When your car is having a hard time starting or having enough power to start a car, one of the first things to do is check to see if the battery is working properly. A bad battery can be the cause of a stalled car, and it should be replaced. You can take the car in to your Utah auto repair shop, or even do it yourself, to check the alternator to see how much power is getting to the battery.
The car alternator is there to keep the battery charged. If the alternator is doing its job correctly it could be that your battery is having a hard time keeping the power that the alternator provides. But how do you find out if the battery is the issue, or the alternator?
Utah auto repair mechanics test the alternator to see if it is running correctly. The test they run is always the same, but the readings they get from the test shows whether or not it is an issue with the battery or with the alternator. If you want to try this on your own before taking it in to the Utah auto repair shop, find your alternator of your car. The alternator is the part of the engine that has a pulley belt attached to it.
You can test the belt that turns the alternator. You are looking to see how tight it is. The belt should be tight enough that when you press down on it with your finger in the center section there isn’t more than an inch of slack in the belt. This is also a good time to check the belt to make sure it doesn’t have obvious signs of cracks or breaks.
The alternator needs to be set to the correct voltage of 20V. Before you start your engine make sure that you keep all loose items, such as jewelry or your clothing, away from the engine parts. Start the engine and watch the alternator pulley. Check to make sure it is turning the pulley correctly. You want it to run straight with no skips.
If it isn’t working correctly the belt is probably damaged or too loose. Bring it in to your Utah auto repair mechanic to fix the belt and perform the test. If you think the belt is too loose you could try bringing the alternator back a little further in its bracket to see if that is the problem.
When the belt is working correctly touch the red probe on the volt meter that is positive and use the black cable probe from the meter to ground. Ground it on bare metal, like a nut or bolt, on the frame of the car. If there is no reading then try again. The reading will probably jump around for a little bit, but it should eventually read 14 volts or more. If it is anything less your alternator is not giving enough power to the battery of your car and may need to be replaced, or the wiring might be loose or corroded.
If you are unfamiliar with how your car works be sure to take it to a professional for further confirmation. They may give you more information regarding why the alternator isn’t working. A weak battery, for example, can burn out an alternator early because the alternator has to work so hard to keep the power high for the battery.