How to react when your battery light comes on
Updated 6 Sep 2021
The dashboard of your vehicle is the major information display for the driver. As well as showing the speed, revolutions per minute, fuel and temperature gauges, there are also many warning lights that appear when the vehicle detects a problem.
One of these is the battery light, which illuminates when there is a major issue with the charging system.
If this light comes on while you are driving, it is best to pull over somewhere safe and away from traffic, and switch the car off.
If you continue to drive, you may only be running on battery power, which will run out quickly, and may leave you stranded in the middle of traffic and cause an accident!
If there is nowhere to pull over, switch off all electronic devices (radio, headlights - if it is not dark, air conditioning, heater, etc), and remove all devices that may be connected to the vehicle, as this will put excess stress on the system and severely reduce the range on your battery.
The most common reason the battery light will come on, will be the alternator.
The light will indicate that the alternator is no longer providing charge to the battery or any of the electrical systems in the vehicle.
This could be due to the regulator inside the alternator failing, or the serpentine belt that drives the alternator may have dislodged or come off completely.
It can also come on if your battery has failed and is not allowing the alternator to provide charge.
Another symptom of this would be losing power steering, and the possibility of the vehicle overheating if the water pump is driven off the same belt.
Keep an eye on the temperature gauge, and pull over when safe, if the gauge starts creeping up.
Most issues that cause the battery light to come on will require a professional to diagnose and carry out the repairs, as there are many dangers involved with the charging and electrical system, that, without taking the proper precautions, can lead to injury or death.
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Image credit: charging battery Automotive Rhythms
Finding a passion for cars from a young age, Joel carried out work experience as a mechanic whilst at school before starting an apprenticeship after finishing year 12.
After almost 10 years on the tools and in customer service, he moved into the IT realm as a Data Analyst and In-House mechanic at AutoGuru.