Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car battery light is on

asked by on

I was driving and my car battery light turned on. It has never turned on before and I decided it'd probably be best to just drive back home (10 minutes of driving on it). When I got home I checked the battery and it didn't have much of that stuff caked on the battery which I brushed off. Even after I brushed it off the car battery light still came on when I turned the engine on. Car lights don't seem dim yet. I won't be driving on it until I figure out the problem. Was going to bring battery in to the local auto parts store to get it checked. Do you think it could be something with the electrical system possibly? And if possible about how much do you think it would cost for a fix and how long? Thanks

My car has 104000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

The battery light comes on to indicate that the charging voltage is low. It usually means there is a problem in the car’s charging system. if the battery is in good condition, the car can still run for a short time until the battery voltage begins to drop. You did the right thing by going straight home. The first thing you want to do is make sure your alternator belt is intact and tight. If the belt is gone, that may be the only problem that you have. Nevertheless,the next thing to do is to have the battery load tested . If you have never replaced the battery in your car, it’s probably about due for one. Replacing the battery probably won’t make the light go out. but having a good battery is necessary for testing the alternator. Once you are satisfied that there is a good battery in your car, weather it is the original or a new replacement, you can load test the alternator. You’ll probably find that it’s not performing as it should and needs to be replaced. The tests I’ve recommended require special equipment that I’m guessing you don’t have. By contacting Your Mechanic, you can have a technician come to your home with the right tools to check out your car and advise you as to what needs to be done.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Maintenance light on in car.

Depending on the noise you are hearing it may be from lack of maintenance or low on oil. The maintenance light may mean you have an issue with a component of you are due for service. My recommendation is to...

Q: The transmission is stuck on either 4x4 or on one gear.

Hello there, a few different faults can cause the vehicle to remain stuck in gear. Most commonly seen is a low transmission fluid level, shift solenoid, valve body, or a transmission range sensor fault. A vehicle that can not shift...

Q: Why do I need to charge my car's battery ever week or two but I cannot find an obvious problem withe the electronic system.

If you are starting the car and only operating it for a very short period, such short duration operation does not give the car's charging system sufficient time to re-charge the battery. Consequently, repeated short trips, especially in cold weather...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...