Do I need a new alternator?

Asked by May 24, 2017 at 03:00 PM about the 2003 Chevrolet Impala Base

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I got a new car battery in 2011 and again in 2016. In 2011, I was told the
battery should last me about 10 years. Two days ago, my car would not
start. It started immediately after connecting it to a charger and I have not
had any problems starting the car since. Yesterday while driving, I tried
turning the car but the steering wheel locked up and the red battery light
came on. After pressing the gas pedal, eventually the wheel turned easily,
the battery light went away and I was able to drive normally. This has
happened 5+ times since yesterday, and only occurs when I am turning. It
does not happen everytime.

Could this be my alternator losing power when I slow down, or a loose
connection with the battery? I am afraid of the car completely losing power
while I am driving.

5 Answers

76,695

Have the alternator tested. It should put out around 13.5 to 14.5 volts.

25

Take it to a "reputable shop" with a "Charging System Analyzer." Once hooked up it will tell you Battery Voltage (engine off), Battery Voltage Recovery, and Alternator Output with, and without load. This will pinpoint the weak link in your chain. Lastly check your "Battery Ground Cables!" A poor ground will cause the problems your having too, so check (or have the shop) check grounds from battery to engine, and chassis. Electricity is very lazy.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I forgot to mention that after charging the battery, I went directly to Advanced Auto Parts and they said the battery was fully charged at ~14 volts. My check engine light was not on. Yesterday (the day after this incident), my check engine light came on and has been on ever since.

It has also been raining the past 2 days, if that has anything to do with it

76,695

Have the trouble codes read to know what is going on. I think Advanced Auto Parts will read them for free.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

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