I have a 2009 Malibu, yesterday I was heading back from school, then I started hearing a bizare sound like a whining sound, 2 minutes afterwards the engine stopped. When I got off to check under the hood there was a burning smell coming out,it wasn't clear where it came from. I jumped the battery a few times stil no response, when I turn the key to start there's a clicking sound I can hear the starter solenoid but doesn't turn. Checked all the fuses and relays all OK. I totally suspect the alternator. Any thoughts?

1 Answer 1


It sounds as though it is one or two things going on here. First of all, did you check the serpentine belt which drives the alternator? Is it still on there and looking ready to do its thing?

If that is still there, it could very well be the alternator itself. I've had alternators which have completely froze up. From your description, this could very well be the case. The engine might have still been running, driving the belt, but the belt might be burning on the pulley, which would give you the burning smell. You could pull it off and see if it was froze. If it isn't, I'd take it down to an AutoZone or Checker Auto or the like and have them check it for you.

It would usually take longer than 2 minutes to drain a battery, but your description of the starter clicking away would lead me to believe that the battery has been drained to the point it will not turn the engine over. If the alternator were seized, this would make a weak but otherwise viable battery unable to turn the engine over as well. If you put a multi-meter on the battery, it should have ~13.1vdc if it were fully charged. If it is below 12vdc, I'd take it in to have it tested. You could also throw a charger on it and see if it will hold the charge.

  • Hey Paulster2, I did jumped it with another car's battery, then another reliable booster but wouldn't start, I checked the strap and the alternator all fine. Anyways the smell came from the other side of the motor so it is not the belt or the alternator, more like the starter I believe. Can this car start with a defective alternator? if yes then it is definitely the starter, I think the solenoid stuck it while I was driving it down the highway causing it to burn and damage. Jan 31, 2015 at 16:01
  • @OmarKhoali ... Sounds like a plan. Jan 31, 2015 at 19:48

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