Battery Light On: What Does It Mean?

Have you bought your first-ever car in your life? Are you excited to drive it and feel the smoothness of the road? Wait! Before doing that, let me ask you one question. Are you already familiar with its dashboard? If not yet, then this blog is for you! Let’s talk about those tiny icons beside your steering wheel. These icons will save your life, so it’s essential to know them all. But in this blog, we’ll focus on the battery icon.

Before jumping to our topic, let me give you some snippets of the vital icons you’ll find on your dashboard. 


Photo credits: MotorTrend

Warning lights are the icon indicators on your car dashboard that are very useful to know if something’s wrong in your car’s system. It is vital to be observant because one neglected icon can result in overall damage and, worst, an accident. So here are the most critical and usual indicators in a car’s dashboard.

ABS Light (Anti-Lock Braking System)


The ABS warning light, which may be accompanied by an audible warning sound, indicates a malfunction with the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS). In this case, you can still drive your vehicle as usual, but the ABS is just not working. This means that if you brake quickly and need to stop suddenly, it will take longer than usual for your car to come to a complete halt. However, it’s important to remember that ABS is only applicable in emergency braking situations. Therefore, there will be no impact on typical driving conditions if your system stops functioning correctly.


The most common reason for a broken or faulty ABS is excessive wear on either one or both of its components: the wheel speed sensors or anti-lock brake pump motor assembly (which helps keep wheels from locking up during braking). If either of these pieces becomes damaged due to corrosion buildup or exposure to high salt content environments, then they may not function properly anymore. This will generate codes, resulting in lights coming on, indicating something is wrong with them when operating normally under usual driving conditions. But, even if it’s on, it would not cause any issues with regular operation, so you can still continue generally driving without worrying about anything happening. 

It’s not a big deal unless something else goes wrong somewhere else, causing problems downstream. If there are other issues, it will eventually affect things like traction control systems that rely heavily upon the proper operation of these different systems before they’ll work adequately again, which might happen soon after stopping. But this could also occur much later depending upon many circumstances, including how long since the last driven or climate conditions.

Airbag Warning Light

If you see a yellow airbag warning light and no other lights are on, the airbag system is probably working correctly. And to check precisely, refer to your owner’s manual and see if it says that this is normal; there’s no need for concern.

On the other hand, if there isn’t any explanation in your owner’s manual about why it may be on, and there should be one, it means something might be wrong with your car’s airbag system. You’ll want to check for a loose connection or faulty sensor so that you can fix them quickly before they cause any damage to your vehicle.

Keep in mind that not all cars have airbags, which is something that a driver must prioritize. If you have an old car, remember that it is a mandatory policy to have a fitted airbag. So, if you still don’t have one, you can’t drive your car.

Brake Warning Light

The brake warning light indicates a problem with the braking system. It may also be accompanied by a message on the dashboard display. The following conditions can cause this light to come on:

  • Low brake fluid level or insufficient pedal travel distance before applying the brakes
  • Bad brake switch (this is not common)

When the brakes are applied, the rear wheels may lock up if there is no pressure on them. This could happen if you were driving in snowy conditions and had not been using your vehicle for an extended period, among other situations.

So before you drive your car, you have to look for this light so that you can have it fixed to prevent accidents due to uncontrolled accelerations.

Check Engine Light

If the check engine light comes on, it means there’s a problem with your car’s engine. This can be due because of anything from an electrical issue to a mechanical breakdown. The best way to diagnose what is wrong with your vehicle is through a diagnostic test at an auto repair shop or garage. However, there are some ways you can do at home to help figure out what the problem might be

Check other dash lights that may have come on. If all of the other dashboard warning lights flash, then this indicates that something is wrong with your brakes or anti-lock brake system and traction control systems. But if only one light comes on as well as the check engine warning light, then this indicates that something else has gone awry.

Coolant Temperature Warning Light


The coolant temperature warning light means there is a problem with your car’s cooling system. The light will come on when the engine overheats due to a blocked radiator or faulty thermostat or if the coolant level is too low.

>>How to fix it?

Suppose you see this light come on while driving; immediately pull over and turn off your engine. Check all hoses for signs of damage and make sure they’re secure before restarting the car. If everything looks okay, wait 10 minutes and then start up the vehicle again to see if that fixes things, and if not, take it to a mechanic. 

You can also try adding more coolant if that seems appropriate. Check your owner’s manual for instructions on where exactly you’d find that stuff in an older model vehicle like yours!

Cruise Control Indicator

The cruise control indicator light lets you know if your cruise control is on or off. If it’s blue, the system is off, and you can’t use it. If it’s green, though, you’re good to go!

The cruise control indicator light will either be green or blue, depending on whether or not your cruise control system is turned on. If this dashboard warning light comes on at all during a drive, even for a short time, immediately stop the vehicle safely and turn off the engine so that no further damage occurs from lack of cooling airflow through your radiator and condenser fins.

