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Car Battery Light On and Off While Driving

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The car battery light is on and off while driving as a result of slipping alternator or failing alternator, do a simple test to find out why the battery light is flashing.



The battery warning light indicator on the dashboard is occasionally on and off while driving the possible reason is that the alternator is failing or the alternator belt is slipping.

An automobile has many electrical devices, such as the starting system, lights, radio, etc. These devices are operated by the electric current supplied from the battery and alternator. The amount of power generated depends on the alternator specification and engine speed.

Power generation is automatically controlled according to the battery condition and the vehicle's electrical consumption (load) at a specific time. Generally, when the engine runs at idle the battery discharges, and as the engine speed increases the battery is charged by the alternator.

Flashing battery light caused


1)The alternator belt is slipping.
2)The alternator itself is failing.


Car troubleshooting

When the car battery light is on the car dashboard or battery light is on and off while the car is running two possibilities are causing this kind of car trouble, as mentioned above it can cause by the slipping alternator belt or a failing alternator. The alternator is the device that provides electricity to the car battery, it is connected from the engine using an alternator belt, when the engine runs some of the power will be transferred to the alternator to make it runs and create electricity so that the battery will charge.

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Aside from providing charges to the battery, the alternator is also the one that provides electrical power to all your car accessories like the radio, air con, lights, etc. while the engine is running. Now, if the battery light is on in the instrument panel then it means that the alternator is not generating electricity that the car accessories are needed.

Since the problem is the battery warning lights only flickers, sometimes on and sometimes off, then the problem is intermittently occurring which means that the alternator is sometimes generating electricity and sometimes not generating electricity or somewhat failing, during the time the alternator fails it cannot generates electricity and the battery warning lights is always on.

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Also when the alternator belt is slipping the alternator cannot generate electricity, as mentioned above, the alternator is connected to the engine using the alternator belt, now if there is a problem on the alternator belt, for example, if the belt is broken the alternator will stop running and you can see the battery warning lights steadily ON

However, since the warning lights only flicker this means that the belt is sometimes fine and sometimes not which is usually a symptom of a slipping belt, every time the alternator belt slips the alternator stops generating electricity which triggers the battery warning lights indicator on the dashboard to came “ON”.

What to do if the battery light is on and off in the car

As the belts are made of rubber, they gradually become worn and harden because of friction with the pulley, the heat originated by its friction and elasticity by the engine torque change, and it will finally crack.

The factory-fitted thermal-contraction belts are low-maintenance products. If the belt tension decreases, the belt starts slipping and produces heat which makes the inside cords shrink, thus recovering the tension.

Bring your car to a shop and ask the mechanic to check the alternator. More often than usual the belt is only needed some adjustment to fix it. But if the belt is no problem then it is the alternator that causes the battery light flashing, probably it is failing that triggers the battery warning light comes on intermittently (when we say intermittently we mean the battery light is sometimes on and sometimes off) and it is necessary to replace the alternator. Have it fix soon because you may not be able to drive the car when the alternator failed completely.

Maintenance interval of belts

Inspect and correct or replace as necessary every 20,000km / 12 months after 1st maintenance, whichever comes first. Inspect for cracks, fraying, wear, or oil adhesion. If necessary, replace it with a new one. Inspect the belt deflections by pushing on the belt midway between pulleys. Adjust if belt deflections are too small or too large. Specified deflection limit.


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How to test an alternator with a multimeter can be easy if you just know the proper way to do it. Just follow the simple procedure mentioned. Read more » How to Test an Alternator

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