Battery or Alternator problem

Tiny
JEFFYONKER
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 SATURN SL1
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 120,000 MILES
My daughter's 1996 SL1 is having the "check battery" light going on while driving and the headlights dim. Is this just an old 5 year old battery or possibly an alternator problem?
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Saturday, December 11th, 2010 AT 5:17 PM

4 Replies

Tiny
JDL
  • EXPERT
I'd make sure the battery has a full charge and the charging system is ok. Have to test when problem is ongoing. Some of the national brand autostores will do the testing for you. They will also check for applicable trouble codes. If you have a digital multimeter, we can help you with some testing.
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Saturday, December 11th, 2010 AT 5:23 PM
Tiny
JDL
  • EXPERT
Just wanted to add, engine running, the alternator should carry the load.
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Saturday, December 11th, 2010 AT 5:31 PM
Tiny
FIXITMR
  • EXPERT
Lights going dim/dash warning light on indicates alternator not charging.
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Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 AT 7:12 PM
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
You can do a basic charge rate check with a volt meter Pos to the main output on the alternator and Neg to chassis earth, you will be wanting to see 13.5 Volts there abouts depending on battery charge, do not test by running and removing battery terminal as the voltage spike when reconnected can blow the ECU out of the water so to speak.

Mark (mhpautos)
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Friday, December 17th, 2010 AT 8:54 AM

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