Battery light on in car: meaning, causes, & what to do when the light appears on the dashboard

How frequently do you think about or check the battery in your car? Well, let me take a guess, “never” until there is a problem. If you’re like most drivers, you probably think more about your road trip playlists than your car’s battery.  A dashboard automobile battery light could indicate a variety of issues in the engine compartment, from a faulty battery to an alternator failure. But you need to know what to do if your car’s battery light comes on. We’ll address the most often-asked inquiries in this section, such as what to do if the battery light is on.

Battery light on in car

Take some time to figure out the cause of your dashboard battery light being on before pulling out the jumper wires or worrying about potential repairs. There might be an easy repair. Your automobile battery is one component that, when it breaks down, can completely ruin your day. The automobile battery warning light is the most frequently caused by a battery breakdown, and it may be very annoying. A dead battery typically occurs when you least expect it, such as right before you leave for work when you’re already running late or right after you go on a road trip. When this occurs, you most likely have concerns regarding your car’s battery.

Well, in this article, well, get to discuss the answers to the following questions:

  • What does the battery light mean in your car?
  • Can you drive with the battery light on in the car?
  • What causes the battery light to come on in your vehicle?
  • How can you tell when your car battery needs recharging or replacement?
  • What should you do when the battery light appears on the dashboard?
  • How do you troubleshoot a car battery yourself?

Read more: Lists of best car battery

Ok, let’s dive in.


What does the battery light mean in your car?

Your battery light, often known as the dashboard battery indicator, is intended to alert you to any problems with the battery or charging system in your car. When the battery light is on in a car, it can mean that your battery is worn out or damaged, or that the charging system isn’t working properly. These issues frequently are accompanied by other bad battery symptoms in your car. Maybe the automobile won’t start, or maybe the ignition stutters.

The engine may make a clicking noise when you try to start it. A radio that won’t switch on and slowly opening power windows are other potential issues. When you start the car, then the car battery light illuminates, and everything is well. When you turn on your car for the first time, this light should briefly appear. After a short while, the light will go off. Nonetheless, be alert if the light continues to be on while you are driving. Some symptoms of a low battery charge include power windows that are difficult to open or a stereo that won’t switch on.

Can you drive with the battery light on in the car?

Driving while your car’s battery light is on is unsafe. Your car may lose power if problems with the battery or alternator that trigger the battery light exist. Your car won’t work normally under certain circumstances. You must make sure the battery is always functioning properly because it is a crucial piece of automotive equipment. Look into the problem if you’re unsure of why your battery light is on. Moreover, if the issues persist, have your automobile checked out and fixed by a professional mechanic.

In other words, while it is physically safe for you to drive with the light on, it is not safe to guarantee that you will get to your destination without a breakdown or for the other parts of the car that a weak battery, such as the alternator or electronic equipment may impact. The automobile battery light typically indicates that the battery needs to be charged since it is weak. However, the light turning on could also be the result of another electrical problem.

A closed circuit is used in the electrical system. The failure of an electrical component could result in additional expensive damages. Driving is simply not a good idea when the car’s battery light is on. Also, we advise you to always keep a set of jumper cables in your vehicle.

Are there ways to make your battery last longer? The easiest approach to extend the life of your battery is to keep it fully charged. Although the alternator usually performs this on its own, a recharge occasionally becomes necessary, especially in colder weather. Dead cells may develop in a battery if it is discharged for a lengthy period of time. When a battery has even one dead cell, it is no longer functional and needs to be replaced.

Cleanliness is another factor. To avoid acid corrosion buildup, the battery terminals and cables must be frequently cleaned. Acid corrosion might make it impossible to charge the battery and shorten its lifespan.

Read more: Lists of best battery maintainers

What causes the battery light to come on in your vehicle?

If the automobile battery has corroded cable terminals, poor wiring, damaged cells or plates within, or if it is dripping electrolytes, that could be the cause.

Here are some other most common reasons why the battery light is on in a car:

You Are Using Too Many Accessories in The Car

Your EV can be wonderful and fun to customize. You can include a powerful system or LED lighting. These features consume a lot of energy. They will consume more energy than your alternator is able to supply. Keep in mind that the alternator also provides additional power to your battery. The auto battery will run out of power once the accessories have consumed it. After that, a glowing battery light will alert you to the system.

Poor Alternator

It’s possible that the car’s alternator is broken or dead. The battery won’t be receiving any power from it. In order to inform you of the problem, the battery light will continue to glow. There could be an imbalance in the voltage sent to your battery. The battery is destroyed by voltages that are significantly outside of or within the range. You will suffer considerably greater harm if you ignore the sign. After you verify your car’s voltage, the table below should help you determine the correct voltage.

