Q: Weak battery or alternator?

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I think my alternator's going out. When I turn the key to start it, it sounds like the battery's dead. Like, it starts but it takes a second. Also, my windows are suddenly rolling down very slowly.

My car has 277397 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

This may be a sign of a weak battery, a failing voltage regulator or failing alternator. As you may know, the alternator is responsible for charging the battery while the engine runs by generating amperage and recharging the battery while the engine turns the alternator. The voltage regulator is a unit that regulates the charging of the battery by the alternator. Often times this will result in the alternator allowing too much power to be delivered to the battery resulting in damaging wires and prematurely sometimes destroying the battery. In other cases it may result in the alternator not supplying enough power to the battery, resulting in undercharging the battery or not charging it at all. In some cases when a battery is too weak or damaged, it may no longer hold a charge for any length of time, in which case the alternator may be doing its job, but the battery is just simply too weak to hold a charge. In either case, I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose your vehicle’s charging system.

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