How can I tell if my alternator is not charging my battery?

Asked by Oct 12, 2012 at 03:42 PM about the 2004 Hyundai Elantra

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

4 Answers

6,515

There are two accurate ways but both require a multimeter. I will tell you the most accurate way first -- If you own a multimeter and you can safely access the terminals usually located on the side or back of the alternator, here's what to do! First turn the car's engine on. Now turn your multimeter to the 20V setting. Locate the red (positive) terminal on the back of the alternator. If there is a plastic/rubber guard over the terminal, push it back so you can see the exposed metal on the terminal. Now place the red (positive) multimeter probe on the terminal and ground the black (negative probe) to another steel part of your car (NOT THE ALTERNATOR ITSELF) -- preferably the engine heads. You should now see a reading on your multimeter display. If not, your alternator is not working. The second way is a little bit less accurate but works just as well. Instead of placing the red probe on the alternator terminal, now, with the engine running, place the red probe on the positive terminal and the black (negative) probe on the negative terminal. If your alternator is working properly, you should now see a reading of between 13 and 14 volts. That means it is working. If you are seeing anything less than twelve, your alternator probably isn't working. If these are out of your means, a bad alternator will not charge your battery and drain the battery while the car is running. What I would recommend is idle the car for ten minutes, then turn it off, Try to start it back up and see if the starter motor cranks at the normal speed. If it sounds slow or it just makes a click like it can't crank the engine, it means your battery is not getting charged by the alternator... Or the battery is dead. Good luck!

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
10

It's the alternator

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
30

Your car won't start, driving lights dash display/interior lights won't come on. My car played up just 2 days ago and I am still waiting for a call from Hyundai to say that they have replaced the alternator....

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
250

I have a 05 Kia Optima an I put a reman akternatir from O'Reillys an I got a new battery .Now I check to see it the alternator is charge the battery an it's not.What can it be an fuse or what

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

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