Bad battery or bad alternator?

My wife’s 2004 Hyundai Accent (14600 miles, still under warranty) sometimes fail to start at the first ignition. This happened a couple of times last Winter. I took it to a couple of autoparts stores to check the battery. The first one said the “battery is dying” and it is time to replace it (that was a couple of months ago). Last week I took it to a different autoparts store and they said, it is bad, but not necessary to replace it now. So, I went to a third store today and got it checked. Their report indicated thet everything was good, but the salesperson who checked it indicated that the current from the alternator is 1.9A when idle (1.2A under load). According to his that is not very good and he advised me to get the alternator checked by a mechanic.

Here are other stuff in the report:

Cranking voltage: 10.56V

Cranking AMPs: 219.1A

Time: 1.18s

What should I do?

Well a bad battery can place a lot of strain on the alternator. You may have had a bad battery and overworked the alternator. I would replace the battery if it has been tested at any time to be in poor condition. 4-6 years isn’t unusual for some batteries to die, though life expectancy can depend on your climate and how the vehicle is used. Some can last ten years. You’re mileage and age of the car would suggest lots of short trips and high stress conditions. Put a fresh battery in and if there’s any trouble have the dealer repair the electrics.

If it is still under warranty, take it to the dealer, and let them handle it. They should fix it for free. The only caviat is that the battery may not be covered. But, the alternator sure is.

I went to the dealer this morning and told them the story. They checked everything (in my absence) and told me that everything was good. According to the report I received, they have checked the “battery, alternator, starter, and parasitic draw”. Report says “all tests OK”. “No problem found at this time”. I am thinking of changing the battery some time before next Winter anyway.

BTW: They didn’t charge me for the test - although, according to the dealer, they could have charged me $29.99 for the check-up unless something was found wrong with the car.