Car Won’t Start? It May Be Your Battery

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When it’s cold out, it is entirely feasible that you walk out to start your car and it won’t start – even if you have a newer battery. A no-start situation could be for just about any reason; however, the first thing you should check is the charging system.

You’ll need a voltmeter to do this; and you can pick one up at any auto parts store or at many dealerships including Classic Chevrolet.

All the Steps

Step 1: Set the voltmeter to volts. Touch the red lead to the positive battery terminal and the black lead to the negative battery terminal.

If the voltmeter reads at least 12 volts, you have enough voltage in the battery; however, you could have a dead cell, which means that you don’t have enough amperage to activate the starter.

Step 2: Holding the leads on the battery terminals, have someone try to start the vehicle. If the voltage drops below 10, you don’t have enough amperage to start the vehicle. Charge or replace the battery.

Step 3: Once you charge the battery, you’ll need to test it again. With the vehicle running, touch the red lead to the positive battery terminal and the black lead to the negative battery terminal.

If the voltage is less than 13.5, the alternator is most likely not charging well, though the battery could have a low charge. If you are sure the battery is completely charged, you’ll need to replace the alternator.

Step 4: Turn the vehicle off. Leaving the leads on the terminals, have someone start the vehicle while you are watching the voltmeter.

If the battery voltage drops to 10 volts or less, the battery is bad and will not hold a charge. If the voltage does not drop below 10.5 yet does not rise above 12.5 when the vehicle is running, the alternator is weak and should be replaced.

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