What Does the Alternator Warning Light (Battery Warning Light) Mean?

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The alternator on your vehicle uses the rotational power of the engine to generate electricity and keep the car running. The alternator needs to maintain a certain voltage in order to keep the battery at sufficient charge while driving. As the alternator ages, it won’t be able to maintain a constant voltage and any fluctuations will be detected by the car’s computer.

What the alternator warning light means

When you start the engine, the car will check to make sure the alternator is outputting the correct voltage. This warning light will shut off after a few seconds if the computer has determined that the alternator is functional. When the light stays on, it indicates that the computer has detected an issue with the charging system.

If this light illuminates, try to use only necessary accessories like windshield wipers or headlights so as to avoid excessively draining out the battery. An alternator that is on its way out may cause this warning light to flash when there is a high demand on the battery. You can always save yourself a lot of trouble by paying attention to warning signs like this and trying to conserve your car’s battery.

What to do when the alternator warning light is on

As mentioned before, if this light is on, it means that your engine cannot produce enough power to keep itself running. Turning off all non essential accessories will help increase the distance you will be able to travel with a poorly charged battery. Keep in mind that issues with the battery can also cause the light to come on so if the battery is old, it should be tested as well.

It is better that you have a certified technician inspect and test your charging system to diagnose the problem in order to minimize any chance of permanent damage to your car.

Is it safe to drive with the alternator warning light on?

When this light is illuminated, your car is still somewhat safe to drive as you will have enough battery power to run the engine. However, it is still dangerous to continue driving for long distances or at high speeds as the battery will run out of juice and the car will be harder to stop without the assistance of the engine. If you are on the freeway and this light comes on, you should pull off the freeway and move to lower speed areas as soon as possible.

As always, our certified technicians are available to come to you to help you diagnose any issues with your car’s battery.


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Jason

31 years of experience
148 reviews
Jason
31 years of experience
Land Rover Range Rover Sport - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Surprise, Arizona
Needed new brake pads on my Land Rover-and booked through “your mechanic”- this was my second time using this service and I have to say- these guys are awesome- Today, Jason came out to my work place- and completed the work quickly. Thank you!!
Honda Accord - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Phoenix, Arizona
Jason was on time, self motivated, well educated in his craft, and very helpful. I am fully sold on your method of using the home service. Jason helped by creating a safer ride for my wife, saving me time, and saving money for my family. I will be a client forever. Dennis Laycock

Lee

18 years of experience
105 reviews
Lee
18 years of experience
Toyota Camry - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Richmond, Virginia
Lee was professional and knowledgeable. The job did not take long he was a little late but like I said professional because he let know that he was running late. LEE IS AWESOME!!!!!!

Willie

23 years of experience
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Willie
23 years of experience
Jeep Compass - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - North Hollywood, California
I made an appointment to have my brake rotors/disc replaced. On the day I scheduled my car services- it ended up raining. Willie checked in, moved my appointment, and continued to communicate through out the day until he was able to come work on my car. He took great car to make the repairs ANNNDDD SAVED ME MONEY by only doing what was necessary (only one of the rotors needed replacing). A blessing.

Honorio

18 years of experience
782 reviews
Honorio
18 years of experience
Saturn Vue - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Sunnyvale, California
This was our second appointment to service our Honda and Saturn with Honorio and we will continue to do so in the future. We highly recommend Honorio.

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