Without being told, anyone with a bad alternator needs a new one immediately but what if your hands are tied at that point in time? What if you have no capacity to replace the alternator due to one reason or the other, and this has drained your battery that you start seeking means to jumpstart your battery with that same bad alternator? Do you think it is safe to do that? or can you jumpstart a car with a bad alternator?
Well, the right answer is yes. You can jumpstart a car with a bad alternator provided the car batteries are without fault. Even though the alternator is very bad, the car will keep running only that, the distance of the car will solely depend on how charged the batteries are. Why is this so? Because, since the car alternator is faulty, it will refuse to pass out enough voltage that is needed to move the vehicle. So practically, the car will depend solely on its batteries.
Do we recommend jumpstarting a car with a bad alternator?
Of course not. We do not recommend that you jumpstart a car with a bad alternator but it could be used in a case where there is no other option. Let’s say you are going on a short distance and you need a car for such a journey. In this case, when the car batteries are flat, you could jump-start your car and hit the road.
At this point, you should bear in mind that a jumpstarted battery will run down faster than when it is properly charged and is not supported by the alternator.
Many people have the belief that immediately they take off the jumpstart cables, the engine stops working. This is false. If the car battery is jumpstarted, it will serve you until the battery’s voltage runs flat again.
Dangers Of Jumpstarting A Car With A Bad Alternator
Evidently, there are no dangers in jumpstarting a car with a faulty alternator nor will there be damage on either of the cars. It is actually safe so far you follow the manual and steps carefully. But you still need to replace your alternator because it is unsafe to cruise the road with a bad alternator.
Can a bad alternator cause other problems?
The alternator is the powerhouse of the electric system in your car. It is responsible for charging and supporting the car battery. When the alternator is faulty, the electrical components in your car begin to fail and it will finally lead to a breakdown.
6 Signs of a Failing Alternator
- The indicator light – Most of our contemporary cars has a dashboard that signals you when you have a faulty alternator
- Headlights are dim – When you have a faulty alternator, your headlight becomes dim. This is because the alternator will not be able to power the headlights effectively
- Other electrical failures – As stated, the alternator is responsible for the electrical components of the car. When faulty, the power seats and power windows become less effective than they used to. This goes to say that, it becomes slower. Also, the internal light and the car’s radio, AC may stop working.
- Difficulty starting – For your car to start, it needs an electric spark. Since the alternator is the powerhouse of electricity, you will begin to find it difficult to start your car
- Battery Dies – More like when a husband who is very supportive to his wife kicks the bucket leaving his wife with three (3) children behind. Most wives may find it difficult to continue living because their supporting husband is no more. She would have to carry the load himself. The same applies to the alternator which is responsible for supporting the battery. When an alternator is bad, the battery will have to carry the load itself causing the battery to run flat faster.
The alternator is responsible for powering every electrical component in your car ranging from the AC, radio, lights, etc. Immediately your engine is turned on, the alternator begins its duty of charging the backup battery, and carrying other electrical components in the car. The average volt of an alternator is 14.5-volts. Some volts can go as high as 15-volts.
This goes a long way to explain to you that the alternator plays a very vital role in a car as most of the car components depend on it most especially, new cars. The operational model of a new car relies on the alternator and they are likely to have numerous failures because they deal with higher voltage. These include the followings:
- Electric Water Pumps: The alternator carries out the task of pumping water from the radiator through the car areas to keep the journey smooth. If the alternator is faulty, then the Electric Water Pumps will fail to pump water. And if the Electric Water Pumps fails to pump water while your car is moving, this may result in overheating and may lead to permanent damage to the car engine.
- Power Steering: Some power steering in some of our contemporary vehicles are driven electrically. Without the boost which is provided by the power steering pump, the steering can cause difficulty to steer your car quickly putting your life at risk.
- Fuel Pump: Fuel Pump as the name implies carries out the responsibility of pumping fuel to the engine. You need electricity before you can pump fuel into the engine, old cars are not left out on this. When the fuel pump refuses to function well by pumping fuel into the engine, the engine stops running.
How Far Can You Drive With a Bad Alternator?
There are several factors you may have to look into because many factors may contribute to the distance you can drive with a bad alternator and these factors include the following below:
- The condition of the alternator
- The condition of the battery
- The electrical load of the vehicle includes air conditioning, headlight, radio, and internal light
- The speed of your car
- The age of your car
Even though there are numerous factors that determine how far a car with a bad alternator can go, the average rough-estimated time for a car with a bad alternator is 20 minutes or at least 15 miles. All you need to do is drive slowly and try keeping the RPM low.
How To Jumpstart a Car With a Bad Alternator
If you know how to jumpstart a car, You shouldn’t have problems jumpstarting a car with a bad alternator. When jumpstarting a car, you should follow the manual carefully. Charge the car battery for at least four (4) minutes to start up the car.
Note that, if you have in mind to drive, you should extend the charging to at least fifteen (15) minutes not to get disappointed if your car stops halfway.
If you are wondering how long you should leave cables connected to charge the battery with a bad alternator, then 4+ minutes should be enough to start the car. This is because, when the alternator is bad, the battery will take the responsibility of carrying all the workload of the alternator which in turn will drain the battery faster.
Before Jumpstarting A Car
- Before you jumpstart a car, make sure the two cars don’t touch each other
- Remove the keys from the ignition in both cars
- You should be able to identify the positive and negative wires on the battery. The (Red) signifies positive and the (Black) signifies negative.
- On no account must you allow the clamps to touch
- Then follow the below steps accordingly.
1. Steps to Jumpstart a Car With a Bad Alternator
- Firstly, you have to attach the RED clamp to the good battery and attach the other RED clamp to the drained battery
- Attach the BLACK clamp to the good battery and attach the other BLACK clamp to the bare metal bolt
2. Start Engine
- You can proceed to start the engine with the connected car that has a good battery
- Run the engine for at least 4 minutes at 2000rpm
- If you have plans to drive a car that has a bad alternator, you will need to charge the battery for at least fifteen minutes at 2000rpm
- It may not necessarily mean that you must disconnect the charge immediately after 15 minutes. If it is colder, you may have to leave it to continue charging for a longer time.
- If after 4 minutes of charging the battery with a bad alternator it refused to crank, try it again after 4 minutes.
3. Remove Clamps: Steps
- Disconnect the BLACK clamp from the dead battery
- Disconnect the RED clamp from the dead battery
- Disconnect the RED clamp from the good battery
- Disconnect the BLACK clamp from the good battery
4. Get The Alternator Fixed
I trust the question “Can You Jumpstart A Car With A Bad Alternator?” has been answered but we recommend that you shouldn’t wait for a long time before getting a new alternator. All you have to do is take your car to a trusted car technician or mechanic to have your alternator changed or repaired.
Doing this will save you from danger and your car from more damage.