Q:

What would cause a car brake light and battery light to come on?

A:

Quick Answer

When a brake light comes on, this means the emergency break is still engaged, or the brake fluid level is too low. When a battery light comes on, this is caused by a malfunctioning battery or a loss of power to the car. The alternator charges the battery, so a problem with the former is the most common cause of the battery indicator light turning on.

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Full Answer

The first thing to check when the battery light comes on is the battery terminals. If the terminals have any corrosive build-up, mix equal parts water and baking soda and paint the solution on the terminals to erode the debris. If this does not fix the problem, have the battery tested by a mechanic.

If the battery is functioning properly, the most likely problem is the alternator. This keeps the battery charged, regulates the voltage and transports electricity while the engine is running. Without a properly functioning alternator, the battery cannot maintain its charge.

If the engine dies when the battery light comes on, there is a way to determine whether the problem is the battery or the alternator. If the car makes a clicking noise before turning over, the problem is most likely the battery. If there is no sound, a faulty alternator is most likely causing the battery light to come on.

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