Why? What could be the problem? Thanks

    • me 17 hours ago

      I know nothing about cars but to drive them. Thanks for the easy to understand information.

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