Door Ajar Indicator

The most common reason for a door ajar indicator is a faulty switch in the door jamb. The door switch is located in the door jamb and is a small electrical component that tells your car’s computer if it is open or closed. 

Have your mechanic check the switch to see if it needs to be replaced or reset when this light comes on. If you find that your door switches need to be replaced, I recommend replacing all four at once instead of just one because they work together as part of an inter-locking system. Doing so will prevent future problems with other components like locks or windows not working correctly.

Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) / Powertrain Limited in Range

This warning light in ETC is an indication that the electronic throttle control (ETC) system needs to be inspected. If this light is on and stays on, it means you should use less throttle until the problem is fixed. Your car will drive at a reduced power output. It would help if you had your vehicle repaired as soon as possible because ETC is designed to reduce engine power automatically when something goes wrong with it, so you don’t lose control of your vehicle.

Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL), Engine Control Unit (ECU), Engine Management Light (EML) 

The MIL and ECU engine management fault is a warning light that can illuminate your dashboard to indicate that there has been a fault with the ECU.

The MIL will not stay on continuously but flash intermittently while driving or remain illuminated once it’s activated. This means you might only see it once in a while, making it even more important to know what to do when you see it!

Light Colors

The dashboard warning lights can help you keep your car running properly and alert you to any problems. If a warning light comes on, check your owner’s manual for the meaning of that light. The manual will tell you how long to drive with the light on before taking any action. If the light is red in color, take immediate action and have your car checked by a mechanic as soon as possible. 

Yellow or orange lights always require some form of attention sooner rather than later. If this is the case for one of your dashboard warning lights, schedule an appointment with a mechanic so that he can make sure everything is working correctly in your car.

Green lights indicate that specific systems are activated and working correctly, and this is usually good news!



There are so many indicators in a car dashboard, and aside from those mentioned above, the battery icon is also an important indicator that you must observe. There are various reasons and management when the battery is lit, so keep on reading this section to know more.

Charging System

The battery light is the most common indicator of a potential problem with your vehicle’s charging system. It’s pretty easy to understand what the charging system does. It keeps the battery charged and ready to go when you need it, whether that be starting your car or powering some of your accessories. 

If there is something wrong with this system, whether it be faulty wiring or bad connections, it can result in a power loss from even one component of your car’s electrical system. This can cause problems for both internal components like headlights and radios, as well as external features like windshield wipers and door locks. The result will be an illuminated “battery” light on your dashboard that lets you know what the problem might be before taking any further measures towards diagnosing why it is appearing there at all!

When that light starts blinking off-and-on or staying lit constantly, even though no other lights are up, then you have an issue on your hands. This may be either there is something that needs replacing immediately, like a fuse, or you’re facing more significant problems down the road later on.

Faulty Alternator

As mentioned, the battery light is a standard indicator on the car dashboard that shows when something is wrong with your vehicle’s charging system. Suppose you’re wondering why the battery light is on. In that case, another reason could be because there’s something wrong with your alternator or the device that acts as an electrical generator and charges up your battery. 

A faulty alternator can result in a dead battery, but the battery light comes on for other reasons as well, such as when the alternator is running correctly. However, there’s something wrong with the electrical system.

Old and Outlived

The battery light can be one of the most confusing warning lights in a car because it can indicate any number of problems.

If your battery is old and has outlived its usefulness, it will not hold a charge for as long as it should and may need to be replaced. If you’re not sure whether your car battery needs to be replaced or if it’s just acting up, here are some things to look for:

  • Does the alternator work properly? 

The alternator keeps the battery charged while driving and powers other electrical components in your vehicle when they’re turned on. If this system isn’t working correctly, you might see issues with the power supply. This includes low voltage readings on diagnostic equipment, which could mean that your alternator isn’t charging correctly. This could also indicate that your alternator needs replacing entirely as well as possibly needing new cables. However, if these tests show that everything is working correctly, but there’s still no charge coming from the battery, then check the following reason.

Bad Power Steering Pump

A bad power steering pump can also cause the battery light to come on, so have your mechanic check that out as well. If you want to know why the battery light is on in your car, follow these steps:

>>Battery icon

Look at your dashboard and locate the battery indicator. This icon’s shape is like a battery and is usually on near the center of your dash. It may also be in between other gauges or indicators on your dashboard.

>>Flashing color

If you see this icon flashing with an orange or yellow color, it means that there’s an issue with one or more components connected to your car’s electrical system. This could mean something is draining power from somewhere else within the vehicle. For example, suppose there’s an accessory running continuously without being turned off when not needed. In that case, it could be draining too much energy away from where it’s supposed to go into powering other things like headlights or radio systems instead.

Effects Of Faulty Charging System

If the battery or charging system fails while you are driving, it may result in a loss of control of the vehicle that may result in an accident.

