How to Diagnose an Alternator or Electrical Problem

Updated on November 9, 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

Alternator
Battery
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.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Frustrated owner Dave. 8 weeks ago

        I was driving my 1977 Chevy truck home from work one day on the highway all the sudden I lost all power and took me to the side of the road and died neck could never get started again might shine bright but when I crank try to track it over nothing happens just the headlight comes on but that it. I will not turn over or even make a clicking noise. Anyone know what the problem could be?

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        emma 8 weeks ago

        hi I need some help on what the issue could be, I have a Subaru liberty that all of a sudden the stereo stopped working and would work when you wound down the driver side window, and now my park lights wouldn't turn off until I took that fuse out. what could this be??

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        Cynjaz 8 weeks ago

        Hello, I have a honda 2008 accord (had it for two years) and this car has been giving me problems for the last year. I have changed the power steeting pump twice, crankshaft sensor once, the Knock sensor three times and both oxygen sensors twice. I was wondering if anyone is experiencing any of these isssues... for the last year about every 3 months or so, my car will take a bit to turn on. Once it is finally on, the AVS light will come on along with a flashing check engine light. Anywhere between 10-30mns after my car will loose power while driving, it will start jerking and will not go more than 5 miles per hour. We then changed basically everything we could possibly think of, at the time i was suggested to clean the oxygen sensors and put them back in there since it would be costly to be changing the sensors every three months and that seem to have fixed the problem. Well just a few days ago, we decided to replace both the oxygen sensors and sure enough by the following day my car started doing the same thing...jerking, loosing power etc.. my car is now at the mechanic shop and they are telling me that it can possibly be the fuel injector and there is two spark plugs that need to get replaced. has anyone experience this issue with the AVS light and check engine light? i also change the knock sensor last week, and that is the only code that we cannot remove. per the mechanic he believes besides the AVS+CHECK ENGINE that the car has a mechanical problem...he said that or the computer of the car is no good. Well as of today, he said he was testing the injectors and he moved the two spark plugs to the opposite side and now the computer shows different. I dont have too much detail since they are still testing the car but i just dont know what else to do with this car.

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        Patty Mcmahan 2 months ago

        I just had my car check for a code for check engine light that wouldn't read then car would not start then when it did it rest th odometer? 2002 beetle

      • profile image

        Tom D. 2 months ago

        I have a 2003 Crown Victoria and the battery gage goes up and down and my lights get dim and bright, does anyone knows what this is? It's got a police intercepter in it if that makes a difference...??

      • profile image

        Cartau07 2 months ago

        i have a honda accord 2008 the car was not starting properly a week ago so i went and bought a new battery.

        After i had put the new battery in the battery light signal appeared on the dash board. Today as i was driving to work the radio was on but as i was driving the sound went low so i turned it off as i got to work the car started to loose power when i pushed the accelerator.. i was just wondering if anyone knows what the problem could be? car was last serviced 3 or 4 months ago

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        Chandler Haider 3 months ago

        My 03-e150 van acts like the battery has gone bad but I noticed that if I move the negative cable like I was taking it off it car the van power witch allows me start it but sometimes it won't at all I just purchased a new battery but I'm skeptical about putting it in also sometimes when it starts the dash goes crazy showing low fuel on and off and the speedometer bounces but if I turn it off and try again it runs fine someone please help and reach out I've taken to several mechanics but they just rob me of my money and can't fix it

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        Emma Athey 3 months ago

        If my car sits 2 or 3 days it won't start, no lights no horn, nothing. When I jump it sometimes the heater will come on or my massage seat will come on. It is a 1999 Cadillac. It is a crap shoot whether the car will start again. What is causing this?

