What To Do When Dashboard Battery Light Comes On


A car battery light on the dashboard can indicate a number of under-hood problems, from a bad battery to a bad alternator. But before you rip out the jumper cable or worry about possible repairs, take some time to determine why your dash battery light is on. It might be a quick fix!

What Does the Battery Light Mean?

Your battery light also called the dashboard battery indicator, is designed to let you know about an issue with your vehicle’s battery or charging system. It could indicate that your battery is damaged or worn out, or that the charging system is malfunctioning in some way.

First things first, if the battery light in your car comes on when you turn it on, you probably don’t need to worry. It’s completely normal for the battery light to illuminate when you first turn on your car. But then the light turns off after a few seconds, if that’s the case, don’t pay attention.

If you’ll notice that your battery light comes on and goes off again when accelerating because it knows that there isn’t enough power coming in from its source (the alternator). This issue can also be brought on by a loose connection or a damaged serpentine belt.

If the light stays on as you’re driving, though, pay attention. You’ll likely notice other signs of a weak battery charge, like a radio that won’t turn on, or power windows that are slow to come up.

car battery light on

Why Is the Battery Light on Car Illuminated?

An illuminated battery light can be caused by a number of issues, including:

  • A loose or corroded battery cable. If the battery connections are loose or corroded, it can prevent the battery from charging properly, which can cause the battery light to come on.
  • A problem with the alternator or voltage regulator. The alternator is responsible for charging the battery and providing power to the electrical components of the car. The voltage regulator is responsible for maintaining the voltage of the car battery and other electrical components. If one of them is not functioning properly, it can cause the battery light to come on.
  • A faulty battery: If the battery is damaged or has failed or it has damaged cells or plates inside the battery, it may not be able to hold a charge or provide enough power to the car.
  • Faulty wiring in the car’s electric charging system. There may be a problem with the charging system itself or Faulty wiring, which can cause the battery light to come on.

Regardless of what symptoms you’re experiencing, the battery light is telling you a simple truth: you have battery problems and your car isn’t getting enough power from the battery to function properly. That means it’s time to take action, starting with some simple maintenance.

How Can I Troubleshoot Battery Problems Myself?

If you’re comfortable working on your vehicle, you may be able to fix the problem without professional help – especially if it’s a minor issue like corrosion or loose clamps. So, put on protective gloves, consult your user manual, and then carefully follow the steps below to troubleshoot the battery yourself.

  • Check for corrosion. During these hot summer months – or in regions with warmer weather – some vehicles may experience corrosion on the battery terminals. To check for corrosion, carefully remove any covers from the terminals on top of your battery. If you see a white or greenish substance on or near the terminals, it is corrosion. While battery corrosion is common, it can interfere with the conduction of electricity from the battery to the rest of your car. Do not touch battery corrosion with bare hands as it may cause skin irritation. Instead, head over to our next troubleshooting tip.
  • Clean the battery terminals. Thankfully, it’s easy and inexpensive to clean your battery terminal and remove corrosion yourself. First, purchase a battery cleaning product from a local store or mix your own solution with baking soda and water. With the terminal covers removed, disconnect the battery cables, starting with the negative (black) cable first and the positive (red) cable last. Scrub the battery posts and wire ends with your solution until the corrosion is gone. Then reconnect your battery by connecting the positive (red) wire followed by the negative (black) wire.
  • Tighten the cable clamps. Sometimes a car battery light comes on because there’s a weak connection between your battery and the cables that connect to it. If they feel loose, consult your owner’s manual for any specific instructions. You can typically use a standard wrench or a socket wrench to tighten them.

What To Do When Your Car Battery Light Is Still On?

You have checked for and removed corrosion and tightened any loose battery cables. But your battery light is still on?! The culprit could be a mechanical problem, like an alternator or voltage regulator problem. Or it could be something systematic, like faulty wiring.

What’s next? so it’s time to bring your vehicle to your local mechanics or repair shop, after an in-depth visual inspection and voltage testing, your mechanics will present their findings and recommend options for service.


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