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How do you know if your battery or alternator is bad?

Almost all of us have experienced a situation when either your car battery or alternator just gives out. And you were left wondering which one to replace (this is even the petrol heads!)

It is not an easy task to find out which part of your car is giving you trouble, after all motor diagnosis isn’t everyone’s strong suite! In this article, we give you a few tips which will help you find out whether you have car battery or alternator problems.

Conduct a car battery check

The first step to do is to check your battery.  In cold weather, it's very common to have a dead battery that just won't start. Check the battery gauge on the dashboard to see if the battery is sending a charge even when you have switched off the car.

If there is a dim flickering light, then it means that something is using up power from the battery. Once this step is complete the next is to check the connections you commonly use, like the automatic window openers, windshield wipers, and brake lights.

Switch them all off and try the battery again. If the battery reads over 15 volts or less than 13 volts, then there might be a problem with the voltage regulator, the wiring, or the alternator. If the battery just won’t keep a charge even when you have turned off all accessories, then it's time to take a look at the other systems that work with the battery to run your car.

How to check if alternator is bad?

Test the alternator to make sure that it can start up the battery. If the battery is working properly and nothing is wrong with it, then it's the alternator that might be causing the problem.

There is a simple test to check the working of the alternator which is to run your car and then unplug the positive connection of the battery.

If the car stops, then you most likely have a problem with the alternator. If this is not something you are comfortable doing then the other simple test is to check your interior lights. An alternator charges your battery when the car is running.

If the interior and dashboard lights come on brightly but slowly start to fade, then it indicates a problem with the alternator. It demonstrates that the alternator cannot keep a charge when the car is running. Another sign is that the car lights run brightly when you race your car, but when you slow it down, the lights start to lose power.

If things don’t seem easy and you are still having trouble, the next best thing is to do is to take your car to a reliable garage. We also do recommend that if you have a dead battery, get a jump start done and get the battery and alternator checked by an expert.

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