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        William Angle 3 months ago

        I have a 2005 Cadillac Deville (Base) with a North star engine and 220000 miles on it. All of a sudden when the car is moving forward the dash will reboot with all indicator lights (as if I re-started the engine) and at the same time all electrical systems have a momentary short, headlights and all lights blink, heater re-starts, every system. this will continue once every 30-seconds as long as the car is traveling (backward of forward) But does not seen to react to bumps on the roads or hitting a rough spot, the real issue is it can sit and idle for hours and not experience the issue. I have checked every fuse and eliminated most systems by pulling fuses and test-driving the car again, no change. Is this possibly an alternator voltage regulator, but I can run for hours parked, only when the car is moving do we get pulse about every 30 seconds and a car short - the engine continues to run through these momentary system shorts with no i please help me diagnosis this one

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        i love@gmail.com 3 months ago

        the car will not start when im in it but if anyone eles tries it starts is it bc im gay

        -

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        April 3 months ago

        Car won't start I bought a new battery and still having problems I drive like 5 miles and the speedometer,odometer and gas all start going crazy then the car shuts off

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        Tonya Lawhorn 4 months ago

        I have a 1996 Chevy Silverado truck. It won’t start but when I open the door without even putting key in ignition The dashboard lights blink I tried to slow charging the battery and jumping it and it has a starter that’s the new on it

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        Stephanie 4 months ago

        I have a 2003 Honda Civic and my lights and everything went out and then of course my car stopped running and will not start back. Witch one of the problems do you think it may be??? Thanks

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        James 4 months ago

        I changed my battery. Now my emergency brake and my ABS light is on plus my battery light is on

      • profile image

        josh marion 5 months ago

        Okay i was driving my 93 nissan altima and i got custom gauges in it and while i was driving it felt like it lost power then picked back up but when it picked back up it started smoking fro the custom battery guage in there and then there was like a pop and alot more smoke came out so when i tried getting it home and find out what was wrong with it. You hook up a battery and turn the key to start position i dont get no dash lights or nothing at all. What do you think could be the problem with it

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        Jake 5 months ago

        I have an 05 f250 with the 5.4 liter, all my dash board lights are on but every machine cant find a problem.

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        Julio 5 months ago

        I have an honda pilot o6 ex when i first bougth it short after a week i did a tune up later that day my check engine ligth came on for the first time since i had bougth the car it came out with catslyctin minimun tresshold etc...the guy told me to use 93 gas that it cant be the tune up and to use Mysterio .to clean my engine it seemed to work after another few months same code at auto zone i got upset i bouth the liquid again it disapered the next day it disapeare again it been like that for a while now it comes n goes so i figure i do t drive the car much maybe its my bad hamits of driving but a year after now my car battery came on my neeadles wonlndt move while i was driving every ligth came on n off twiking i got to panic n sed my car its done all i could think off is an expensive car fix i bougth a dionostic tool n 2 codes came by p0420..p0108 ...idk wat itsacly i would need to buy ,,,can i fix it my self ..or im i better of going to service mechanic. ..i just dont want to get riped again i have a feeling the tune up wasent do e rigth or old parts idk

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        Terrance Staton 5 months ago

        I have a 1998 Montero sport Im loosing power when the head lights are on when there off it starts producing power again Changed alternators same issue battery same issue some thing is eating my battery when the lights are on any ideas

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        Greg B 5 months ago

        I have a1999 dodge Durango, it runs great but after I turn off the ignition, I have to go pull battery cables off, because with in 20 Min the battery is dead this came all of a sudden one day went to the store came out it was dead nothing was left on once got a boost started right up, shut off again in minutes dead this is s new battery

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        Red 5 months ago

        My lights dim a little. I had my alternator checked and tested at 8.9 where it should be a 13 or above. How bad is this. I do a lot of driving after dark. Its a 2007 Kia Sorento

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        Terri Hope 6 months ago

        My radio goes off when I get to a stop sign or slow down. It's a 2004 Mitsubishi Outlander

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        Jake 6 months ago

        Just changed the solenoid and the starter on a 1989 F150. My problem is without the key in the ignition I can see the alternator moving when I go to jump it, any ideas of how to fix this problem cuz is draining my battery.

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        phillipamos 6 months ago

        My 2005 chrysler sebring. Battery is going dead during idle. I put on 3 new battery s. And 3 alternators. And wires going to battery and alternator and starter are good to. Also replace new computer. Battery only drains while running

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        I'm having the same problem antwan 6 months ago

        Im have the same problem antwan

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        Antwan 6 months ago

        I have A 2002 Ford Taurus SE in my battery died I replaced my battery in alternative in it's still dieing trying to see why my car dieing .

