I want to start by congratulating the car manufactures of today especially Chrysler! For how much we use and abuse our cars and trucks, they continue to keep on running considering the low or no maintenance we perform on our vehicles. This is strictly for the customer convenience. When your car or truck is in at the Chrysler Dealership for something simple, don't be afraid to spend money on recommended maintenance. Most of the recommended things that the technician or service writer or service manager present to you, are recommended by the Chrysler manufacture anyway. Why wait until your car breaks down? Get it taken care of right away while your car in in the shop!

Lets take a Dodge Neon for example that cranks over very slow. The customer does not want to spend money on a battery or diagnose his slow cranking problem. Just because his Neon starts, does not mean the battery is good! Batteries can test "marginal", "strongly rec" or even "bad" and still start your vehicle. In this case, his engine is turning over slower, but because it still starts the owner of the Neon chooses to ignore it and move on with his day. This can go on for several months until the diode inside the alternator overheats and stops charging. Now the customer needs to replace the alternator along with the battery.

Did you know that you can test a battery with a voltmeter? If your Neon is not starting, first thing to do is check the battery. A fully charged battery must have enough cranking capacity to provide the starter motor and ignition system with enough power to start the engine over a broad range of ambient temperatures. Even if its charged, it could still be bad causing a no crank condition! You can bring you Dodge neon in to a battery store or a repair shop and have them load test your battery for you. A battery load test will verify the actual cranking capability of the battery (this is the best test). Or, you can take a voltmeter, put it on the battery and crank the engine over. (Be sure the battery has a full charge on it.) If the volts drop below 9.6, the battery is bad and needs to be replaced! Just be sure all cable connections are clean and tight. Not only at the battery, but on the starter, engine and frame! Positive side as well as the negative side. Checking power is important as checking a ground. Both are needed for the electrical starter motor to turn over. Because there is no separate ground wire coming of the starter, it uses the engine block as a ground. The battery voltage is looking to get back to the battery to make a complete circuit. This is why the engine grounds back to the battery and frame must be clean and tight!

Anytime you have a mysterious hard to diagnose electrical issue on your Dodge Neon, start by checking the basics. Get your battery and alternator checked out first before moving on. It may save you a lot of time and money. We have experienced technicians specifically trained on Chrysler products like yours to listen for potential problems and easy self tests for you to do to pinpoint those hard to diagnose electrical problems. Ask a question at www.automotiveexpertsonline.com and one of our experienced Chrysler technicians will walk you through some simple tests that could cost you big bucks at a shop or at the Dodge dealership to do. This way you can fix your car and learn all at the same time! It will be fun! Who knows, maybe it will keep you and your Neon from getting stranded sometime in the future!

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Dodge Neon Starting and Charging
By Derrick O'Gorman

Batteries on average last about 5 years. This can change depending on the conditions that the battery is exposed to. High rates of charging and discharging will shorten the life of the battery very quickly. This is not just in Neons, but in every car with a 12 volt battery. Extreme hot and cold temperatures will have a serious effect on a batteries performance as well. At about 20 degrees F the battery will loose about 50% of its charge! If your battery already only tests "marginal" chances are you wont be able to turn the engine over fast enough to fire up in those cold winter months. Drive-ability problems, brake lights and even check engine lights coming on and staying on have been traced back to the battery and alternator not working properly in Neons as well!
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