Q: Loss of power in the cab and trouble starting the engine.

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I first noticed a problem when my radio, heater, cab lights and clock all lost power. The car still handled well and the engine sounded fine but I had no power to those parts of the car. I checked all the fuses I could, both the box under the driver's side and the one in the engine but saw none that were obviously damaged. I then tried starting my car and heard the engines rpms drop significantly before reaching an idle. The car managed to stay in idle but the voltmeter on the dash read an output of around 8 volts. I've done a little searching and most seem to think it's the alternator that's gone bad or a fuse I missed. Does that sound right or is there a more likely culprit?

My car has 180000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello, thank you for writing in. The alternator should be reading around 14 volts at all times. If it is dropping lower, there is an issue with the alternator or its wiring. You can verify the voltage output with a voltmeter, which is the fastest way to check its output is wrong. From there you can replace the unit and continue to check on the other systems that have failed. With that being said, if the other electrical components continue to malfunction, look into them individually at first. Find what they have in common and do whatever electrical testing you can to that component. For more diagnostic help, contact our service department.

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