Q: Battery light turned on, car started running weirdly and it essentially died. Was able to jumpstart briefly, but it died again

asked by on November 27, 2016

I was driving on the freeway and the battery light turned on. It had turned on briefly days before, but I hadn't seen it since. After about an hour of driving on the freeway, it started running really weird - like the acceleration was off. I pulled off the freeway and into a parking lot, turned the car off and it wouldn't turn back on (like a classic dead battery.) Someone was able to jumpstart my car minutes later and I was able to drive for like 5 more minutes until it started running weird again. At that point, the dashboard lights started acting up and flickering, the engine light turned on and off briefly, all the lights turned off, and I pulled over and turned the car off. I didn't try turning it on again. Do you think this is a battery or an alternator problem?

My car has 194000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

This is likely a charging system problem (i.e. alternator or voltage regulator). As you may know, the alternator is responsible for charging the battery while the engine runs by generating amperage and recharging the battery while the engine turns the alternator. The voltage regulator is a unit that regulates the charging of the battery by the alternator. When the alternator is working properly, it charges the battery as the runs maintaining a certain amperage. When the alternator is not working properly, this may cause it not to charge the battery resulting in a very quick discharge of the battery which will ultimately lead to the car shutting down and losing all power as you have experienced. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to take a look at your charging system.

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