Collie Tyrepower
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Faulty Battery FAQs

A car’s battery is an essential component of your vehicle as it provides electrical energy to the starter motor, ignition system, lights, and radio. It stores energy generated by the alternator to power the car when the engine is not running. In addition, a vehicle battery helps stabilise the voltage in the car's electrical system.

Collie Tyrepower answers some frequently asked questions related to faulty batteries that you should be aware of so that you know what steps to take if your battery is not functioning properly.

Can a faulty battery cause the engine light to come on?

Close-up shot of a car's dashboard with the battery icon lit

Generally, when you start your car, many of your dashboard’s warning lights momentarily turn on too. This is a feature that shows that your lights are still functional. However, if the battery light stays on, it could mean that something is up with your electrical system. But, it does not necessarily mean your battery is the cause of the fault.

Even though the warning light doesn't always indicate that the battery is the issue or a sign of the current issue, it's usually the simplest component to diagnose. Most troubleshooting will begin with the battery as that’s the most common cause of electrical system issues in modern vehicles.

Can a faulty battery cause limp mode?

Limp mode is a safety feature in cars. It activates when something is up with the transmission control unit or the engine. When the limp mode is activated, less important vehicle parts, like the air conditioning, turn off. Also, the speed of the car decreases. This happens, so nothing more serious occurs because of the fault.

Limp mode is triggered by the vehicle’s computer, which receives signals from different components. When one of the signals is abnormal, the vehicle switches to limp mode. This abnormality may be caused by a faulty engine, sensors, components, wiring, dysfunctional brakes and clutch, transmission issues, or low fluid levels.

A faulty battery may cause limp mode; however, it’s not a common cause. If your battery is bad, you will most likely notice other issues, but the low voltage can cause problems with your car's electronic computers, including limp mode.

Can a faulty battery damage an alternator?

Damaged and corroded car battery danger

The battery in your vehicle is responsible for starting it when it is turned off. The alternator, however, produces AC (alternating current) that is then rectified into DC (direct current) by a circuit. This current is required to run your vehicle's electronics while you are driving. This includes power steering, headlights, windshield wipers, power windows, radios, and dashboard instruments. The alternator is also responsible for recharging your battery while you drive.

A faulty battery will not usually harm your alternator. An alternator running at maximum output at too low of a speed can cause the alternator to get hot and cause damage. Most modern alternators have safety checks in place to prevent this.

So, it's possible, but unlikely.

A faulty alternator can overcharge or undercharge a battery, though undercharging is the more likely situation. If a battery has an internal short circuit, the alternator will run at full output for longer than it is designed to.

Can a new car battery be faulty?

Yes, there is a slim chance that any new car battery can be faulty. Batteries are tested before they leave the factory, so it’s very unlikely you’ll receive a defective unit.

If a replacement battery begins to fail prematurely and begins showing similar symptoms to your old battery, chances are that there is another issue in your vehicle that requires diagnosis and repair. Bad alternators in particular can cause multiple batteries to fail.

Signs you could have a faulty battery

There are some warning signs that will tell you that your car battery is faulty. These include the following:

  1. Corrosion or build-up of acid on the battery’s terminals.
  2. The battery is more than 5 years old. A battery can generally last between 3 to 5 years.
  3. A slow-turning engine crank. This is a common sign that your vehicle battery is close to the end of its life.
  4. The fluid levels of your battery dropped, which can be a sign of an overheating problem.
  5. Bloated or swollen battery case, which occurs when your battery is exposed to excessive temperatures.

Battery Maintenance in Collie

If you’re experiencing a check battery light, slow starting on cool mornings, or just want your battery and charging system tested, come chat with the qualified technicians at Collie Tyrepower.

We are your one-stop shop for tyres, wheels, servicing, and more! Call today on (08) 9734 2869 or visit our store located at 44 Johnston Street, Collie.

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