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        Mary 6 months ago

        I I have a 2008 Saturn Vue and when my car is in park my brake light is on my ABS light goes on and my RPMs go up and now my car won't crank what does that mean

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        Dalester 6 months ago

        My car never had problems. One day I left my lights on all night and killed the battery. Bought a new one cause it wouldn't hold a charge after that. It was great for a week, then when I would turn the A/C, all gauges in the car would stop working and the A/C would start blowing warm air. I don't know what the deal is. I had AutoZone check my alternator and they said it was fine. After that I left my damn dome light on and killed the battery again. Now it's doing the same thing but this time it is not fixing itself. No matter how many times I charge the battery, it still messes up when I turn the A/C on or have too much electricity going at once. If my headlights are on, forget. Everything quits working, but the car doesn't stall? Any idea would be soo appreciated.

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        Kristin 6 months ago

        I have a 2010 Accent, I was driving down the road and my headlights, power windows, windshield wipers, and heat stopped working. All the dashboard lights worked as well as the radio. I pulled over, turned the car off and on, everything was working.....any ideas about how to fix this?? Check engine light came on too.

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        Reychaparro 6 months ago

        I have a 2001 Honda Civic I have bought a new battery and a new alternator thought the alternator will have the problem I replace of the near three times and when I disconnect negative from battery car still shuts off what's the cost

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        Kip joiner 7 months ago

        I've got 2004 civic. Changed battery alternator and belts ran great for a couple of weeks. Now battery is drained what could it be?

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        Dwight 7 months ago

        I have a 2003 Taurus. At very random times my car will die. I could be driving down the road, on the highway, or parked in a parking lot. All my dash lights will come on, the car will click for a few seconds, then I will be able to fire it up again. Sometimes it won't completely die, but will click a lot and my rpm gauge will drop to nothing then will bounce back up to where it is supposed to be and over and over again before catching and continue running. Recently before I start it, I have to turn the key to start and it will click for 10 to 20 seconds before I'm able to turn it over.

        I have a new alternator and battery.

        Any suggestions?

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        Louis 7 months ago

        I have a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo yesterday got kind of hot outside so I turned on the air conditioner and I heard one pop noise almost like a backfire noise and then check engine light came on and I shut off the car and now it won't start. but when I give the car a jump start it will start but runs really shitty. after that I took a tester to everything and seems like the alternator is bad what would cause the pop noise and kill my alternator when I turned on my air conditioner?

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        Keith 7 months ago

        I have a 2011 Ram. On 3 different occasions I have gone out to start and everything is dead. I barely get the jumper cables on and it starts right up. Runs and starts fine for weeks, no issues. Battery is less than a year old.

      • profile image

        Julio 8 months ago

        I tested my new alternator before I put it in my car ( tested good ) When I installed it wouldn`t charge. This is the third alternator

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        Jennifer 8 months ago

        Volt start dropping on the gauge in the car and the engine will shit down but you can crank it back up

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        Nora 8 months ago

        Why donot cars have to be so hard to fix, I'm a single mom, I don't have a lot of money, can't afford a guy to fix it ,or to put out $200+ for a altenator, now I'm screwed.

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        Leonardo perez 9 months ago

        I have a 1997 ford explorer xlt, has a brand new battery and new alternator but the battery light is still on, when I leave the battery connected it drains the battery and can't start it again unless I jump start it, but when I disconnect the battery and connect it back the next morning the truck starts up fine and runs but the battery light is still on and is shows it is low, what might be the problem?

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        Tammy- 2003 Chevy Trailblazer LS 149000 miles 9 months ago

        So I got a new battery last week, last night while running errands, I notice the gauge on my battery going down. By the way since getting new battery, battery light still on, gauge shows 12 until I drive for a minute, light goes out, gauge moves up to 15. Decide I better get it home, so I am not stranded. As I am driving, my battery gauge goes all the way left (dead), the rest of the panel all goes to the left, including speedometer. my headlights are so dim, I can barely see. I get it home, put it in park, wait for it to die, the dang truck is still running, even with everything dead, so therefore, I am not thinking its my alternator, as even though everything is dead, my truck is still running. I try to get my window up, nothing, turn off the truck. Now, I am completely dead. So my question is, is it the alternator?

