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How to Determine whether a Car Alternator or Battery Issue Exists | Parts Experts

Used Alternator

The alternator and battery in your car are a part of the electrical system. Unfortunately, when any of them fails, they have identical symptoms. So how can you identify if the issue is with the battery?

When an automobile alternator or battery fails, there are specific indicators to watch out for. If your car stalls after starting, if the headlights flicker or fade, or if you experience electrical problems, your alternator is bad. The in-car entertainment system will reset or the warning light may illuminate in response to a faulty battery.

Identifying the various symptoms can help you save a lot of difficulty. Consequently, this book will first assist you in comprehending the special functions of the alternator and battery. Then, you'll discover how to tell the signs of alternator and battery failure apart.

How Do Batteries and Alternators Differ?

Let's review the functions of the alternator and battery in a car before we examine the signs of a problem with either one.

A car battery is made to deliver the powerful electrical charge needed to start your vehicle. The car's starter receives this charge, which turns the engine and starts the vehicle.

It's sometimes referred to as a "starter battery" because the car battery delivers that powerful burst of electricity to begin things going.

But once your automobile is started, the alternator takes front stage.

The alternator recharges the battery by supplying electricity back to it, allowing the battery to power the car's electronic components such the headlights and wipers.

What Is the Typical Lifespan of an Alternator?

Usually it last between 150,000 and 250,000 km or 7 years. Naturally, how much abuse the alternator endures will affect its lifespan.

You will experience issues sooner with those that are misused or overdone.

How long does a typical car battery last?

Car batteries normally last between three and five years. An automobile battery gradually loses its capacity to hold an electrical charge as it nears the end of its useful life.

A car battery has a lifespan of three to five years, but if it isn't used or is used excessively, it might go bad much sooner.

How to Determine Whether It Is Your Alternator or Battery

By now, it should be obvious that the alternator and battery in your car are two distinct parts, each serving a different function.

Despite this, it might be difficult to determine who is to blame when a problem arises. That's because your car's electrical system includes both the alternator and battery. Therefore, many symptoms of a broken alternator and a weak car battery coexist when there is a problem.

For instance, faulty batteries and alternators result in electrical problems with your car's entire system, especially when the engine is started. As a result, identifying the underlying problem might occasionally be difficult.

Fortunately, some of those signs are specific to the alternator or the battery. Consequently, you may identify the problem's source once you know which ones to search for.

Symptoms of a Malfunctioning Battery (And Not an Alternator)

Here are a few distinct signs of a bad or weak automobile battery that demonstrate that the alternator isn't the issue:

Alarm for low battery: Battery warning indications are standard on the majority of car models, usually on the instrument panel. Therefore, if your automobile is experiencing electrical issues and the battery warning light or indication is on, the battery is probably to blame.

Old battery: Another obvious indicator is the battery's age. Car batteries have a lifespan of three to five years, but they'll deteriorate faster if you use them infrequently. When you are aware that your battery is old (or rarely used), electrical issues are not random.

Sulphur smell (rotten eggs): Sulphur is a scent that faulty automobile batteries emit, and most people associate sulphur with the smell of rotting eggs. There's little doubt that you have a battery issue on your hands because alternators don't emit such aromas.

Windows are slow to move: The battery supplies electricity to your car's electrical components, including the window motors. Your car's windows will operate more slowly than usual since a bad battery can't transfer that power efficiently.

In-car entertainment system automatically resets: Check the entertainment system in your car, lastly. Only when your car battery is continuously supplied with power will the system be able to save your presets and settings. Therefore, if you observe that it resets itself, the issue is likely with the battery rather than the alternator.

What to Look for in a Bad Alternator (Not a Bad Battery)

Here are some red flags that your alternator, not the battery, is the source of the issue:

Shortly after starting, the automobile stalls: Problems starting your engine can result from a defective battery or alternator. However, if the engine does start and runs for a short time before stalling out, your alternator is definitely to blame.

Dim lights: Another great location to look for alternator failure signs is in your headlights. If there is a problem with the alternator, they are connected to it and will flicker or dim.

Electrical problems: Other unrelated electrical problems with your car may also be an indication that the alternator needs to be replaced. For instance, if certain auto accessories don't get enough electricity, they will malfunction. If that occurs, it's probably because the device isn't receiving enough power from the vehicle's alternator.

You'll solve issues faster if you can tell the difference between a bad car alternator and battery. But more importantly, it will stop you from wasting money on the incorrect replacement parts.

You may start your search for the item at Parts Experts, whether you need a new car alternator or battery. For instance, you can search for used auto parts on our Marketplace. Or you can submit a request for any auto part you require using the Contact us Page.

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