Quick Answer: How Do I Check My Car Alternator?

How do you tell if it’s your battery or alternator?

If the engine starts but dies immediately, your alternator probably isn’t keeping your battery charged.

If a jump starts and keeps your car running, but the car can’t start again off of its own power, a dead battery is likely your answer..

Can a bad alternator destroy a new battery?

Yes. The alternator can have a bad diode which allows A/C to flow to the battery. It does not take long for A/C to damage battery cells. Likewise, a bad battery will kill an alternator.

Will a car run with a bad alternator?

When an alternator is going bad, the battery drains quickly. If the alternator is going or has gone bad, in most cases the vehicle can be driven for a short distance and for a short period of time, allowing you to make it to a service station or automotive parts store for a replacement alternator.

How long will a battery last with a bad alternator?

A 12 volt battery in most cars will run about 30 minutes to 1 hour without lights or air conditioner, since many components will run than old cars before. Starting a car takes a lot of power. You should buy a battery with more power or fix your alternator.

What is the best way to check your alternator?

With the engine off, battery voltage should be between 12.5 and 12.8 volts. If it’s below that, charge the battery with a battery charger before you conduct the test again. Then start the engine and check for increased voltage readings. If you see higher readings, chances are the alternator is good.

How much does it cost to fix the alternator?

Waits says the average price to replace an alternator with a remanufactured one is $400, while Gunning adds that a remanufactured alternator on a typical, domestic car, costs about $300 to $500, including parts and labor. The price of a new alternator can run from $500 to $1,000.

How do I know my alternator needs replacing?

Six Alternator Warning Signs:Dim lights. The alternator is part of the electrical system of your vehicle. … Warning light. Most modern cars have a dashboard warning light that alerts you when the alternator is on the fritz. … Weak or dead battery. … Weird smells. … Odd sounds. … Visual cues.

What problems does a bad alternator cause?

One of the most common symptoms of a failing alternator is flickering, pulsating, or dimmed headlights. If your alternator is beginning to fail it won’t be able to power your headlights effectively.

Can AutoZone test my alternator?

We can do a charging test in the parking lot which tests the battery, and will determine whether or not your system is charging properly. This test may not pinpoint whether the alternator is bad or not, but you can also remove the alternator from your vehicle and have it tested at the nearest AutoZone auto parts store.

How do you check an alternator with a screwdriver?

Place the metal end of the screwdriver near to the nut on the alternator pulley. You find a strong magnetic force immediately pulls the screwdriver towards it, even if the screwdriver is a reasonable distance away, if there is alternator field current. This means the alternator is operating correctly.

What does a bad alternator sound like?

The grinding sound may be caused by a worn-out bearing. Your car can also make a whining sound when the voltage regulator is sending signals to the alternator to charge more than is necessary. If you hear any type of whining or grinding sound that’s a good indication that your alternator needs to be checked.

How do I know if I need a new alternator?

Signs of a Bad Alternator Some of the things to look for are no-starting and trouble starting, dimming lights and problems with stereo system output. If your car starts but stalls when you’re underway, your battery is probably not being recharged due to a faulty alternator.

How far can I drive without alternator?

25 miles25 miles should be fine. Theoretically, on an older car, you can drive forever once the engine is running, you’ll just be without any electrical amenities in the vehicle. Newer cars are much more reliant on the battery/charging system, and many won’t even stay running with a dead battery.

How do I check for a bad alternator?

A battery test is easy to perform and can be done at home. First, open the hood and start the car. While the engine is running, remove the negative cable from the battery. If the vehicle stalls or dies, the alternator is likely bad.