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What’s the Issue: Car Starter or Car Battery

Person Starting A Vehicle

So, your car won’t start. It’s frustrating. You have somewhere to go and your car is not ready to make the trip. There are a couple of things that can cause your car not to start. It could be a problem with your car’s starter or your car’s battery. But how can you tell which one it is? Here are some ways to determine if it’s your car’s battery or starter that has gone bad:

It may be your starter if…

…you hear a clicking noise when you try to turn on your car. However, this can also be a sign that it’s your battery. To determine which one it is, try turning on your headlights. If they light up properly, then the problem is the starter and not the battery.

…your car is making a grinding noise. This is similar to the noise your car makes when it is already on and you try to start it again. This noise is caused by the gears in the starter being worn out.

…your car is starting slowly. If it’s taking longer than it normally does for your car to start, you may have a problem with your starter.

…your lights come on, but your car won’t start. If your dashboard lights come on, but your car doesn’t start when you turn your key, there is probably a problem with your starter.

…your car won’t jumpstart. When your car won’t turn on, one of the next logical steps is trying to jumpstart it. If your engine won’t start when you jumpstart your car, the problem is likely your starter and not your battery.


It may be your battery if…

…you hear a whining noise when trying to start your car. A whining noise is a sign of a problem with your battery.

…your lights won’t come on. If your car won’t start and your lights don’t come on, the problem is probably with your battery and not with your starter.

…your engine cranks without starting. If you have a bad battery, your engine may crank as if it is going to turnover but never actually starts.
…you’ve been jumpstarting your car frequently. When you have to jumpstart your car many times in a short period of time, there is probably a problem with your battery.

…you constantly have issues with your car starting. If you are frequently having problems getting your car to start, you may have a loose connection on your battery.

…you see the light. If the battery-shaped light on your dashboard lights up, your car is telling you that there may be a problem with the battery.


Alternatively, your car also may not start if there’s a problem with your alternator.

It may be your alternator if…

…your dashboard lights and headlights are dim. If your lights are not as bright as usual, your car-starting problem may be caused by your alternator.

…your engine stops after a jumpstart. Your alternator is likely the problem if your car starts once it is jumpstarted, but then dies immediately afterward.

…you see the other light. If the alternator light on your dashboard comes on, then your car is notifying you that there’s a problem occurring with your alternator.

…you smell burning rubber. Your alternator uses belts to run, and if friction causes a belt to overheat, you’ll smell the rubber and know that your car’s alternator could be the cause of your problem. Information from Federal-Mogul Motorparts.

If you need help determining the why your car won’t start, the auto experts over at Rad Air can help. And once we find out what the problem is, we can get you set up with the repairs you need for smooth riding from here on out. Get in touch with Rad Air today to set up your appointment.

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