why is the battery light on?


Asked by mrdre Jan 02, 2008 at 07:45 PM about the 1998 Dodge Intrepid 4 Dr STD Sedan

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada where it's -20c to -40c in the winter.  Recently, my battery light came on while driving. I charged the battery for about 45 mins to an hour then started the car; the light never came on. Whenever I plug my engine/battery heater overnight the light stays off. But whenever i park outside without plugging in the car the light comes on when i start the vehicle. last night it came on but this time the radio started flashing and the ABS light came on as well. soon after the car died and wouldn't start. I cleaned the battery terminals, recconnected the battery, started the car and now it seems to be running ok. my question is; is the alternator to blame or could it be some other problem? The alternator seems like a pain to take out so i wanted to be sure before proceeding...thank you in advance.

3 Answers


have you had the battery load tested? you might be running into the problem of a bad battery then a bad alt.before i take my alt off i'd check the wires comming out and follow them to frame and battery you might find out something like grounding wire or so.also if the relay is bad your alt is running at max all the time the relay won't absorb the extra voltage.

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yes i would agree with the altanator being the problem

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You can have the vehicle's charging system checked with the alternator in the vehicle. What I would do is have a load test performed on the battery as the first poster stated. You will likely need to replace the battery first if the vehicle is not starting so you can have a proper load test done. Any auto parts store can do this for you. Before I'd replace the alternator I'd replace the battery and inspect the old battery. Have the system load tested. What is the age of the old battery? Extreme cold is a killer for batteries as they age -- 3-5 years seems to be the max we get here in PA, and it doesn't get nearly as cold as you are describing.

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