There will be an inadequate braking distance which means you will not be able to stop your car quickly enough if you have a dead battery. And lastly, you’ll have a loss of power steering or power brakes. These systems require electric current to operate, so they will fail to work correctly without it. And thus, it will increase your risk of an accident by making it harder for you to steer and brake safely when needed.


Now that you know the possible reasons why the battery indicator’s light is on, it’s time to reveal the things you must do if this happens to you.

Turn off car accessories.

If your car is showing a red battery light, first turn off any accessories that are not necessary. This includes turning off all lights, the radio, and air conditioning, as well as heaters.

Also, turn off the rear defogger and rear window wiper (if equipped), seat heaters (if equipped), and heated mirrors or seats. The red color of the battery icon indicates that there is an issue with your charging system or alternator, so running these items will draw more power from the battery than it can handle.

Check warning lights for issues that might affect the battery or charging systems.

The battery light can be a bit misleading because it doesn’t always mean that you need to replace your car battery. In fact, if the rest of your warning lights are off and everything appears to be running smoothly, then odds are you don’t have a dead battery.

However, if other warning lights are on, they could help identify what’s causing the issue with your car’s electrical system and provide clues as to how serious it is. Some common examples include:

“Check Engine” Light

If this light illuminates while driving or not starting at all, it means there is something wrong with either the engine management computer or its sensors and wires. This could mean an expensive repair bill but could also be just a simple fix like resetting an oil-life indicator in newer cars or replacing spark plugs in older vehicles.

ABS Light

Suppose ABS stands for Anti-lock Braking System, and this light comes on during braking tests after applying pressure on the pedal during regular operation. In that case, there may be some issues with wheel speed sensors inside each axle assembly.

However, suppose ABS does not illuminate when pressing down hard on the brake pedal during regular operation but does during the self-diagnosis test after pushing hard on the brake pedal three times quickly. In that case, the most likely problem lies within the controller unit itself. This targets the controller unit instead of the wheel speed sensor since the controller would’ve detected bad sensors before attempting a self-diagnostic cycle when trying to determine whether wheels were locked.

Other Warning Lights on the dashboard can help identify other issues that might be a bigger problem than the battery light.

You may have noticed other warning lights on your dashboard after the battery light comes on. These can help identify other issues that might be a bigger problem than just the battery light.

For example, if you’ve had your car for a while and the brake light comes on, it could be time to check your brake fluid level since you may need to add some fluid. If your check engine or oil lights are on, it is essential to check those fluids as well so they don’t cause any damage or safety concerns. 

And even if none of these warning lights appear when you start up your vehicle after noticing that your battery light is red, it still doesn’t mean there isn’t something wrong with another part of your car. Therefore always consult an expert when diagnosing any problems!

Try jump-starting the vehicle if the battery light is red and dimming headlights are; you may have a slow charge or dead battery.

If your vehicle’s battery light is red and dimming headlights, you may have a slow charge or dead battery. Try jump-starting the car if it won’t start. Jump starting is when you connect jumper cables to another working vehicle and use that car’s battery power to recharge yours. Follow these instructions to jump-start your vehicle properly:

>>Turn off both vehicles and make sure everyone gets clear of them before connecting the jumper cables (this is important because sparks can ignite gasoline fumes).
>>Connect one end of each cable clamp from your jumper set to each corresponding post on both batteries (usually positive [red] goes on the positive terminal, negative [black] goes on the negative terminal). Make sure they’re tight!
>>Start up the working car with a charged battery. It should be able to turn over but not start right away. This will provide enough juice for at least two minutes of operation without having to get into gear yet. And let it run for a few minutes so that its alternator pumps as much current into its own charging system as possible before returning it out through cables connected elsewhere around town.
>>If this doesn’t work after ten minutes have passed, then try again until at least five attempts have been made without success. If it starts, write down which cable went where so you know how everything needs to get put back together before going home.

Check Alternator belt tension and wiring harness.

You can check the alternator belt tension with a belt tension gauge or by performing a deflection test. Verify that the correct type of belt is installed and that it is in good condition. Also, check the alternator wiring harness for damage, loose or corroded connectors, battery terminals, ground connections (starter solenoid), and starter solenoid connector.

Replace Alternator

If you’re comfortable with car maintenance, the first step is to test your alternator. An alternator test at an auto parts store or mechanic can determine if it’s defective and you need to replace it. It’s possible that your battery light comes on due to other issues with your car, so don’t hesitate or doubt to get a second opinion if you don’t feel confident replacing the alternator yourself.


Now you know many ways to check the battery indicator before you start driving. All of this being said, as is always the case when it comes to technology, it can also be a source of frustration. So before placing all your trust in any particular indicator, take a couple of things into consideration. Ask yourself how old is the battery or how much has it been used? You can also look for other clues to determine if it’s time to replace it. So before riding your car on the road, make sure that you know your car all too well!

To know more about batteries, check this link by clicking here.

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