Q: My battery light came on out of nowhere and I started smelling smoke.

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Hi, I was wondering if you could help me out. I was just pulling into a parking lot in a giant thunderstorm, but as I was turning, the battery light came on and suddenly I wasn't able to steer as well. I turned the radio and the AC off, but suddenly I smelled a burning smell coming from the engine. I found the nearest parking space and turned the car off. I started the car again and the battery light came back on, and the burning smell returned. I just had the battery charged a month ago. Is it just that the battery's dead, or could it be a larger issue? Should I get my car towed or is it safe to drive to an auto repair place?

Thank you for your help!
My car has an automatic transmission.

This may suggest a failing voltage regulator. The voltage regulator is a unit that regulates the charging of the battery by the alternator. When the voltage regulator is not working properly, this may result in the alternator allowing too much power to be delivered to the battery resulting in damaging wires and prematurely sometimes destroying the battery. A common sign of this is usually the acid inside the battery boiling causing the battery to swell. You may also smell a bit of smoke due to things potentially getting too hot. In other cases it may result in the alternator not supplying enough power to the battery, resulting in undercharging the battery or not charging it at all. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose your vehicle’s charging system.

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