29 Jun 12
You go out to your car but it won’t start. No lights go on when the door opens and you realize the battery is dead. The question is, has your battery really gone bad or is it the alternator? Your vehicle’s alternator holds an electric charge and charges your car battery while the car is running.
If the alternator stops working properly, your battery will lose its charge and your car will stop working. If your car stops working, how do you know whether it’s the alternator or the battery causing the problem?
After all, you don’t want to spend money on a new car battery if the one you have is perfectly fine and you don’t want to install a new alternator if a bad battery is the culprit. Here’s how to tell the difference.
Take Your Battery in To Be Tested
You can tell if you have a bad battery by taking it in to be tested. Many of the places that sell batteries will perform this test free of charge. Simply remove your battery from the vehicle and bring it with you to the store. If the battery is bad, you can buy a new one while you are there. If the battery isn’t bad, then your alternator is the problem and you need to have it replaced.
Replacing Your Alternator
Even if your battery is bad, make sure your mechanic tests your alternator before installing a new one. There might be something else going on that is causing the issues you are having. However, if the battery of your car is holding a charge just fine, then chances are the alternator is the culprit and will need to be replaced.