Starter or Car Battery: How to Diagnose Which Part is Bad?

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You have places to go and things to do and problems with your vehicle can keep you from being where you want to be when you need to be there. If you’ve ever gotten up, had breakfast, and then headed out to your car only to discover that when you turn the key, nothing happens, your whole day can be ruined.

You need to find out why your car won’t start. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a dead car battery. Alternatively, it could be the starter. Rarely, it could be an indication of a serious engine problem. How can you diagnose which part is bad? There are some things you can try before consulting a mechanic.

Don't assume the worst

It’s pretty obvious – if your car engine won’t turn over, try turning the key again. See what happens on our dashboard. Look at your gauges. Maybe you’re just out of gas – it happens. If that’s not the case, try to turn the car on again, and listen to what happens. Does the engine seem to be trying to turn over, or are you just getting a clicking or grinding sound? You could have a bad car starter, or dirty spark plugs.

Bad car battery

People tend to assume that all the components of their vehicle are going to work properly, but the fact is that the battery is likely to be the first thing to go. Check your battery terminals for corrosion. Clean them up with steel wool or a wire brush, and then try to start your car again. If it still doesn’t work, it could be the starter.

Bad starter

A bad starter actually sounds quite a lot like a dead battery – you turn the key, and all you hear is a click. It might not be the entire starter, though – it could be a weak component known as the solenoid. It prevents the starter from creating the correct current to start your car.


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Jason

31 years of experience
148 reviews
Jason
31 years of experience
Land Rover Range Rover Sport - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Surprise, Arizona
Needed new brake pads on my Land Rover-and booked through “your mechanic”- this was my second time using this service and I have to say- these guys are awesome- Today, Jason came out to my work place- and completed the work quickly. Thank you!!
Honda Accord - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Phoenix, Arizona
Jason was on time, self motivated, well educated in his craft, and very helpful. I am fully sold on your method of using the home service. Jason helped by creating a safer ride for my wife, saving me time, and saving money for my family. I will be a client forever. Dennis Laycock

Lee

18 years of experience
105 reviews
Lee
18 years of experience
Toyota Camry - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Richmond, Virginia
Lee was professional and knowledgeable. The job did not take long he was a little late but like I said professional because he let know that he was running late. LEE IS AWESOME!!!!!!

Willie

23 years of experience
23 reviews
Willie
23 years of experience
Jeep Compass - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - North Hollywood, California
I made an appointment to have my brake rotors/disc replaced. On the day I scheduled my car services- it ended up raining. Willie checked in, moved my appointment, and continued to communicate through out the day until he was able to come work on my car. He took great car to make the repairs ANNNDDD SAVED ME MONEY by only doing what was necessary (only one of the rotors needed replacing). A blessing.

Honorio

18 years of experience
782 reviews
Honorio
18 years of experience
Saturn Vue - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Sunnyvale, California
This was our second appointment to service our Honda and Saturn with Honorio and we will continue to do so in the future. We highly recommend Honorio.

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