Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car starts but acts like it doesn't want to

asked by on

Car will start but takes a minute. When I does start it runs sluggish and almost dies while driving. Battery, ABS, and air bag light are all on while car is started. Gas gauge does not work.

My car has 80000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hey there. This sounds like a faulty altern...

Hey there. This sounds like a faulty alternator. Use a multi-meter to test the alternator's output voltage. Good alternators test in the range of 13.8-14.2 volts and make sure to use the 20 volt setting, or you could receive a false reading. You can pick up a multi-meter at your local parts store. If your alternator fails or this is not your issue, I would recommend enlisting the help of a qualified mechanic. Going too long on a bad alternator can damage a battery.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Gas usage high

Depending on the conditions, 25 miles per gallon is not too bad, especially in the winter. Gas companies are required by the government to change the mixture of gas in the winter to decrease vehicle emissions. When they make a...

Q: What should I do with the air bags after they have deployed?

When an air bag has deployed, it will need to be replaced. After an accident in which the air bags have been deployed, get your vehicle serviced immediately. Tip Even if your air bags did not deploy, you should have...

Q: Car broke down. Replaced belt and alternator, still doesn't start.

It is always a concerning situation to have your car break down, it is even worse when that happens on the freeway! Luckily, getting your car inspected by a certified mechanic can bring some needed relief with such a situation....

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...