Why do my gauges stop working as I use more accessories?

40

Asked by Nov 04, 2011 at 06:54 AM about the 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier LS Sedan FWD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

All gauges work properly when I am not using any accessories (running lights, headlights, heater, rear window defrost).  When I turn the running lights on the service engine light comes on.  When I turn the headlights on, the fuel and temp gauges stop working.  When I turn the heater on, the speedo and tach stop working, when turn the heater off the gauges start working again, same thing happens when I use the rear window defrost.  When I have any of these items on and I hit the brake pedal, all dash lights (except check engine) come on and go off.  Could this be my alternator not supplying enough voltage?

6 Answers

735

First thing I would do is check the battery cables. Clean the connections and tighten them up.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
40

The battery is new and the connections are tight and clean.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
735

Was the car having this problem before you bought the new battery? If so, I would think the battery is bad or the connections aren't solid.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
40

Yes, I Autozone tested the old battery and said it was bad, so I bought a new one...did not change anything. The previous owner was an old lady who was not allowed to drive because of her eye sight. The son disconnected he battery, and it was disconnected for nine months until she passed away. The chevy dealership said the car shoul reprogram itself after driving. I've driven it about a 1,000 miles and no change. I think it may be the altenator because everything works fine until you start turning stuff on. I do not have any problem starting in the mornings so I think it is putting out enough to charge battery but not run accessories. Do you know what voltage the alternator should put out?

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
735

Put a voltage meter on the battery when the engine is off. The meter should read around 12.5 volts. Start the car up and the meter should read higher...like 13.5 or more. If that is the case, its not your alternator. If it doesn't move from 12.5 volts with the engine running, the battery is not receiving a charge.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
110

I know this is a old thread, but just in case someone else has this problem. caviler body ground comes straight off battery to body right below battery and will rust up and breakaway. if you will run a new body ground if this is the case will fix the problem.

11 of 11 people found this helpful.

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