I have a 99 Buick Century Custom. Over a month ago at night we noticed while having the cruise turned on, the headlights would shut off and on by themselves. About a week ago the Service Engine, Anti Lock, and Trac Off lights would all come on and stay on even after restarting the car. Just the other day the Anti Locks would activate while we were breaking and almost to a full stop then shut off after we had stopped, and this was on normal roads.
Over a year ago we noticed that while the AC was turned on, sitting still or going under 15 MPH, the car would kinda whine/groan. After seeing something on TV, I started to put 2 and 2 together and wondered if our alternator could be going bad.
What do you think? We plan to have it looked at but it might be a few days and I know this will just eat at me for some time. Thank you for your help!
You can get your alternator & battery tested at Autozone for free.
July, 24, 2011 AT 12:03 PM
Your car wouldn't run for more than a day or 2 with a bad alternator so I seriously doubt that.
The "check engine" light is an indicator for a system that monitors many electronic functions in the system, also called the "malfunction indicator lamp" (MIL). It can come on for any of hundreds of different causes from any of the systems that the computer monitors. Some are very important and can lead to further component or engine damage and some are emissions related not as serious but still a problem and need to be repaired.
Your first step is to have the computer scanned to retrieve the trouble codes that were set when the check engine light came on. Those codes will give you specific information about what the computer saw and will get you pointed in the right direction to find your problem. With a 1996 or newer and some 95 cars and you have an AutoZone or Advanced auto parts in your area, they will read them for free. Once you have these code numbers, we can be a lot more specific about what your problem may be.
The ABS and traction lights work on the same principle but usually require more professional equipment to read them so you may not get that read for free.