Have you experienced that your car won’t start but battery works? You just recently had a car battery check-up, all is well, said the mechanic and not to mention that it is entirely new like few months old only. But you ended up scratching your head on Monday morning because you’re already late and the car won’t cooperate.
My son experienced it just today. I know, it is frustrating. Who wouldn’t be mad? He has been driving for years, and this is the first time that this happened so I quickly check what could be the reason the car won’t even roar its engine when I perfectly know that his battery is just new.
After testing, we found out that there is a problem that is lying behind the car engine itself. The alternator looks, and even the starter is now waving his goodbye to me.
So what could happen behind all the monthly check-ups? We fixed it, yes, but we have to focus not on the battery but on the other car parts that are having the issue.
How Can You Be Sure That It Is NOT The Battery?
The car battery is one of the weakest car parts. There are so many factors that affect its vulnerability. Your battery could be dying because it’s already more than a year old (cells don’t live that long) and even the changing temperatures.
However, it is not only the battery that needs constant checkup and replacement. That is why it is essential to check if the battery is the real reason why you are struggling to start your car. Who would like to spend $140 to $300 for a new battery when you just purchased the current one a few months ago? Of course, not you.
That is the reason why I have written this piece, for everyone to know that there are other underlying problems inside your car’s hood that you might be overlooking. Check them first before sprinting towards the nearest battery retailer.
Who knows? You might be able to save more if you know these tricks – no, they’re not tricks, they are pure knowledge that all car owners should know and live by every time.
Equipment You Need To Use
If you have no experience and this is your first time checking in other car parts aside from the battery, we recommend that you get these types of equipment. These are by far the needed types of equipment to start.
1. Make sure that your battery tester is ready
This set of tester did not only examines the condition of charge while on idle but can also check the battery’s health while it is controlled to the weight of a source cycle.
You can try electronic testers or analog testers depending on the availability and your choice. We preferred an analog tester because of the following:
1.1. You can purchase an analog tester for around $30 only. Since it is an analog device, you don’t need batteries to make it work. You can leave it anywhere in your carport, and it won’t need a battery to make it work when you want to use it.
If you feel that it is so old-school and you want not to store something similar, you can bring your car battery to an auto shop and let them test your battery if it is a problem. If it’s good, then you’re free to go.
Bringing the car battery to the mechanic is also advisable if you don’t know where to start and you’re just at home. But if you are traveling, we recommend that you at least try to get a car battery tester that you can bring anywhere.
2. Get a multimeter
You can always find a good one which costs $29 to $45 only. You won’t need too many features in a multimeter because I am sure that you’ll never use those features that much.
We get a Klein Tools, which costs just around $50-$60 and has everything that we need at the moment. You can find this type of multimeter at a home center. You don’t need to check other specialty electronics store for this specific tool.
A multimeter can examine the charge level of a battery. It is the best pair of a car battery tester since the first one runs a one-person start cycle.
To use this, you need someone (in my case, my son) who will hold the multimeter while you start the car. We did it, but it is also not that convenient to do so.
Read The Full Guide here.
3. Don’t forget a Battery Charger
If you are on the road most of the time, you can get a trickle charger. Nowadays, a trickle charger is smaller and cheaper. Meaning anyone can buy it and you can bring it anywhere you go. The most affordable trickle charger that you can get is a Battery Tender for only $29. Isn’t that sweet?
Check this article if you are interested in a trickle charger.
How To Test The Battery And Other Parts Of The Car Engine?
I know that some of you might have no time checking their cars because you are busy with work for the most part. Some of you might stop reading this and will replace everything without even testing. Well, if you got a lot of money and you don’t mind spending them, stay right here.
But if you wish to save as much as you can, and you want to identify what is the real problem so you can avoid it next time, then continue reading because the following few paragraphs that you will see are the steps.
1. Battery test
Even if you know that you had just bought it yesterday, you need to make sure that your battery is working correctly. There could be a glitch that happened, and you need to bring it back to the battery retailer. But yes, we need to test it first.
Make sure to connect the tester to the battery. If you can see that the needle is moving, then, the battery is still working fine but if it is not, then go to the nearest retailer and bring your warranty card because that is the hint that you need to make them replace your car battery.
If your battery can hold at least 8.5 V for a matter of 15 secs at 0 degrees, then you should be good. If not, then there’s a problem with the battery.
2. Check the status of the battery cables
It’s sad to say but most of the time we overlook the cables because we think it is perfectly okay but no, it could be corroded and might be a reason why your car is not starting at all.
For you to check the connections, you need to a voltage drop test. If the battery is fully charged, it should have 12 volts when you read the multimeter. Anything under 10.1 volts is already a no go.
You can execute a voltage drop test through the following:
First, touch one exploration to the cell post and the same with the other terminal. You should read 0 or close to zero. Anything that reads a negative decimal means that you are losing energy in your wires.
3. Check your alternator belt
Even if the battery discharged, you could still try to have it charged for a minimal time and test the connection again. If both are working good, then you have to check your alternator belt.
For the previous years, most of the cars used belts with pulleys that keep tightness. If your alternator belt is sounding weird, it could be the reason why the alternator is not working right as well.
If you haven’t changed the belt for a long time and there’s a crack in it, then it is about time for you to finally replace it. You can replace the alternator belt for $35 along with the pulley.
But what if is the opposite of happen? (Read here.)
4. Make sure that your starter will start
Now that you have checked the battery, cables, and the alternator belt and they are all okay, then it is the time to review the starter.
To test it, you need to take it out from the car or vehicle. And yes, there’s no other way to fix it but to bring it to the nearest auto shop and let a mechanic check it unless you are a mechanic yourself.
There are many possible reasons why a car won’t start but battery works. It is essential for you to know the root cause of the problem if it is not the battery.
To do so, you need to have the necessary equipment to test the other parts of the car engine aside from the battery.
Make sure that you have the following on hand before you start testing the batteries and the other parts of your car:
1. Battery Tester
3. Battery charger
Once you have these three, you are ready to test the battery, the cables, the alternator belt, and the starter. Once you reach the starter part, then it is the dead end.
It is crucial for you to remember that each test that you make, you need to make sure that the battery or each part of the engine is not working or working before proceeding on to the next to avoid misdiagnosing the problem.