The Battery Light Came On – Now What?


Nothing strikes fear into the heart of a driver faster than seeing a dreaded dashboard light illuminate. It always seems to come out of nowhere; everything was working just fine on your last drive, and then with the next start of the engine, an ominous red light is glaring up at you, as if daring you to see what happens if you put the car in Drive.

What Happens if the Battery Light Comes On?

When a red battery icon lights up, there is an urgent issue that must be addressed right away. Since your car battery supplies the electric current to power the ignition, headlights, A/C, interior lights, radio, onboard computers, and more, it is critical to have the battery tested to diagnose the issue. If the battery light comes on while you are driving, immediately turn off the A/C, radio, and any other accessories, as well as unplug your phone charger and lower your windows. Find the nearest exit or safe rest stop and call AAA at 1-800-AAA-HELP for immediate assistance.

The three most common reasons for the battery light to illuminate include:

  1. A Problem with the Alternator. The alternator is basically a generator under your hood. It charges the battery and powers the electrical system while the engine is running. If your alternator is not receiving enough charge to do its job, you may notice problems trying to start the car. A faulty alternator is the number one reason for the battery light to turn on.
  2. Corroded or Loose Battery Cables. Have you ever seen the blue, green, or white powdery build up on your battery terminals? If allowed to build up, this corrosion may interfere with the connection, and you may have trouble starting the engine. Corrosion comes from the battery acid fumes. Likewise, a loose battery connection can also prevent your vehicle from starting. Both scenarios will prompt the battery light on your dashboard to light up.
  3. The Battery Needs to be Replaced. Car batteries last, on average, for 3-5 years. However, that lifespan can be shortened by several factors, including how the car is driven and the climate where you live. As a battery ages, its voltage drops. When it gets too low, the battery light will come on.


The Bottom Line

When the battery light comes on, it is time to have your vehicle serviced to avoid being stranded. With AAA Mobile Battery Service, a trained Technician will come to you to test your battery. If it is defective, the Battery Service Technician can replace it on the spot. Plus, AAA recycles 99% of every used battery collected, saving resources and keeping millions of pounds of hazardous waste out of landfills.

To request AAA Mobile Battery Service, visit or call at 1-800-AAA-HELP


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