Starters & Alternators & Solenoid
Have you ever had to “jump” your car to get it running? I think we all have at some point. You bring a friend over with their car, pull out your jumper cables, attach the batteries and voila! Your car comes back to life, only to be “dead” again the next time you try to start it. In some cases you have a dead battery and it will need to be replaced, but the problem can be much deeper than that. Quite often there can be a problem with your Starter, the alternator, or the solenoid that is causing your car to act “dead”.
The starter uses power from the battery to get your motor running. It spins the crankshaft to get the pistons pumping. If your starter is bad, the engine will not turn over.
Symptoms of a bad starter include:
• Nothing happens when the key is turned in the ignition
• Seeing a puff of smoke under the engine (or smelling something electrical burning)
• Whining noise
• Grinding sound when you turn the key
The alternator is an important part of your car’s power generation cycle. The alternator takes energy from the mechanical engine and converts it back into electrical energy to run your vehicle’s electrical systems like the headlights, radio, and dash lights. It is used to continually charge your car battery while the engine is on.
Symptoms of an alternator that needs to be replaced include:
• Difficulty starting the vehicle with a fully charged battery
• Your car may be equipped with an indicator light that reads ALT or GEN
• Power switches will not work. i.e. power windows, locks, mirrors, etc.
• External and internal lights may appear dim or flicker
• Car may stall or won’t start. Can also die while driving
The solenoid is also another integral part of the starting system. There are 4 parts of the starting system. The batter supplies the initial power. The solenoid sends that power to the starter. The starter switch is the part that tells the solenoid to send electric current to the starter. As you can see, if the solenoid goes bad, the whole system will not work. Solenoid testing is key to finding out which part of the electrical starting system is failing.
If you have experienced any of the symptoms described above, come in to All Auto for an evaluation. You may need immediate repair on one of these important engine components. We will perform:
• Full Electrical system diagnosis
• Tests for battery, starter, and alternator
• Test computer sensors and modules
• Check vehicle wiring harness
• Check fuses and relays
• Ignition switch diagnosis
• Check interior gages