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Starters & Alternators

Brakes+ Mechanical Services can diagnose starter motor or alternator problems and replace and fit starter motors and alternators to most vehicles.

Starter Motor

The starter motor is the electric motor which starts your engine's operation. If your starter motor fails, your car won't start.

Your stater motor needs a fully charged battery to start the engine. It is the alternator which charges your car's battery.

You may have a starter motor problem if:

  • if your car is slow to turn over (start);
  • if your lights dim while you attempting to start the car (while the engine is cranking);
  • if you turn the ignition and nothing happens;
  • the car tries to start but then engine stops and the starter keeps going - makes a rrrrrrrrrrr noise.

Other problems:

When you try to start the car and hear a single loud click and all the power goes off (including radio, lights etc) you may have a flat or dead battery or dirty battery terminals / loose connection. The same could be the case if you hear several clicks in rapid succession when you turn the ignition.

Alternator

Your car's alternator is a fairly simple component yet it is critical to your car's operation. It turns the mechanical energy from the engine into electrical energy which powers the car's accessories as well as keeping the battery fully charged (so the car will start next time).

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When it comes to alternator problems, here's what to look out for:

  • dashboard warning lights - usually 'ALT', 'GEN' or a light shaped like a battery (this could be the alternator or the battery). If the light flickers or shows on and off, or shows when you turn additional accessories on (eg: windshield wipers) these could be an early warning sign;
  • dimming headlights and dashboard lights, speedometer stops working, slow power windows, radio stops working and so on can all be signs that an alternator is failing to produce enough power;
  • growling or whining noise;
  • smell of burning rubber, or hot wires;
  • loose engine belt, cracks or wear in the belt'
  • car won't start - hear the 'clicking' of the relays ticking over and nothing else (this noise eventually stops). This is a sign of a dead battery, however, the alternator may be the cause.

Not sure if you have a battery issue, alternator or starter motor problem. Contact your nearest Brakes+ Mechanical Services store. We can check your battery for its level of charge as well as its charge capacity and we can check and accurately diagnose alternator and starter motor problems or broken and loose connections.

 

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