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Alternator vs Battery: What is the Difference

Have you tried to start your car, but the engine refused to cooperate? The good news is that it may not mean your engine is kaput, but that it just doesn't have enough power to turn over. When this happens, the usual culprits are the battery or the alternator. Read on for some information that can help you weed out the problem and get you back on the road.

An engine that won't start is more than likely a battery problem. Batteries have a life expectancy of 3–5 years, whereas an alternator will last for seven years or about 150,000 miles. One way you can tell if you have a bad battery is when the dashboard battery light comes on while starting your vehicle. If this happens, there's your warning; your battery needs replacing.

When Your Battery is on its Last Legs

Another way to know if it's a battery problem is when your vehicle won't start and you detect a clicking sound when you turn your key in the ignition. This is a dead giveaway that your battery is dead.

If your vehicle shows none of those signs, never fear. There is another way to figure out whether it's a battery problem, and that's with a jumpstart. By setting up a jumpstart and getting your vehicle running with this method, you have found your answer: you need a new battery.

The End of Your Alternator

However, when there isn't a problem with the battery and your vehicle still won't start, it's likely the alternator. A speedy way to check if it's the alternator is to detach the positive battery terminal and wait to see if the vehicle stops running. If it does, it's a bad alternator.

Staying aware of the warning signs your vehicle gives you, can keep you ahead of the game. This allows you to get parts fixed or replaced before they become a problem at an inconvenient moment. If you need a battery or alternator repair, we invite you to bring your vehicle to Stang Auto Tech today!

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