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Battery Light Is On: What Does It Mean? What to Do?

Each vehicle comes with a battery light on the dashboard. This light works as a warning in case the battery has a problem.

The battery is important for the vehicle’s operation.

It runs anything electrical such as the ignition system, the headlights, the radio, and the control computer of the engine, among others. 

But as vital a battery is, it at times stops working. And there are many reasons for that. It could be a damaged alternator, corroded wires, fuses, or the battery itself. 

In such a case, the battery light will then go on. 

Unfortunately, not many car owners know what battery light is for. 

Also, they don’t know what it means whenever it goes on. And they barely know what action to take in such a scenario.

What Is Battery Light?

The light illuminates in case there is a problem in the recharging system.

The battery light on the dashboard works as a warning in case the battery has a problem
Credit: flickr.com

To start off, the battery light of a car indicates a malfunction in the charging system.

Just as any other battery, a vehicle’s 12V battery can die if not recharged. Luckily, a vehicle comes with its own recharging system. 

In this case, a voltage regulator and an alternator always recharge a car battery. Further, the two delivers electricity to the car whenever the engine is operating.

Every vehicle depends on the battery. That is why each comes with a battery light. The light illuminates in case there is a problem in the recharging system.

Why Did My Car Battery Light Come On?

If your car battery lamp switches on while driving, that indicates that the charging system has stopped working. However, the fault might come from something else besides the battery.

Battery light on can be caused by a rusted or loose battery cable or a wire that connects items in the charging system. 

Alternatively, a problem with a voltage regulator or alternator can make the battery light to go on.

The alternator sucks power from a car’s battery. So, in case the accessory belt running the alternator is broken or loose, then the alternator will not work. 

And all you’ll have is a dead car battery since the faulty alternator will not recharge the battery.

Besides the alternator, the light can come on in case the battery itself has issues. These problems include damaged cells, leaking electrolyte, bad wiring or rusted cable terminals. 

What To Do When The Battery Light Is On?

When the battery light illuminates, do not panic at all. Instead, continue driving as you normally do. This means you should not break any road rule or regulation

To know why your car battery comes on, you should know how to react in such a situation.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Now that you know why your car battery comes on, you should know how to react in such a situation.

These tips will help you to at least get home safely. Hopefully, you always carry your car’s manual – because you’ll need it in this situation.

For one, when the battery light illuminates, do not panic at all. Instead, continue driving as you normally do. This means you should not break any road rule or regulation.

Another thing to do is to switch off anything that sucks power from the battery. This includes the radio, air conditioning, and any unnecessary light. If driving at night, just leave the headlights on. 

If driving on the highway, ensure you pull off the road immediately. Drive your car home. If you think you can’t make it home, and then drive to a secure location. 

Later, you can drive to a local repair garage. The experts here will check your vehicle to see the cause of the problem.

On the same note, ensure you do not switch off the engine. Letting the car stay idle takes less energy than restarting it.

The other thing is to read your car manual. Check the instructions on what to do when the battery light comes on.

Battery Light Came On While Driving And Car Died: Why?

If your battery light goes on, you can at least make to drive to a service facility or at home. As long as there is some juice left in the car battery, then your vehicle will continue running. 

However, if your alternator is bad or the charging system is faulty, unfortunately, your car will die because the engine cannot run with a drained battery.

And in case you switch off the car engine, then, you cannot restart it. This is because the battery barely has enough charge to power the starter motor. 

Is It Safe To Drive A Car With The Battery Light On?

Though you can drive with a battery light on, the question here is whether it is indeed safe to do so.

The battery light comes on to indicate a serious issue that needs an urgent diagnosis. Therefore, driving with a battery light on is not really a great idea.

The issues making the light to come on might make your car lose power. Or worse of the car might not run as it is supposed to. 

What Does It Mean When The Battery Light Comes On And Off?

It indicates that the car battery has taken control over the running of the electronics in your car

When the battery light switches on and off, it means there is a problem with the alternator
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

There is a circuit that examines the voltage level produced by the alternator. In case the voltage is low, then the circuit will switch on the battery light.

On the same note, in case the light illuminates and stays like this while driving, then a damaged alternator belt is the cause.

When the battery light switches on and off, it means there is a problem with the alternator. It indicates that the car battery has taken control over the running of the electronics in your car.
If the output level – from the car alternator – drops to a really low level, the battery light will flicker. 

Battery Light On After Replacing Battery: Why

The problem is not only coming from the battery, but also come on even if you replace the battery.
Credit: flickr.com

I as aforementioned, there are many reasons why the battery light comes on. The battery is one of those reasons. 

So, if the problem is not coming from the battery, the light will still come on even if you replace the battery.

The battery light might illuminate if the alternator belt is loose. If so, have it tightened and see whether the light will disappear. If the problem still exists, let a mechanic test the alternator. 

Alternatively, if there is a damaged wire or poor connection somewhere then the battery voltage will drop. The best thing is to measure this voltage at the ECU or alternator itself. 

Check whether the battery connectors are in good shape, tight enough, and don’t have frayed wires. Otherwise, you can replace it to check if the results will change. 

The Bottom Line

When the battery light on the dashboard goes on, most people hardly know what it means or what to do. Worse of, some continue driving without knowing the damage they cause to the battery or car. 

Well, today is your lucky day as you’ve got all the answers to any question about battery lamp.

Bonus: Best Battery Tester: Top 10 Picks Review 2019

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Tim MillerFounderOBD Advisor

I knew incidentally what an OBD scanner was by searching on the Internet. Now I have over 10 years of experience in car repair and using OBD scanners. With what I know, I think I should share with everyone. That’s the reason I created this blog.

Web: https://www.obdadvisor.comEmail: [email protected]
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