Old or Weak Battery

If you continue to see this light each time you drive, your battery can be worn out. Most EV batteries have a lifespan of three to five years. That depends on how you manage the object. The electrodes start to fail as the battery ages. If the electrolyte is weak or old, it may leak. The battery’s power will thereafter quickly deplete. As a warning, this causes the battery light to illuminate on the dashboard while you are driving. A battery like that has no voltage.

Battery Terminal is corroded

Battery corrosion is the worst thing that can happen to your car, according to virtually any technician or automotive professional. The incident is caused by leaking battery acid, battery moisture, and numerous other factors. Moreover, the battery will degrade in high-heat environments. On battery terminals, it produces a greenish, bluish, and whitish form. These components restrict the conductivity of power through your battery. It will be flagged as a problem by your car’s computer, and the battery lights will let you know.

Wrong Battery Terminals and Cables

Your car gets power from your battery cables. But occasionally, they may get corroded or damaged. In addition, if you don’t connect them properly, the power flow will be interrupted. In the car, the power supply becomes a concern. Moreover, an automobile fire could be started by such cables. As a result, your car will provide several cautions to deal with the problem.

Bad Alternator Pulley

This part ensures that your alternator performs well throughout extended travels. If you don’t service your car for a while, something could go wrong. Enough grease is required for the pulley to support the alternator. The pulley won’t function properly and will become noisy if there is no grease or too little of it. Such a problem limits the alternator’s ability to produce electricity. The battery lights on your automobile will alert you to the situation.

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Poor Wiring

An EV includes numerous cables that allow for a steady power flow, similar to a vehicle driven by fuel. If the wires are faulty or break, the battery could be in danger. Mistakes made when the wires were connected are the cause of poor wiring. The cables could also be brittle and old. The system will alert you about this issue because the majority of EVs are intelligent. That happens via the dashboard’s battery light. If you ignore the wires, the battery may suffer damage. They may occasionally start a fire.

Look at The Temperature Gauge

This light can appear occasionally in hot weather. It appears after a long drive or when you park your automobile in the sun. The battery in your automobile will overheat and stop working. Moreover, charging issues can cause overheating. The battery light will therefore be on and blinking on the dashboard. Also, the temperature gauge will alert you.

Bad Alternator (Serpentine) Belt

Every EV must have this component to function. It spins the alternator to power the battery using the force of the engine’s crankshaft. Additionally, it controls the steering, electronics, and ac systems in your car. The consequences for the car if it breaks will be severe. The steering and accessories in your automobile won’t operate properly. Check to see if the battery light illuminates.

Blown Fuses

Though it’s hard to tell, your car might have a dead fuse. These components safeguard the electrical components of the car from a surge or failure. Yet when the fuses are overwhelmed by the current, they blow. You’ll notice a few things after the intense music has stopped. You will be alerted by the dashboard’s battery light.

Bad Ground Strap

Any electric vehicle (EV) won’t have a full power flow without a ground strap. It completes the link between the vehicle’s systems and the engine. Low voltage or a dead battery are the causes of it. If the strap is dead or insufficient, your headlights will turn off. The system will continue to notify you of this issue.

Read more: Lists of best car battery charger

How can you tell when your car battery needs recharging or replacement?

When your vehicle’s battery needs recharging or replacement, there are a few signs and symptoms you’ll notice. These symptoms include the following:

  • Electrical components not working properly
  • Dull headlights
  • The battery over four to five years old

If your battery is more than 4 years old, we advise getting a new one. A battery this old might be momentarily rechargeable, but it will most certainly lose its charge again very soon. With time, older batteries deteriorate and inevitably lose their capacity to store a charge.

When charged, even worn-out batteries that need to be replaced have enough power to start an automobile. Electronic functions that aren’t operating as they should be are common indicators that your battery is nearing the end of its useful life.

The “check engine” light may occasionally come on if the battery is weak because it is unable to supply the onboard computer with enough power. A drab dashboard or interior lighting may be a sign that your battery needs to be replaced.

Another indicator is dull headlights; if you notice these, the battery might be to blame. Put the car in park or neutral and gently rev the engine; if your headlights get brighter as you rev, your battery is weak.

Don’t take any chances if your battery is starting to suffer and hasn’t been changed in a few years. Although replacing car batteries are not particularly expensive, it is worth it to avoid the stress and inconvenience of a breakdown on the road.

Read more: How to properly recycle or dispose a battery

What should you do when the battery light appears on the dashboard?


Battery light on dashboard

Find a good, secure place to stop if the battery light on your automobile illuminates while you are driving. Losing your power steering could make it challenging to control your vehicle. You have a higher chance of having an accident if you completely lose power. Here’s how to reset the battery light.

