My battery light is on – what does that mean?

The battery light indicates a battery charging problem. Here’s an interesting statistic: Only 30 percent of car batteries make it to 48 months. And the life expectancy varies by where you live. It ranges from 51 months in extremely cold areas to just 30 months in extremely hot climates.

Why is that? It turns out that it’s our modern cars with all their electric accessories that are to blame. Things like, GPS, headlights, heater, stereo and entertainment computers are keeping vehicle batteries from maintaining a full charge. The longer a battery goes with a low charge, the sooner it’ll die.

The job of an alternator is to recharge the battery. The problem comes when the car’s demand for electricity is high and we are driving in stop and go conditions or short trips – the alternator just can’t keep up. The result is shortened battery life, a faulty alternator belt or a bad alternator.

Symptoms

Lights – Dim lights or flickering lights

Lights on the dashboard – This varies by the model, but when the alternator starts to let go, it can light up a “Check Engine,” “ALT,” or a battery icon indicator.

Noises – The serpentine belt could have stretched with age and may not be spinning the alternator pulley effectively, leading to a lack of charge. This typically results in a squealing noise. On the other hand, the internal bearings can wear out, causing a growl or grinding noise.

Dead battery – Without a functioning alternator, the vehicle quickly uses up all of the battery’s capacity, leaving it drained.

Ray & Dana’s Inman Auto Care Can help

If you do find yourself with any of the symptoms above, then schedule an appointment with us today. We will take a look at your charging system and make sure you don’t get stranded.

  

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