Car Won’t Start, Lights Functioning: Battery or Starter Issue?

QuestionsCategory: Ask An ExpertCar Won’t Start, Lights Functioning: Battery or Starter Issue?
Daniel Oliver Lee asked 3 months ago
Hi, I'm in a bit of a dilemma with my car. It won't start, but the lights and everything else seem to be working fine. I've received a lot of conflicting advice: one person I asked suggested that it might be the battery, while another person said it could be the starter. I'm not sure which to believe. Could you provide some insight into what might be causing this issue and how to determine whether it's the battery or the starter?
1 Answers
Zack Norman Staff answered 3 months ago
Hey there, Daniel! Your situation is quite common and can be perplexing, which is something that I've experienced quite a few times before, and I understand that figuring out the underlying cause can be rather tough. Here's how you can pinpoint the issue, and figure out what's causing it:
  1. Check the Battery Voltage: A healthy battery should read around 12-13 volts. If it's lower, the battery might be the issue.
  2. Attempt to Jump-Start: If your car starts with a jump and then dies again, it's likely the battery.
  3. Listen for the Starter: If you hear a single click or no sound at all when trying to start the car, it might be the starter. Rapid clicking usually indicates a battery problem.
  4. Inspect Connections: Ensure that the battery connections and the connections to the starter are secure and free from corrosion.
  5. Consider Recent Changes: Since you've mentioned installing a new radio, ensure it's not draining the battery. Incorrect installation can lead to power drain.
  6. Test the Alternator: Although you've recently replaced the alternator, it's worth checking if it's charging the battery properly.
Given some of the symptoms and details that you mentioned, I'd suggest starting with a thorough check of the battery and its connections (this is what I'd usually recommend for diagnosing electrical problems on any car), followed by an inspection of the starter and the alternator. Remember, diagnosing car issues can sometimes be a process of elimination. If you're unsure, it's always best to consult with a professional mechanic. I hope that answers your question! Zack - Motor Verso Mechanics Team