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        Brandon 9 months ago

        My. Battery saver mode came on alternator smoked and went out completely and I have no power at all am I supposed to have at least somepower to see dash or roll up window or when the altanator goes out am I supposed to have no power

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        Kenny 9 months ago

        I have a 2002 chevy trailblazer im having problems with my vehicle cranking .i put a new starter a new battery an alternator why is my battery still going dead when trying to start

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        Ian 9 months ago

        Hello just wondering if you can help me .my Vauxhall combo van 2004 spanner like comes on. when driving engine lacks of power then engine has rattle nose

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        Tom 9 months ago

        @004 GMC Sierra 1500. Dash cluster comes on and goes off sometimes including the gauges. Truck will still run. Whats the problem?

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        Jesse lang 10 months ago

        When car is running brake lights head lights and horn will not work when car is not running they work what is problem

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        CC 10 months ago

        Hi, I have a 2003 Honda civic, all the dials and the stereo quit working and the car was not going into gear and finally, the engine quit. I have put in a new battery and a new alternator and am still having the same issue. Wondering if you have any suggestions?

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        #CONFUSION 10 months ago

        Have a 2008 Chrysler 300c ..Battery keeps dying on me first it was every other month then every other week then every other day and now it's every other time I turn off i have to jump start it every time..I'm just not sure when it will do it :/ one day I drove it and it left me stranded,called mechanic they had to pull me to the shop..there they said it was the alternator so the fixed,car was running fine but then car continues to do so after 4 days of them fixing the "problem"according to mec it is all in tip top ,battery starter alternator read that they are in good condition. .they took radio out messed with wires here and there and no solution what so ever ..Not even my mechanic can find the problem. .it's to the point to where they don't even want to touch the car anymore cause it won't let them know what's wrong ..#HELP

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        Madmaxwell 10 months ago

        I changed my clutch h by my self in. My ford explore sport an it wS turning over then all the sudden it wont.... I have a brand new alternator an battery all wires are connected but it will not start an lights inside stop could some one help me out thanks mandated

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        Nickie 10 months ago

        I have a 2013 dodge avenger and I have replaced the battery ,starter,and the alternator and the only way my car will start is with a jump and the battery light stays on, once you remove the jumper cables the car dies out. For some reason the battery voltage keeps droping. Please I'm in search of answers

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        Phil 11 months ago

        Had my oil on a 2013 Jeep compass changed - car would not start after service and the vehicle was jumped. While driving home car had little power, brake lights and check engine light came on. Does this problem indicate an alternator issue. Vehicle will not start

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        Bobbi mcneely 11 months ago

        The other day when I was at work when I went on one of my breaks I started my car had the heat on cause it was cold. A few hours later when I went to leave for work tried starting it and it turned over and started but instantly died. 3 hours later it started right up and it's started up fine ever since. What will cause this ? I have a 2006 mazda 6s

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        michael panal 11 months ago

        Thànks, you help me about the lighting trouble of my van.this is very helpfull to me

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        debbie 11 months ago

        i have a vw lt horse lorry I have just put new battery in the battery light come on when there n keys in it there nothing turn on why

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        julien masseing 11 months ago

        thank you very helpful

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        Adma 11 months ago

        My 2004 Volvo s60 was making noise with the breaks so we took it to mechanic. He says the alternator is dead. This is possible as there are some warning signs such as dim lights, but the car is refurbished and the electrical was always bad. I find is suspicious that the alternator is bad when I can drive it from Indiana to FL without it dying, and then I drove it 45 minutes to and from work 5 days a week (sometimes 6) with no problems. What would you suggest? Thanks!

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        Sandy walker 11 months ago

        About a week ago my car started running hot I replace the thermostat in it but also when it was running hot and my battery and my brake light had came on I replace my battery in my alternator about two years ago after I replace it though my car had broke down with transmission problems and it had sit for about a year after that when I go out in the morning to start it I have to jump it off but after that it runs but my car is still running hot I had to turn the air conditioner on when I turn the air conditioner on and the fans kick on my battery light and my brake light goes off any suggestions if my alternator or my battery has gone bad I mean it's just been two years since I replaced it or could I be dealing with something bigger

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        Keke 11 months ago

        Okay so what is the problem if u turn your car off and get out and your lights still on what can it be I have a 95 dodge intrepid

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        Fred 11 months ago

        Sounds like a poor connection point in the ign switch

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        Jane Waruiru 11 months ago

        I had my Toyota Corolla 2010 alternator changed today. After picking my car from mechanic, I noticed that the AC and radio are not working . What could be the problem

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        Wesley Temple 11 months ago

        My 2000 Ford ranger will not shift the dome light will not come on the windshield wipers don't work the windows will not go down unless the door buzzer sounds off when you crank it up where could the problem be and how can I fix the problem myself

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        Terri livingston 12 months ago

        I put a new battery in my car. On the negative cable there is an additional red wire connected. So the battery side is hooked up but where do I put the other end of that single wire?

