Updated at: 13-07-2022 - By: Lucas

When you hear your keys click in the ignition but don’t hear the engine roar, you know it’s going to be a hard day.

There are many things that can make a car not start, and a bad alternator is one of them.

But if the alternator is broken, can we still start the car?

Even if the alternator is broken, you can start the car, but it won’t run for very long and you’ll have to take it to the mechanic right away. If you don’t, you could have your car shut off again.

This article will talk about the signs that your alternator is about to break and the best way to start your car even if the alternator isn’t working right. Gotta stop calling AAA so much!

So, make sure you read this article all the way to the end. If you don’t, you might get stuck and not know what to do!

Symptoms of a failing alternator

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There are a number of ways to tell if an alternator is going bad or not.

But because the alternator, the battery, and the starter all work together, it might be hard to find the exact problem. But there are some things you can do to try to figure out what the exact cause is.

Dead battery, or failing alternator?

If you can’t start your car even though you’ve turned the key many times, it could be because of the battery or the alternator.

You can test the other electrical devices in the car to see if the battery is dying.

If your headlights seem weaker than usual, that could mean that the battery is going bad, not that the actuator is going bad.

By jumpstarting the car, you can also find out if the problem is with the actuator or the battery.

If you jump-start the car and it keeps running, your battery might need to be replaced soon. This is because the battery is mostly used to start the alternator, and the alternator does everything else.

But if you start the car and it stops running quickly, it means that the actuator isn’t doing its job right.

Fluctuation in light

If your actuator is broken, the voltage going to your car’s accessories will be erratic.

You might notice that the pressure in your car’s air conditioner has changed, or that your headlights are too bright or too dim.

This is also true for the lights inside.

Electronics might stop working completely

Since a broken actuator doesn’t send out the right amount of power, you may find that some of your car’s electronic parts have stopped working.

This could be the controls for your power windows, radio, interior lights, etc.

Most new cars are programmed to run the most important parts of the engine first if the power goes out.

Even though the engine might keep going for a little while longer, you might find that other parts that aren’t as important don’t work.

How to start a car with a bad alternator

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Now that we know what a bad alternator looks like, let’s talk about how to start a car even if the alternator isn’t working.

Turn off the car

The first thing to do is turn off your car and all of its accessories.

Turn off the headlights, the air conditioning, and any other electronics that are powered by the battery.

Get another car and cable

Get another car whose battery is in good shape, since you’ll be charging yours with it.

A pair of jumper cables is also needed.

Connect the cables

You’ll notice that there is one red cable and one black cable, and that both of them have clamps at the end.

It would work best if you put the red clamp on the positive end of both batteries and the black cable on the negative end of both batteries.

A (+) sign shows which terminal is positive, and a (-) sign shows which terminal is negative.

Start the other car

Once the cables are connected, use the good battery to start the car.

After that, you need to let the car run for about 4–5 minutes.

This will help charge your car’s dead battery so it has enough power to start your car.

Start your car

Once you’re done waiting, try to start your car.

The battery should, if all goes well, have enough power to give the alternator the voltage it needs.

If the car won’t start, wait another 4–5 minutes and try again.

Get help

If your cars have already started, you need to go see a mechanic right away.

The car won’t run for very long, and in the long run, the stress on the battery and actuator will do a lot of damage.

Since there isn’t much time left before the car turns off again, stay away from roads with lots of fast traffic and stick to roads with slow traffic and few cars.

A good tip would be to make sure that after starting the car, all electric accessories are turned off.

If you don’t need the headlights or if it’s nighttime, turn them off.

Turn off the air conditioner and the radio or music player if they are on.

The reason for this is that the actuator takes care of most of the electricity supply. The battery is only there to give power to the actuator to get it going and to power the electronics when the actuator is off.

When the battery is used as a power source instead of the actuator, it won’t work for very long before it turns off.

If you have a friend help you, you might have to stop every 2 minutes and jumpstart your car because it might be turning off that often.

Final thoughts

Well, we hope you now know how to tell if your car’s alternator is broken and what you can do to start it temporarily.

We hope your car problems get fixed soon.