HELP! Car won’t start. New alternator and battery

I had the alternator replaced in my 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo about 3 months ago. The car was running great since then until it got cold. I went out to my car after work and I just heard a “click” but no start. The lights, dashboard, clock, and radio all came on but the engine didn’t. The people who were there said the cold can mess with a battery and it needed a jump, they jumped it and it worked fine.

The next morning, the same thing happened. The battery is right at 3 years old, so we jumped it and drove it in to get a new battery. The next day, the check engine light came on for oxygen sensors. The car started fine for the next 4 days and didn’t appear to have any problems other than the light (that I was planning on having fixed with the next paycheck). Then, I went out after work again… and same thing: lights, radio, dashboard, just a click but no engine turnover. I was told it had to the the new alternator that went bad.

I work an hour away from where I live so I called my sisters boyfriend and asked if he could replace the alternator for me when I got back to Dallas. We went and got the new one. $400 later, and at 11pm, the new alternator was in, and the car started fine. We let it run for about 5 minutes and then I went to bed.

The next morning, the same thing happened. Lights, radio, dashboard, and a click. I called him and he said that I didn’t leave the car on long enough last night to charge the battery and that we really should have put some drive time in to get it where it needed to be, and that the drive to work should charge it right up. We jumped it, and it drove perfectly (no warning lights or stalling or anything like that).

When I went to leave for lunch, it happened AGAIN. Lights, dashboard and radio come on and just a little click.

I had to have it jumped to leave work, and drove it straight to Autozone. There were a bunch of people there who had opinions… they landed on it being the starter. The battery was tested at 100%, so the new alternator is working and the new battery is holding a charge. There wasn’t a starter in stock there so they ended up jumping my car so I could drive it home.

Could this be the starter or something more serious? I don’t want to keep playing the guessing game and dumping tons of money chasing a problem… but I also need a car that starts. PLEASE HELP!

Good battery? Good alternator? But you HAVE to jump it?why do you need a jump with a good battery? AZ said battery was 100%
They checked that alt is putting out 13+ volts at idle?

Once you have driven to work/home and shut the car off, if you try to start it right away, will it start while everything is still warm?

How cold ?
If your battery connections are clean and tight, I can see an 8 year old starter failing in below freezing temps.

… that is why I’m here… I don’t know WHY. I just know it works, and that’s why I’m asking for help to figure it out.

It started right after I turned it off when they were testing the battery the first time, and again when I got gas. So, if you turn it off and back on again in a fairly short period of time it has seemed to be working… but I have only tried that those two times. Every other time I’ve gotten it to start I just drive it straight to where I’m going and then turn it off.

It hit right around 30ish where I was the first time I had these problems about a week ago. Got the new battery, and it’s been in the 60s then when it was in the 40s when I was trying to start it, it did the clicking thing again.

The car dies, but the starter WILL start the car with a jump. The starter is OK. You replaced an alternator needlessly, in my opinion. I don’t know who is doing this work for you but they don’t know what they are doing an don’t know how to test for the problem to confirm what needs fixing.

I suspect you have a parasitic drain on the battery. That means there is an electrical part that is staying on and drawing juice from you battery even if the car is off. Take the car to a real mechanic that knows what a “parasitic draw test” IS and can perform one on your car.

I would suspect an aftermarket radio or amps, a non-factory alarm or remote starter before anything else. Just pulling the the fuse from any of these things and letting it sit overnight will tell if that is the part causing the problem.

And then there is the dreaded TIPM - a common Chrysler Jeep problem. A test should identify the issue. It will cost some money to find the problem and more to fix the problem.

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Cars not dying, it’s when they come back out after a couple hours it won’t crank, but only when the air temp is cold.

Above 50 degrees no jump needed, below 50 degrees jump needed.

v6 or v8 motor?

It is a V6 motor.

I think you are on to something. It is 61 degrees right now. And just for kicks I decided to try and start the car. It started up perfectly as if nothing was wrong. I turned it off and tried it again. Started right up. So does this confirm the starter is bad and just in colder weather it can’t keep up?

Cold weather doesn’t directly affect the starter but battery power is directly related to temperature. Batteries are rated in Cold Cranking Amps. The colder it gets the less power they have and to compound that issue when an engine is cold it is more difficult to crank.

What brand of battery do you have now? What is the Cold Cranking Amperage (CCA) on that battery’s label?

You may have a marginally powerful battery due to being sold a low price minimum CCA model or the battery could have spent months on the shelf deteriorating or you could have a parasitic discharge… Like so many who post here you need a ‘seasoned’ mechanic who will take the time to determine the cause of your problem before selling you something.If your battery is below 450CCA that would seem the most likely cause for your trouble.

Worn starter solenoid contacts sometimes won’t make contact when cold but will operate during the rest of the day.

The next time you here only a click, try rotating the ignition to the start position several times until the starter begins to operate. I have had many Chrysler products towed in with inoperative starters and I can always get the vehicle started with this method to be able to drive the vehicle into the shop.

Before doing anything else, make sure the battery connections are clean and tight. That might solve the problem. If it doesn’t …

Use a battery charger to fully charge the battery. It has to be fully charged and disconnected from the battery charger 24 hours before doing the rest of this test. Use a DVM to measure the voltage at the battery posts (and connectors) before the first start of the day. It should be about 12.6 volts. Next start the engine and make the same measurement with the engine idling. It should measure 13.5-15.5 volts.

If both of those tests pass ok, next test is to measure the voltage at the two starter motor terminals with the key in “start”, measuring between the terminal and the starter case. Both should measure at least 10.5 volts. If they both do and it doesn’t crank, replace the starter motor. If one or both is below 10.5 volts, use the wiring diagrams to work from the starter toward the battery to find out why.

@George_San_Jose1 has given great advise to achieve that goal. It’s called diagnosing before repairing.

Perfect, wonderful insight. Obviously, if I had the money to go to a shop I would have already done that. Pepboys did the test on the original alternator and battery and THEY DID DIAGNOSE them both as bad. So, to all of you who keep saying “go to an expert” or “go to a shop”… you aren’t helpful and it’s just a waste of your time to write it and a waste of my time to read it. I came here for advice on the issue, to see if anyone had insight or a similar experience, THAT is what forums like this are for… not so every answer can be “go to a shop”.

Take it to a real mechanic. Autozone and pep boys people aren’t mechanics. They’re high school dropouts. Don’t call people stupid because you disagree. If you took it to a shop, qualified people would be able to actually see what is going on. There is only so much that strangers on the internet will do for free.

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There are many times that “take it to a shop” is a perfectly good response on a forum. Many times it is overwhelmingly obvious by reading someones text that they have not the technical skills to do anything on their own, or are attempting repairs that effect the safety of them or others. You may have been misread by some, (maybe not). But I don’t know any of the regular responders on this forum as stupid.


If your standard for a good shop is Pep Boys, you are sadly mistaken.


In the world of automobile repair a conveniently located and grandly decorated building with eye catching signs proclaiming quick service and “Women’s Day” specials is likely the worst place to go and for sure parts stores are WAAAAY down on the list of likely sources reliable automobile diagnostics.

And FWIW I am a retired crusty old mechanic with many years of successfully repairing “car won’t start” complaints on my first try. I feel sure that there are a few crusty old mechanics in your area if you just look around. Their shops are often off the highly trafficked streets and have easily ignored signs. Good luck finding one.


Can you or friend replace starter? Or check connections at starter location?