Batteries, Starting and Charging
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Turning your keys in the ignition makes your starter draw current from your battery. This happens when the starter solenoid switch engages to form a complete circuit between the starter relay and the battery terminals. At this point the starter can manually engage the flywheel and start your engine. Current is also drawn from the battery to the spark plugs to start the cycle of combustion.
These actions combined with those of your vehicle's other electrical systems drain the battery over time. That's where the alternator comes in. The alternator generates alternating current to recharge the battery.
With so many moving parts, it's easy to see how starting problems can make for a headache. Because of this complex starting process, you should ensure all components are working their best to guarantee your vehicle fires up quickly every time you hop in the driver's seat.
AutoZone has every replacement part you need if you notice something wrong with your charging system. We even test batteries, starters, and alternators so you can make an informed purchase, and get everything you need to do the job right in one stop.
When it's time to work on your starting system, it's time to stop by AutoZone. We sell everything it takes to fix or replace your starter motor, alternator, ignition switch, and more.
Here at AutoZone we know our parts and products. If you tell us your vehicle's year, make, model, and engine, we'll find the right part for your car. Whether you require a Ford F-150 starter, a Honda Accord battery, or any other starting and charging component, you can find it at AutoZone.
Take advantage of Same Day Store Pickup to start your repair today and be back on the road by tomorrow.
Questions & Answers
How long do car batteries last?
A typical car battery lasts 3 to 5 years. Get the most out of your battery by keeping your battery charged, terminals clean, and by properly maintaining your starting and charging system.
How to tell if a car battery is dead?
There are signs you can use to diagnose this issue, most notably a slow start or electronics that work until you try to start the engine. If you want to know for sure, you should bring it to your local AutoZone for a free battery test.
Can I test a battery with a multimeter?
Yes. Ensure the battery hasn't been used for an hour and set the multmeter to DC voltage. Touch the probes to the corresponding terminals. You should see 12.66 volts ideally, and at least 12 if there is any charge.
How to jump start a car battery?
Connect the red clamps to the positive terminals, first on the dead battery, then on the live one. Connect a black clamp to the live battery's negative terminal and the other to ground. Start the working car, then try starting the other car.
Are car batteries universal?
No. Car batteries are different from vehicle to vehicle. Enter your vehicle's info at the top of this page to find the battery that meets your vehicle's specifications.
Does a dead battery always need to be replaced?
Not necessarily. Your battery may be discharged due to a faulty part in the charging system, like an alternator. This is why it is smart to bring yours in for a free battery test at your local AutoZone to determine exactly what needs to be done.
How do I keep my battery charged if I don't drive often?
Not driving frequently can result in a dead battery because it needs to be recharged by the alternator, which happens when you drive. If you spend long periods of time not driving your car, consider using a battery maintainer to keep yours charged.
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Advice and How-To's
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- Are Car Batteries Universal?
- Lead Acid vs. Lithium-Ion Jump Starters
- How To Test a Car Battery With a Multimeter
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