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If your vehicle fails to start, it is usually caused by a dying or dead battery, a bad alternator or an issue with the starter. It can often be hard to determine if you are dealing with a battery or an alternator problem, this article will give you a better idea of which one is causing the problem. 

Bad Battery Signs

A bad battery can make your engine sound sluggish, it may struggle to start, it may only start inconsistently or you may notice the lights and radio do not come on. 

If you think it might be the battery then jump starting it could be an option. If the car starts after jumping it, then you know the issue is battery related. However, once it is started you also need to figure out whether the battery is simply at the end of its life… or if there are further, underlying issues. 

Symptoms of a Bad Alternator

Some of the things to look for when it comes to a bad alternator are no-starts, dimming lights and problems with the stereo output. If your car starts, but then stalls when you are driving, your battery is not being charged, probably due to a faulty alternator. 

If you hear a squealing sound coming from your engine, that gets worse when your heater or radio are on, then this could be your alternator bearings. 

If your car won’t crank or start, but the headlights are still working, look at the starter or other parts of the engine to try to find the problem.

If you have a battery indicator light illuminated on your car, it could signal a problem with a charging system. If your car gets a jump start and stops running straight away, it could be an indication that the alternator is malfunctioning. 

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