When The Battery Light Comes On Does This Mean The Battery Is Going Dead?

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by John, Jul 18, 2004.

  1. John

    John Guest

    The generator light came on while I was driving but the next day all I heard
    was a clicking sound when I tried to start it. Headlights come on dimly. Is
    this usually just the battery or something more serious? Before this I had
    no indication that the battery was getting weak. The little battery light
    would come on when I first started the car and then go off as is normal.
    John, Jul 18, 2004
  2. John

    BANDIT2941 Guest

    The generator light came on while I was driving but the next day all I heard
    It probably means that your alternator went, and ran the battery dead. If the
    battery is fairly new, replace the alternator and you should be fine. If the
    batt is getting old, replace it as well.
    BANDIT2941, Jul 18, 2004
  3. John

    John Guest

    Someone who knows cars told me that if the lights come on even dimly, it's
    not the alternator just the battery. Anyway, how much does it cost to
    replace the alternator on a '96 Saturn SL?

    If the
    John, Jul 18, 2004
  4. John

    Blah Blah Guest

    If you replace the alt, charge the battery up prior to running the car
    so as not to overwork the new alt. If I were you I would probably check
    for a parasitic draw as well.
    Blah Blah, Jul 18, 2004
  5. John

    Zaphod Guest

    On Sauternes that battery light is actually an indicator that the alternator
    is going out. I had to replace mine on my 95SL1 early this year or late
    last year.

    Since I didn't have the tools to do the work myself I had to take my car
    into a shop to do the work. I can't remember exactly how much I spent, but
    I did save some money by buying the alternator from an autoparts store
    myself and then taking it to the mechanic to be installed. That way the
    shop did not have to charge me a mark up on the part.

    I did not change my battery when I changed the alternator and have not had
    any problems with it.

    Zaphod, Jul 18, 2004
  6. Did this affect the warranty or repair garuntee that the shop normally
    provides as part of their service? IIRC, many shops won't allow you
    to give them the replacement parts, since they say they can't be sure
    where the part you gave them came from.

    richard hornsby, Jul 18, 2004
  7. John

    John Guest

    Where are the most likely places to look if the battery is being drained?
    John, Jul 18, 2004
  8. John

    Blah Blah Guest

    You usually pull one fuse from the fuse block at a time to see if there
    is a large drop in amps being drawn. First you need to know what the
    typical draw is. A google search for "parasitic draw test" should
    provide you with what you need to know.
    Blah Blah, Jul 18, 2004
  9. John

    Kirk Kohnen Guest

    Look under the car for a puddle of electrons.

    Kirk Kohnen, Jul 18, 2004
  10. Presumably your battery is dead now, but the battery light indicates a
    problem in the charging system, most likely your alternator is bad.
    Robert Hancock, Jul 19, 2004
  11. John

    xyro Guest

    Actron Charging System Tester

    Sears item #00947099000 Mfr. model #CP7611

    Versatile charging system (battery and alternator) tester requires no
    internal battery of its own and is ultra-compact for maximum convenience.
    Color-coded LEDs. Tests 12V batteries

    You need one of the above to know for sure..........
    xyro, Aug 12, 2004
  12. John

    Chasberry Guest

    Alternator Replacement Procedure:

    1. Write down all of your radio station presets (optional)
    2. Disconnect negative battery cable (most assuredly NOT optional)
    5/16" wrench works well
    3. Jack up the right front corner of the car
    4. Put a jack stand under the car.
    5. Remove the right front wheel
    6. Remove the two plastic splash shields (you pull the plastic
    center pins out of the fasteners to remove).
    7. Use a 14 mm wrench to remove tension from the accessory belt
    (turn wrench clockwise on the bolt in the center of the idler pulley).
    8. Move the belt off of a pulley to remove tension from it.
    9. Remove the 10 mm bolt holding the splash shield onto the
    10. Unsnap the splash shield from the alternator.
    11. Unbolt the cable running from the alternator to the starter AT
    12. Carefully pry the clip up from the other alternator connector and
    remove it from the alternator. Be careful not to break the clip off
    of the connector.
    13. Remove the upper alternator bolt (13 mm) from above.
    14. Remove the lower alternator bolt (13 mm) from below.
    15. Remove alternator down through the wheel well.

    You now have the alternator with a 1 ft cable attached. You need to
    remove this. The Chilton's manual suggests using a 13 mm wrench that
    is only about 60 thousands of an inch thick to hold the stud coming
    from the alternator (to prevent it from turning). Such wrenches are
    quite difficult to find. I removed the cable from the alternator by
    putting two 10 mm nuts on the top of the stud and tightening them
    against each other. Then, I used one 10 mm wrench to loosen the nut
    holding the cable while using another 10 mm wrench against the bottom
    of the two 10 mm nuts that I put at the top.

    The bottom line in working without the stud coming out from the
    alternator is you don't want to put any torque on it with respect to
    the alternator. It is (ahem) not a robust design. When you get this
    cable off, put it on the same position on the new alternator and
    tighten it similarly (using something to hold the stud into the
    alternator to keep it from turning. Either a very thin 13 mm
    wrench, or the double nut trick. Then reverse steps 15 to 1 in
    reverse order.
    Chasberry, Aug 14, 2004
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