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What Should You Do if Your Car Won’t Start With a New Battery?

  • Car Care Tips
  • Sara Sam
  • 5 minutes

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Replacing your car battery is a routine ritual necessary to check your car’s health. Battery replacement is a DIY process that will take less than 20 minutes. However, it is a common experience when your car won’t start even with a new battery. This can be a disappointing experience. So, what should you do if your car won’t start with a new battery? What are the possible causes, and how do we resolve them?  

car won't start with a new battery

Why doesn’t the car start with a new battery? 

The battery is the major power source of a car. The chemical components needed to produce the chemical reaction that generates electrical energy are provided by it. Therefore, a defective battery most likely has a problem with one of its parts. 

The following are the possible causes that can lead to this scenario. 

  • Improper installation 
  • Corroded connector 
  • Defect with the starter 
  • Seized engine 
  • Alternator malfunction 
  • Issues with ECM  
  • Faulty ignition switch 
  • Dysfunctional fuel filter and lines 

Improper Installation 

Battery replacement is a relatively simple task that, in most cases, doesn’t need assistance. However, one reason for your car to choke even after replacing your car battery could be improper installation. According to its design, a car battery channels the battery’s energy in a single direction. Negative to negative, positive to positive. As a result, any reversal of this could severely damage the car’s battery or electrical system. 

Corroded Connector 

The battery acid regularly releases hydrogen gases. Consequently, this leads to the corrosion of the terminal posts and connectors. In other words, excess corrosion can prevent the car from starting even if the battery is new.  

Defect with the Starter 

If you hear a growling sound even after you replace the battery, the issue will not be with the battery but with the starter. Since the starter transfers the energy from the battery to start the engine, a fault in the starter can make your car stall.  

Seized Engine 

It could be yet another case of misdiagnosis of a stalled car. In short, the battery might not be the cause of the problem here, instead the engine. Meanwhile, one should look out for symptoms like a burning smell, smoking, knocking, or tapping sounds.  

Alternator Malfunction 

Alternators in a car are used to charge the car battery as well as to power the electric system of the car. In addition, they make sure the car battery doesn’t run out of power while running.  

Issues with ECM 

This might not be an issue with the new models of cars. However, the control modules of certain cars can lose their settings when you try to adjust the battery cables. 

Faulty Ignition Switch 

If the key doesn’t turn or the dashboard flickers even after changing the battery, the problem could be with the ignition switch. 

Dysfunctional Fuel Filter and Lines 

Under colder temperatures, there are chances for the fuel lines to freeze. As a result, the fuel freezes in the line without reaching the engine. In addition, a clogged filter will also prevent fuel from reaching the engine, consequently preventing the engine from starting. 

How do I fix the car that won’t start with a new battery? 

Follow these steps if your car won’t start even with a new battery.  

  • Inspect the battery  
  • Check the alternator 
  • Examine the starter 
  • Install a new ignition switch 
  • Replace the starter 
  • Clean the fuel filter 
  • Check the fuel lines 
  • Jumpstart the car 
  • Seek professional help 

What are the signs of a bad alternator? 

If your alternator isn’t charging, then even if your battery is new, the car won’t start. Therefore, an alternator in the right condition is essential to smooth driving. However, alternator failure is a common malfunction, but the lifespan of the alternator is unpredictable. Therefore, one must always look out for these symptoms to keep the alternator’s health under check. 

  • Extremely dim or bright headlights 
  • Lethargic rolling of power windows 
  • Malfunctioning of radio or other electrical additions 
  • Growling when AC is switched on and the car is running 
  • Burning smell 

One can unplug the positive connection when the car is on to test the alternator. A car with a faulty alternator will stop immediately. The cost of replacing an alternator could range between $450 and $700. Most of this cost is for the parts, which range from $400 to $550, with labor costing an additional $50 to $150. 

What is the Alternator Test? 

Since the alternator replacement is expensive, it is important not to jump to conclusions before confirming the fault with the alternator. This can be easily done through an alternator test.  

  • Jumpstart the car. 
  • Set the multimeter to 20 volts. 
  • Turn on the car. 
  • Connect the red probe of the multimeter to the positive terminal and the black to the negative terminal. 
  • The appropriate reading of the multimeter must be between 14.2-14.7 volts.  
  • If the multimeter reads below 14.2 volts, you have a weak alternator requiring a new one.  

However, this is a very common issue most car owners face after a successful replacement of their car’s battery. The underlying issues need to be addressed accordingly after careful inspection. This will ensure a stress free ride after battery replacement. 

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