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        BRUCE JEWETT 12 months ago

        94 HONDA ACCORD NEW ALTANATOR WON'T PUT OUT TO IGNITION

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        ingrid 12 months ago

        after installing the alternator in my 2004 Volvo c70 , i now have an electrical problem. one of the fuzes keeps blowing. I am not sure my mechanic disconected the battery when he changed the alternator.

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        pam 12 months ago

        my car has a new battery but it will stall and sometimes not start unless its jumped

        2000 Buick century

        so we got a starter from a junk yard but did not work so replaced the original one cleaned it and everything. its at the mechanic and they are telling me its the throttle body but I don't know if I can trust them.

        the car has stalled on me and I had to put it on neutral and turn it back on and sometimes when I leave it overnight or going home from work it just doesn't start so I have to get it jumped

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        Derek hanks 12 months ago

        I have a car with new altinator and battery and it still ain't charging my battery all conetions are tight and belt it tight

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        Sharon 13 months ago

        1999f150 ford pickup truck .probablems with my truck starting thought battery dead put in new battery drove it to work 3 days total miles maybe 20 .today started up truck drove about 21 miles wipers start failing finally they stopped light on dash went off every thing on dash stop truck dies ?

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        Richard LOckstein 13 months ago

        2007 GMC Sierra 4x4 truck turned off key out of ignition the battery light on the dash will randomly come on along with the dash lights and radio but will also go out on its own when it feels like it. everything works perfect while truck is running. have any suggestions?

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        Miss Frankie 13 months ago

        Thanks for this AMAZING ARTICLE.

        Being a woman and blonde lol, it was easy for me to read and understand.

        Also comforting to hear others having similar problems to me.

        CHEERS GUYS

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        Benny 13 months ago

        My battery isn't getting a charge from the alternator. The car does start, and runs Briefly after getting a jump. The battery signal doesn't come on, but all of the other signals appear right before the car cuts off. I checked all the other connections and found nothing wrong. Even swapped the pigtail connection plug. I did have a oil leak, and some of it got inside the alternator. Could that be the reason the car won't stay running??

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        Tresa 13 months ago

        I have a 93 Buick Park Avenue. I replaced the alternator and battery about 6 months ago. I was driving this evening and my battery started to drain. Not sure where to begin with trouble shooting. Any suggestions?? Thank you

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        Juan Garcia 13 months ago

        I have a 2004 Ford Explorer Xlt 6 Cilinder. I change the alternator n new batteries. I check the belt. But the funnie thing's is that the alternator voltage is low (11.36 volt) the alternator is supposed to have a voltage of 14 volt up. I check the cables that goes ground positive I cleaned. But steel the same problems. The alternator volt low. N. I took it back to the shop store autozone n took another one. I installed but still the same problem. If anyone have ideas what is the problem please send a massage yo justingarcia2003@gmail.com. thank you very much for your support.

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        Levi 13 months ago

        So my car starts and runs, however it makes a clicking sound only when the door is open. The windows also don't roll up anymore. It got stuck down now it's rained everyday since haha.. could it be the The solenoid? If so would it cause the windows to stop working as well? Or would that be a fuse? Any advice at all would help.

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        teresa 13 months ago

        I put in a tearing column and it won't turn over or start can u help me a 1998 chev blazer

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        Ryan 13 months ago

        Went outside this morning to start my 98 Jeep Cherokee Laredo it's acting like it's dead battery is fully charged lights on the inside come on when I push him but not when a door opens like normally it's acting like it's getting some power but not enough to do anything really the only thing that really seems to work is the dinging when I put the key in and the light comes on kind of when I push it the interior light any ideas?

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        Rick 13 months ago

        The battery light on the dash runs after starting in 30 secs. Is it the alt. As now it's dead.

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        Ruby Redd 14 months ago

        Can you also check for bad alternator by taking both cable post off battery while car is running & car shut down is also a sure sign bad altornator?

