Question about Saturn L-Series
How to check if timing belt is bad or alternator bad what's the difference
The timing belt is internal to the engine. It is routinely replaced according to the mileage of your vehicle. It is a fairly significant job but if you don't do it it can break and your engine stops. You did not give year make model and engine size so I can't really tell you if you have a zero tolerance motor or not, but if you do you risk bending the valves if the timing belt breaks. Some models have chains and they don't need servicing unless the guides wear out or at real high miles the chain can stretch. (Depending on model usual change mileage is 90-100K)
The alternator is external and driven by the motor with a serpentine belt that runs your power steering, A/C and some models pollution pumps. The alternator is what charges your battery. Most chain parts stores like Napa, AutoZone and Advance will do a free alternator check. Your alternator should put out at least 13-14.5 volts to charge your battery. When the alternator goes bad the car will stop running and you will not be able to start without a jump. After it starts if it cuts off again, the alternator is probably the problem because it can run with out battery power but not without alternator. The car can run for a while with just the battery if it is charged enough, but it will eventually run out of battery power and shut down. There should be a light or gauge that comes on when the battery or alternator is bad.
Posted on Mar 17, 2014
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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