It's not every day that we think about our car battery. However, it's another story when the battery light comes up on your dashboard. That light could signal a number of possible issues under the hood, from a damaged battery to a failing alternator. Before you whip out the jumper cables or stress about costly repairs, take some time to troubleshoot the problem.
WHAT DOES THE BATTERY LIGHT MEAN?
If you notice the signs of a weak battery charge, such as power windows that are sluggish or a radio that won't turn on that accompanies the battery warning light, then you're most likely facing a battery problem.
A lit battery light could be due to several issues, including:
- A disconnected or corroded battery cable
- An obstacle with the alternator or voltage regulator
- Corrupted cells or plates inside the battery
- Faulty wiring in the vehicle's electric charging system
HOW DO I TROUBLESHOOT MY CAR BATTERY FROM HOME?
The light could mean it's time to get a new battery. However, the battery light could also be triggered by a minor (and repairable) issue like corrosion or loose clamps. You can follow the steps below to troubleshoot the battery at home. Be sure you have a pair of gloves on to do the following:
- Check for corrosion. In some vehicles, fumes from everyday use can cause corrosion to build up on top of the battery terminals, especially during warmer months. Start by removing any coverings on top of your battery. If you remark a white or greenish substance or residue on the terminals, you've got corrosion! Battery corrosion can hinder the conduction of electricity, so be sure to wipe it off.
- Clean the battery terminals. Cleaning your terminals requires everyday household items and a bit of elbow grease.
- Tighten the cable clamps. While you're cleaning your terminals, please check to ensure that the clamps are securely fastened to your battery terminals. If you notice loose clamps, use a small wrench or a pair of pliers to squeeze them until they are snug.
THE BATTERY LIGHT IS STILL ON... NOW WHAT?
There is probably a mechanical issue if the warning battery light is still on after cleaning the corrosion and ensuring your clamps are tightened. Systematic matters should be handled by auto professionals for precise and safe handling. Feel free to bring your vehicle to TC Auto Service, and we'll take a look at your battery's health, then recommend repairs or a new battery if needed. Give us a call if you have any questions or concerns.