  • Check the alternator in your car. If it’s malfunctioning, that can be the cause of your battery’s inability to charge.
  • Ensure that all of your vehicle’s lights are off. If any of them are turned on, your battery might drain.
  • Try starting your automobile without the headlights on. Your battery needs to be charged if the battery light illuminates, signaling a low battery.
  • You can reset the light by disconnecting the negative terminal of the battery for a short while if the battery or charging system of the automobile is working properly.

As an alternative, you might be able to continue driving for a little length of time if you are close to your home or a qualified auto mechanic can examine your vehicle. Make sure that your car’s superfluous electrical systems are all turned off. You might be able to travel a longer distance thanks to this.

Read more: Understanding the working of Battery ignition system

How do you troubleshoot a car battery yourself?

If the problem is a minor one, such as corrosion or lose clamps, you might be able to resolve it on your own if you feel confident working on your car. Always refer to your owner’s manual and put on safety gloves before starting a repair. Then start troubleshooting by following the procedures listed below

Check for corrosion

Certain automobiles may develop corrosion on top of the battery terminals during the hot summer months or in areas with warmer weather. Carefully remove any covers from the terminals on top of your battery so you can inspect them for corrosion.

Corrosion is visible as a white or greenish substance on or around the terminals. The efficient flow of power from the battery to your car’s vital components can be hampered by corrosion.

Fortunately, cleaning your battery and eliminating corrosion yourself is simple and affordable. Start by buying a battery cleaning product from a nearby store or making your own solution with water and baking soda.

Disconnect the battery cables after removing the terminal covers, starting with the negative (black) cable and finishing with the positive (red). Use your solution to scrub the battery posts and cable ends until the corrosion is gone. Connect the negative (black) cable first, then the positive (red) cable to re-connect your battery.

Examine for dirty battery terminal

Check the terminals on your batteries. Your battery light may also turn on due to corrosion, sludge, dirt, and other material near the terminals.

Tighten your cable clamps

The cable clamps, which join the battery to your car, can be defective if there is no visible corrosion or dirt. Over time, these clamps may become loose, turning on the car’s battery light. Be certain that the clamps are firmly affixed to the battery terminals. Consult your owner’s manual for any specific instructions if they seem loose. To tighten them, you normally use a regular wrench or a socket wrench.

Read more: Best battery testers


Can you drive your car with the battery light on?

When your vehicle battery light is on, it is unsafe to drive. Your automobile may run out of power if a problem that triggers your battery light, such as a bad battery or alternator, existed. Your car won’t work generally under certain circumstances.

Should I be worried if my battery light comes on?

In essence, the light denotes a problem with battery charging. When you’re driving, if the light turns on and stays on, your alternator is just using the battery’s energy to function. If you keep going, your battery will ultimately run out, and your car won’t start.

How long can I drive my car with the battery light on?

Can I continue to drive my car once the battery light comes on? If your battery light is on while you’re driving, you’ll have between 30 and 60 minutes before your car might start stalling.

What to do if the battery light comes on while driving?

Turning off any unnecessary electrical systems in your car should be your first priority. That includes turning off the radio, the climate control, the heated seats, and any other devices that might be charging in the car.

What causes the battery light to come on?

Many problems, including the following, can result in an illuminated battery indicator: a battery cable that is rusted or loose. an alternator or voltage regulator issue. damage to the battery’s internal plates or cells.

Why did my battery light come on?

A frayed or corroded battery cable, another wire connecting parts of the charging system, a problem with the alternator or voltage regulator are all potential causes of the battery light. The electricity that is stored in the battery is produced by the alternator.

How do I know if my alternator is bad?

Start the automobile after lifting the hood. Remove the negative battery cable while the engine is still running. The alternator is most likely defective if the car stalls or dies. This occurs as a result of the alternator’s inability to produce enough power to sustain the engine on its own.

How do I check my alternator?

  • Purchase a multimeter.
  • Choose DCV (DC Volts) above 15 on your multimeter.
  • Ensure sure the positive and negative terminals on your alternator are clean.
  • Connect the red cable of the multimeter to the positive terminal and the black cable to the negative terminal.
  • A reading of 12.6 or so would be considered ideal for an alternator.

What are the signs of battery failure?

signs of a damaged battery

  • It’s hard to get the car started.
  • The automobile loses its charge quickly after starting.
  • dim or flickering headlights and taillights.
  • The dashboard and the interior light are dim.

That is all for this article, where we get to discuss the answers to the following questions:

  • What does the battery light mean in your car?
  • Can you drive with the battery light on in the car?
  • What causes the battery light to come on in your vehicle?
  • How can you tell when your car battery needs recharging or replacement?
  • What should you do when the battery light appears on the dashboard?
  • How do you troubleshoot a car battery yourself?

I hope this content was helpful. If so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading; see you around!