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Why is there a warning light that looks like a car battery on your dashboard? The purpose of the light is to let you know your battery is not charging properly.

Your battery stores enough energy to start your car and get you going- not much more. You won’t get very far on battery power alone. To power your electrical system needs and generate enough electricity to run your engine, you need an alternator, which also recharges your battery.

If the alternator isn’t working properly, you won’t have enough electricity to power all those things like the stereo, heated seats, cooling fan motors, and more. If it fails, you won’t get very far because the battery will be the only power source for your vehicle.

Why would an alternator fail? The alternator is driven by the serpentine belt at speeds usually two or three times faster than the engine. Internally, there are bearing, copper wire coils and magnets that generate the electricity that are subjected to extreme temperatures and conditions that cause them wear out over time.

If your battery warning light comes on, have your electrical system checked and if an alternator is needed have it replaced by a professional. If you have added a lot of additional electronics such as DVD players or others, then ask your service advisor if you may need to upgrade to a more heavy duty alternator to meet your needs.

Posted February 27th, 2014

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