CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Maybe an alternator?

My 2011 outback has been doing some odd things. It has been losing power starting from a stop (manual transmission) and sometimes idling dangerously close to stalling when coming to a stop. The lights have seemed a bit dim and every now and then it throws just about every warning on the dashboard (parking brake, traction control, check engine, cruise control flashing.) The battery is only a few months old, and I replaced the spark plugs a month ago thinking it might be a misfire causing the issue, but to no avail. Could it be the alternator? Am I barking up the wrong tree?

Those are the symptoms of a bad alternator.

But the charging system should be tested to make sure.

Tester

Thanks! Does that just consist of throwing a multimeter on the battery and seeing if I’m within range, or is there something else I should be doing?

If you are in the US most Auto Zone stores will check the battery and alternator for free .

Yep.

Start the engine and connect a multimeter between the battery posts, and the meter should read 13.3 - 14.5 volts DC.

Tester

Awesome, thank you!