Yesterday, I started my car, drove some distance and then the car suddenly wouldn't start for the drive home. The battery was old, it was cold out and the car started with a jump, so I figured that was the issue. Bought a new battery and installed it. Immediately afterward, it started without issue. About 4 hours later, I started it again with no issue.
This morning, however, same issue again, even with the new battery. Could start it with a jump from my charger, but not on its own.
There's no clicking or grinding, so I don't think it's the starter, and no visible corrosion on the terminal clamps, which were apparently on tight enough to give energy to the power locks and power sliding door, so that seems unlikely.
But I'm a rank amateur at all of this. Is the alternator all that's likely left?
My car has 117277 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.
The alternator can certainly be the culprit. The function of the alternator is to provide all the vehicle’s electrical needs once it’s running. The battery is there to start te engine and as sort of a back up to the alternator. If the alternator is not providing enough power for the electrical needs of the entire vehicle - spark, ignition, fuel pump, lights, heat, etc, the system will turn to the battery for power. However, the battery cannot charge itself. Once the battery is drained, you need a jump start. However, if the vehicle was not driven very far and the battery was still dead in the morning, you may have a short/draw. Some component or system may be drawing electricity even when the vehicle is off. Have a charging system inspection performed. A certified technician will be able to tell you if it is an alternator or other electrical issue.
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