The clue is the battery light. That has nothing to do with water or the battery's condition. That means the alternator isn't recharging the battery.
Worn brushes are common on the silver Nippendenso alternators and they're pretty inexpensive to replace, but that usually doesn't occur until after 150,000 miles unless you drive on a lot of dusty roads.
The place to start when the warning light comes on is by measuring the battery voltage with the engine running. It must be between 13.75 and 14.75 volts. If it is low, measure the two voltages on the small wires on the back of the alternator. That must be done with the engine running.
You might also use a stethoscope to listen next to the alternator's pulley for the grinding noise. If you hear it there, suspect the pulley / clutch assembly. They typically get noisy at around 60,000 miles.
Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 AT 5:56 PM