What’s Wrong If My Battery or Charging System Light Comes On?

What to do if one of your indicator lights comes on, and possible causes.

When you have a car, it’s more than likely you’ll face a few mechanical hiccups and operational bumps down the road. One issue you may encounter is when the battery or charging system light turns on. People usually ignore these light indicators, thinking they’re no big deal or represent a minor mechanical error. But automobile experts and mechanics opine that these problems shouldn’t be ignored ever and need to be addressed as early as possible. If you don’t fully understand the problem or can’t take care of it on your own, visit an auto repair shop and have a certified technician handle it.

Probable causes of battery and automotive charging system problems

While it’s always best to consult a professional, here are a few possible causes of battery issues and automotive charging system problems:

  • Wiring issues.
  • Old or bad battery.
  • Faulty voltage regulator.
  • Bad alternator.
  • An issue causing a drain on the electrical system.
  • Worn out or bad belt driving the alternator.

Understand the battery indicator light

If the battery indicator light or the charging system light in your vehicle turns on, do not make the mistake of ignoring the problem. When the indicator flashes on it means that the vehicle is now entirely dependent on stored battery power, which means your car can only travel a limited distance before shutting off due to a lack of electrical power. And be mindful that the warning light display can vary according to vehicle.

Automobile technology has significantly advanced over the last several years, and seems to be more and more sophisticated with every new make and model. The charging system is now connected to the powertrain computer, which allows for more accurate voltage readings—this is a huge advantage in the long run. In newer vehicles, the battery light only illuminates if the powertrain computer detects an unusual difference in present system voltage or default system voltage.

Carry out a simple charging system check

When the key is placed in the ignition and cycles between the off, run, and start positions, the charging system administers a self-check. Upon starting the engine, the indicator light should remain illuminated for just one or two seconds and then shut off automatically. When the light turns off automatically it means that the charging system is functioning in the right manner. But if the indicator light stays on or turns off and on randomly when the vehicle is running, this usually means there’s an issue with the charging system. And if the light doesn’t illuminate at all, this can indicate that either the light or the charging system needs repair.

Schedule repairs before it’s too late

If you encounter any issues with the battery or charging system light, don’t ignore it. Take your car into an auto repair shop as soon as possible to prevent your car from using up its stored battery power and shutting off completely.

Whatever your needs may be, request an appointment at any of the AAA Owned Auto Repair Centers near you. Or, find a AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility in your neighborhood. AAA Members receive a 10% discount on labor and a 24-month, 24,000-mile warranty. Not a Member? Not a problem! All are welcome.