What Causes a Slow Cranking on Your Car

Slow cranking, which sounds like a slow-motion winding noise. Slow cranking is usually due to a weak and almost dead battery. Generally it is followed rapid clicking. A weak battery will usually have enough juice to honk your horn, raise your window, and turn on your radio, but it takes a lot of energy to start your engine.

A weak battery can be the result of quite a few different problems. First of all, your battery can become weak or dead as a result of non-charging. It is the job of the alternator to replenish the battery with electricity. If the alternator stops functioning properly, the battery will go dead. An indicator light should illuminate if the alternator stops doing its job. If your car is equipped with a gauge, the needle in the gauge will go into the discharge area. The gauge should indicate about 14.2 volts when charging properly.

If the indicator light, which would read “battery” or “alternator,” illuminates or your gauge needle goes south, the first thing to check is your alternator or serpentine belt. This belt drives (spins) the alternator. If it should break or become loose, the alternator will stop recharging the battery. With the engine off, test the tension of the alternator belt. It should not have any slack in it. If it does, have it tightened. Some serpentine belts (appropriately named because they snake through a maze of pulleys) are self-adjusting through a spring-loaded tensioner. If the tensioner goes bad, the belt will have slack and the alternator, among other accessories, will not function properly.

A weak battery is due to either old age (usually after three years), cold temperatures, frequent starts, a “short” or “drain” (a condition that drains the battery even when the car is off), a dome light or other light left on after the engine was shut off, or overcharging (when the alternator’s regulator allows too much current into the battery, which overcharges and swells the battery by boiling it dry).

A weak battery can be charged up on a battery charger, but if it became weak on its own it would be wise to replace it. For now, to get the car started, give it a boost. Slow cranking can also be due to a faulty starter. This condition is known as starter drag, and it occurs when the starter motor components wear or burn out.

Related posts:

  1. How to Replace the Serpentine Belt on Many General Motors Products
  2. How to Troubleshoot a Car That Won’t Start
  3. How to Install a Ford 302 Alternator
  4. How to Install an Alternator on a Ford Tempo
  5. How to Replace a Starter – Changing Starter Guide

Filed Under: Car Tuning


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