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        Ashly 14 months ago

        My 1995 Camry windows won't work either does my speed adomotor I just bought a new alternator

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        Shelley 15 months ago

        Hi, I am after a bit of advice. I have a Mitsubishi Lancer and when I now start to drive it, the speedo takes about 1 minute to start working then just does its stuff normally. Any ideas?

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        Johannes moloi 15 months ago

        My Peugeot 206 I did change alternator after 250 hours the alternator' stop charging again so I don't understand why can someone help me on that

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        Jgf 15 months ago

        Thanks a million. Great article.

      • profile image

        Wendy 15 months ago

        If my hazard light cause my car not to start if it has a short in it

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        Mike 15 months ago

        Ok need some help. I have an 03 ford expedition. Its been sitting a while. Jumpstart it and turn on lights, it does completely. No nothing on anything even if I try to jump it again. So 6 months go by and I jumpstart it again and it starts up. Step on the brake and it does again. No lights radio or anything. Same as before. Any suggestions?

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        Josephine Charlie 15 months ago

        I'm having a big problem with my 2008 GMC Sierra 1500. First, it would die out by having emergency blinkers on for about 5 minutes, or leaving door open with interior lights on for about 5 minutes. So I had the alternator& battery checked at O'Reilly's. They told me it was the alternator, so I replaced the alternator. A few days later, it started doing the same thing. So I took it back to O'Reilly's, to have them recheck the alternator. They told me it's the battery, so I had the battery replaced. I drove it for about 10 minutes, & it's doing the same thing. So now O'Reilly's is telling me I probably bought a bad alternator. Is there a fuse or electrical system I need to check.

        During this whole issue, the headlights are dimming like it's ready to die out, while running, & driving. Place help me! Thx

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        Juan 15 months ago

        My car is a 92 Honda Accord 2.2 it has a new battery and turns on good and drives nice the only problem is that when I am driving down the highway and I change lanes I use my turn signals my gauges go crazy any idea why I would appreciate any help thanks alot

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        Sonny 15 months ago

        Was driving and lost all power and truck stalled. Will not crank or power showing on dash . Change computer, change ignition switch, change relays there 4 of them, no burning smell or burnt wires . What would case all power no come to dash then to starter.

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        Clarence 15 months ago

        QUESTION: I drive a 2003 Chevy Trailblazer. Recently, the battery light is on while driving and the amp gauge drops. When I accelerate, the battery light goes out and the amp gauge return to normal. Now, the battery light stays on and the amp gauge won't climb regardless of high rpm's. Pulling my hair out. Could it be alternator? Battery is good.

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        me 16 months ago

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

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        Laura 16 months 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

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        Blair Day 16 months ago

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

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        Trina Crawford 16 months 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?

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        melissa 16 months ago

        I have a 1998 ford expedition 4wheel drive,half ton automatic transmission.THE HEATER QUIT WORKING FIRST,NOW THE AIRBAG LIGHTS ON,ABRAKES LIGHT IS ON ,CHECK ENGINE LIGHT IS ON,SMELLS LIKE ANTIFREEZE BAD.I CAN HERE SIZZILING LIKE UNDER THE STERRING WHEEL,OR MAYBE FUZE BOX.NOW THE 4WHEEL DREIVE DOESNT WORK AT ALL&TRANSMISSION SHIFTS REALLY HARD .IM GOING CRAZY,ONLY HAD VEH,FOR 2 MONTHS,I BOUGHT IT USED& R STEAL MAKING PAYMENTS ON IT.THEY WONT HELP ME FIX IT OR PUT ME IN ANYTHING ELSE,W\O MORE$$ DOWN.PLEASE HELP ME .!!!IM ON DISABILITY & CANT AFFORD TO TAKE IT TO A SHOP..THANKS AND GOD BLESS

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        diane 16 months 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

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        Chris 16 months ago

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

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        Olga Santos 16 months ago

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

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        Pieter Hatting 16 months 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??

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        Emily Gonzalez 17 months 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?

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        KCVenom 17 months 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?

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        dan 17 months ago

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

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        jim 17 months 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

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        Bruce 17 months ago

        Hi

        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?

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        Bill Rich 17 months 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

      • profile image

        Rebeccagamble3133@icloud.com 18 months ago

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

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