What Should You Do When Car Battery Light On

As a car owner, you need to acquaint yourself with the various lights on your car’s dashboard and their different messages. Some lights car turn on and stay for days, sometimes for weeks before the actual fault the light was projecting begins to manifest.

One of the experiences you shouldn’t take lightly is when you find your car battery light on. Unlike some other light signals whose faults may take a while before their impacts are felt, once your car’s battery light on dash is on, within a few minutes, the real problem will unfold by stalling your car’s engine or battery not charging. Sometimes, this situation could leave you stranding until you get help.

It is essential to understand your car’s battery light’s message and how to fix the issue. The following sections will unveil what it means for your car’s battery light to be on and how to resolve the problem when you experience it.

What Does It Mean When Car Battery Light Is On?

Have you ever experienced a sudden breakdown that was later traceable to a battery fault while driving? Have you experienced any difficulty starting your car at any time after stalling?

It is most likely that you could have averted those frustrating experiences only if you paid attention to the battery warning light, which was on all through the period, or better still, if you understood what it meant before the actual problem caused your car’s engine to stop and eventually left you stranded.

Whenever your car’s battery light is on and remains that way, it is a sign alerting you that your vehicle is presently experiencing an issue with the following.

battery light on but car runs fine

  • A corroded or loose battery cable
  • A fault with the car’s wiring that links up with the charging system
  • Damaged cells or plates within the battery
  • An alternator or voltage regulator problem

The battery light is simply a sign that there’s a malfunction with your car’s battery charging operation. That is, your car is missing out on enough battery power (voltage) required to ensure the proper functioning of its components. Sometimes, you may find your battery light on when the car is off. If you ever experience either of these problems, you don’t have to panic. Follow the solution provided for you in the subsequent paragraphs.

How to Fix Car Battery Light On

Firstly, since you understand that once your car’s battery light is on, your car’s engine may go off in the next few minutes because the battery isn’t charging anymore, quickly turn off all electrical components in your vehicle, such as the radio, the HVAC system, disable power window, unplug your phone from the charger in your car, etc.

This measure is to ensure that you have enough battery power to enable you to drive to a mechanic’s shop, home, or to a public place to fix the issue (in case the location is lonely).

You must ensure that you do not turn off the engine until you get to an ideal place where you can comfortably rectify the problem; because it takes a lot of voltage to get your car’s engine started.

Then, immediately you arrive at a safe place to diagnose the problem and fix it, do the following.

Check the battery

Observe the battery and check for any form of corrosion or damage on the battery’s terminal. If there is any corrosion, find a means of cleaning the corrosion; then check to ensure that the clamps are correctly secure on the battery’s terminal.

Observe the alternator

Check your vehicle’s alternator to ascertain any loose connections or missing components that link up with it. If you find a loose connection, ensure that you properly tighten them.

Observe the fuse

The fuses might not cause any direct issues with your vehicle’s battery charging operation. However, there could be a blown fuse somewhere linking the battery and the alternator. This problem can turn on the battery light in the car. Thereafter, you may also want to check for a bad serpentine belt and change it, if any.

Test the car’s battery.

After observing your car’s battery and other linking components to ascertain whether there are loose connections and other faults that could be the reason why the battery light is on; then, the next thing is to test the battery by starting your car’s engine to see whether the light will turn on again. If it doesn’t, it means you have rectified the challenge, but if it turns on again, you likely have an issue with your car’s alternator.

Contact a mechanic and have it fixed. However, note that sometimes you may find your battery light on but the car runs fine.

Is it safe to drive my car with the battery light on?

It is unsafe and not ideal for you to drive your car when the battery light on the dashboard is on. The battery light is a safety light that shows when there is a fault with your car’s battery or any linked components.

Once you notice that your car’s battery light is on, it is required of you to find out the cause immediately and rectify it. Otherwise, your vehicle may lose out on battery charge within a moment, making it difficult to start your car’s engine after that time.

If you are not careful enough, this fault can leave you stranded in a place where you may not be able to get quick help from anyone. If you find your battery light on and off repeatedly, instead of risking being stranded when you least expect, why not take out time to find out what could be responsible for your car’s battery light turning on and fix it?

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

How long can you drive with the battery light on?

If you are asking how long can you drive with the battery light on, here’s a suitable response for you. You could manage to drive your car with the battery light on for an average of 15 minutes or thereabout. The battery light is a sign that either the battery or any of the components that link up with it is faulty. Hence, the car is likely to stall after driving for a while.

It is better to park your car and check to find out what could be wrong or take the vehicle to a professional auto mechanic to check out the problem and fix any fault discovered as being responsible for the battery light turning on.

What do you do when the battery light comes on?

When you find your car’s battery light on while driving, turn off every electrical component of your vehicle immediately, except the headlights. It enables you to conserve the level of charge that is left in the battery.

After that, proceed to inspect the car’s battery to see whether there are any loose connections or any corroded part of the battery that may be responsible. If any, clean the corrosion and tighten the connections. Then, check the alternator to see whether there are any defects on the connections to fix them.

You can also check whether there is a faulty or blown fuse that may be the reason for a termination in the flow of electricity between the battery and the alternator. If this is the problem, you should change the blown fuse. After that, run a quick test on the battery by starting your car. If it starts, congratulations, you’ve fixed the issue. But, if it doesn’t, you may have a bad battery. You have to consult an auto mechanic to do a proper check.

How can you tell if it’s the battery or the alternator?

It is simple to differentiate the faults linked with a car’s battery and those connected with the alternator. If your car’s engine starts and dies down immediately, the issue is with the alternator, probably because of its inability to keep the battery charged.

In contrast, if your car always requires a jump start to turn the engine on and it usually won’t start on its own without a jump-start, you likely have a dead battery that needs to be replaced. Therefore, you could find your car’s battery light on but the alternator is charging probably because your car’s battery won’t hold a charge.

Can a bad fuse cause the battery light to come on?

Yes, it can. If the safety fuse breaks, the electricity supply from the alternator to the battery and vice versa will be altered. The termination of the power supply between these two components will automatically send a signal that causes the battery light to turn on immediately.

It would be best to check to see if there is a blown fuse in the process of ascertaining the reason why your car’s battery light is on. If this is the case, kindly replace the blown fuse immediately.

Final Words

When you see your car battery light on, as part of your safety measures, you need to take action immediately to find out the cause of the problem. Once the problem is discovered, ensure to fix it immediately without wasting time. It is easier and cheaper to solve a problem at the initial stage.

If you find it difficult to ascertain the fault that could be responsible for the reason why you find your car battery indicator red, contact an expert mechanic to do a proper check and unravel what could be wrong with your car’s battery or any of the related components.

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Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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