I had to get a jump yesterday to start my truck (2000 Ford Explorer). I stopped by O'Reilly's but they couldn't find anything wrong. I was told to go to AutoZone to have the battery, alternator, and starter checked. I think it's the alternator. It didn't make a clicking noise when I went to start it and all my lights come on fine. Suggestions?

  • Did it start when you jumped it?
    – anonymous2
    Oct 18, 2016 at 15:34
  • What was Auto Zones view of battery, alternator and starter? Oct 18, 2016 at 15:46
  • Yes it started when I jumped it although it took a couple tries. I didn't get to Auto Zone ... I live in the sticks (it's about a 25 mile drive from my house).
    – S. Motto
    Oct 18, 2016 at 16:29
  • Have a quick look to make sure the alternator's belt is tight. With the truck off, pop the hood, and press down on the alternator belt. You shouldn't be able to move it with just your fingers.
    – tlhIngan
    Oct 18, 2016 at 17:02
  • In this case, jumping is the first move. You may want to have your vehicle checked for any code.
    – SeanGT
    Dec 11, 2020 at 3:59

2 Answers 2


If you have a multi-meter, get the truck started then take a voltage reading at the battery posts. You should get about 14 VDC with all your accessories off, about 13 VDC with all your accessories on (headlights, heater fan on max, rear defrost if you have one). If your voltage reading is lower than that, your alternator isn't charging your battery.

If your voltage readings are fine, turn the truck off and immediately take a voltage reading of the battery. It should be above 12.4-12.6 VDC, if it's lower, your battery isn't holding a charge.

  • Sounds easy enough ... If I had a multi-meter. LOL
    – S. Motto
    Oct 18, 2016 at 16:42
  • Single chick here with no tools. Are multi-meters expensive? I truly hope it's just the battery, that I can afford!!
    – S. Motto
    Oct 18, 2016 at 16:43
  • @S.Motto Mulitmeters are $15 at WalMart :) It's a rudimentary version of the test AutroZone would do. Their's is more comprehensive. If you need to drive into town for a multimeter, may as well drive to AutoZone instead and get the better test. :)
    – tlhIngan
    Oct 18, 2016 at 16:45
  • 1
    thank you for your advise, I appreciate it. My son works at AutoZone (about 6 hours away, lol) and he advised me to do the same. I'm just nervous because it's about 25 miles from my house. I guess I can drive with two feet there and have someone follow me with jumper cables just in case. :)
    – S. Motto
    Oct 18, 2016 at 16:50

The first thing to do is check if all battery connections are clean and tight. A connection that is intermittent can be the problem. Rarely a cable can be corroded inside the plastic cover and not making good contact. ( My 98 GMC died a few times on the interstate ,caused by a bad battery connection.)

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