Diagnosing an electrical problem can give even the most knowledgeable technicians difficulty.
Problems (often called "defects") are manifested in alternators and starters that many times can be traced to malfunctions in wiring and other electrical accessories on a vehicle.
Bad connections are a major cause of electrical failures on vehicles today. Many dollars have been spent on batteries, starters, and alternators needlessly because of dirty battery connections. Whenever you have trouble starting your vehicle, always check the battery connections first. You may save yourself considerable time and money.
We will load test your battery to confirm that it still holds the proper charge. If the battery doesn’t meet our standards, we will notify the customer and offer replacement options. We use high-quality Napa batteries with fantastic warranties.
We will never sell you service you don’t need. But if you have us change your battery, our technicians will connect an auxiliary power supply to maintain stored memory of personal settings as well as engine and transmission adaptive parameters. We also dispose of the old battery in a way that is safe for the environment. Starters and alternators are checked as part of the electrical system, and you will receive a full system check.
Your alternator is the primary part of your car or truck's charging system, which includes the battery, alternator, ECM, and associated wiring and controls. Those controls may include a voltage regulator, separate from the alternator, or on many newer vehicles, an on-board computer.
The alternator's job is to generate electrical current to replace what was used from the battery to start the vehicle, and to run all of the electrical accessories that are in use as you drive.
The alternator was NEVER intended to be a battery charger. If you forget to turn off your lights or ignition, or if there is a draw on the battery, never jump-start the vehicle and "drive it around" to build the battery back up. I know grandpa said you could do that, and in grandpa's day of 35 amp generators you could easily get away with it. Today, most alternators are capable of making over 100 amps of current, but are not designed to charge a dead battery.
Your starter is the primary part of your car or truck's starting system, which includes the battery, starter, cables, switches (ignition, clutch or neutral-start), relay or solenoid, alarm system (if you have one), ECM(electronic control module), BCM(body control module), and all of the wiring in between. This can be a complicated system on some vehicles and overwhelm an undertrained technician.
It should be noted that the starter's job is just to turn the engine over. On current vehicles, when the vehicle operator acts to start the engine, this is sent to the computer as a request and if the computer is satisfied other conditions have been met, the computer will start the engine. A multitude of other factors affect the engine starting and running once this has been done.
Also, the starter was designed to crank the engine for just a few seconds. Holding the key to start while the engine turns (or doesn't turn, for that matter) will only cause damage to the starter as well as other parts of the system.
NEVER strike your starter with a hammer or hard object in an attempt to get it to start. Most starters manufactured today use permanent magnets in place of field coils.