Question about 2000 Ford Escort

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Replaced loose battery terminal and alternator light is now on

Not sure if alternator is overcharging what is the solution

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If an alternator overcharges, it will most probably spit out electrolyte from the filler caps or vents when run for a time. It may also become quite hot to touch.
Providing the engine is starting OK, and the charge warning light on the panel is not alight or flashing on and off, what you need to do is have a voltage check done on the battery with the engine running. If the alternator is OK, the voltage should be in the vicinity of 13.5- 14.0 volts (13.8 is the accepted "standard").
Any higher, it could indeed be overcharging.
Turning on the headlights should not materially change this voltage.
If the voltage is only around 12V or even less, turn on the headlights, and observe it again.
A low voltage can mean the alternator is not charging.

Posted on Jan 08, 2009

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Battery wouldnt start car, horn came on and int. lights r bright. is the battery dead or r there other issues

Check the cables for correct tension. If the cables are too loose on the battery, the condition you describe can occur. Also, the battery cables can be fine, and the battery appear to have enough voltage, but can actually have a shorted cell which breaks down under starter load.
Check for corrosion on battery terminals (a white, crusty substance which feel slightly crunchy and greasy between the fingers); this corrosion can be harder to see on side-post battery terminals. Corrosion almost always happens as a result of too loose cables and alternator overcharging. Overcharging is as bad for a battery as undercharging.

Good luck.

May 10, 2014 | 2003 Lincoln LS

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Alternator over charging

The alternator is vital part of your car or truck's electrical system. When the vehicle is running, the alternator provides a constant charge to the battery, as well as to other accessories. Without the alternator, the battery will eventually discharge. However, if the alternator isn't working correctly, it may send too great of a charge to the battery, which is known as overcharging. This condition is dangerous to your car's battery and electrical system. You can test to see if the alternator is overcharging, using a simple voltmeter. Start your vehicle and open the hood. Be aware of the moving parts within the engine compartment, as you do not want to get your hands or tools anywhere near them.

  • 2 Locate the vehicle's battery. It may be obscured by protective shields, the air filtration or intake system or a fuse box. Whatever the case, you need to remove everything that covers the battery. You must have access to both the negative and positive terminals of the battery.
  • 3 Turn the digital voltmeter on and adjust it to the proper settings, if necessary. The voltmeter must be set to "DC" and 12 volts.
  • 4 Connect the clamps or leads of the voltmeter to the battery. You must connect positive to positive and negative to negative. The positive lead is usually red or yellow, while the positive terminal on the battery will be marked with a plus sign. The negative lead on your voltmeter is black, while the negative battery terminal is marked with a minus sign.
  • 5 Examine the voltmeter. If you've hooked it up properly, you should see a reading somewhere between 13.6 volts and 14.3 volts. A reading higher than 14.4 volts warrants further testing by a professional. If your alternator is found to be overcharging, you will need to have it replaced.
  • Nov 13, 2011 | 1997 Buick LeSabre

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    The dash lights up when the key is first turned but when I try to start there is a click and the dash goes black. Could this just be a low battery?

    hi yes this sounds like the battery is either, flat..low, or has come loose, check the terminals on the battery make sure they are good and tight and have grease on them ( stops corrosion) if everything is ok in that department, then try the battery itself, try getting a jump start from another vehicle, this will tell you if it is flat, then it will be a case of why has it gone the battery low on fluid, just top it up and charge, is the battery old, and just could be u/s, or it could be the battery is good, and the alternator is not charging it, check this out with a volt meter, jump start the vehicle, test on battery, if it reads 12.5 volts on idle, and 13.5 to 14 volts on 1000 rpm, its a good alternator, if it is lower than any of them, your alternator needs replacing, if it is over them voltages, your alternator is u/s as this is overcharging the battery which will kill it, so you will have to change both then...hope this is what you wanted, please vote and comment thanks

    Dec 06, 2010 | 1984 Nissan 300ZX

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    Shop replaced the alternator, but its overcharging,for a minutes and back to normal. mechanic check it with the instrument, came out ok. but it does it again. so how do you diagnose this problem?

    Look for loose or dirty connections. Could be a poor ground connection or could be poor connections at the battery. Clean the battery terminal connections.

    Sep 08, 2010 | Ford Mustang Cars & Trucks

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    Installed new battery and starter two days later battery catches fire and melts terminals. why?

    I had the same problem occur on an 86 model Nissan truck. It was determined that the alternator was overcharging the battery and caused it to get hot to the point it caught fire. Check the alternator to see if it is overcharging. Sorry to know that happened.

    Jun 20, 2010 | 1995 Nissan Pickup

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    Battery light stays on dim

    You may have a bad battery or alternator.
    The battery terminals should read 12V+-.2V when the car is off, and it should read 13V-14V+-.2V when the car is running. If it's lower, then your alternator is not charging your battery properly and if it's over, then it's overcharging and damaging your battery.

    Sep 16, 2009 | 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

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    You should also check to see if there's an issue with the alternator itself. It should read 13-14V +-.2V across the terminals with the car running and the alternator cranking.. If it's below 13, then it's undercharging your battery. If it's above 14V, then it's overcharging and damaging your battery

    Other causes could be from the ECU which will also trigger the light to come on as the battery light doesn't mean just the battery / alternator, but any major electrical component

    Aug 19, 2009 | 1999 Ford Windstar

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    Battery overcharges and light is on

    Never saw a charging system problem cause anyone to fail inspection. But, overcharging will cook the water out of your battery and can damage the computer system if not taken care of. Overcharge can be caused by either a grounded alternator field wire or a bad regulator. Since the condition appeared after replacing the alternator it too is suspect as an internal grounding can also cause that.

    Jul 20, 2009 | 2003 Ford Focus

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    I have a 2003 ford focus. Ford staes the

    Check your battery ground connections. Make sure the vehicle chassis (and alternator) is properly grounded.
    Check for any loose connections around the main high current 12V supply fuses.
    Check the clicking in the steering column is not a loose supply wire arcing.

    Jun 20, 2009 | 2000 Ford Focus

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    MY battery light came on and

    i think the alternator/regulator is overcharging the battery. this explains the cd player turning on and off and the headlight blowing. overcharging also will boil the battery fluid down and trap explosive gases in the battery. when it got really hot because of the lack of fluid, the battery shorted out and ignited the gases in the battery. replace the battery headlight and alternator, and check the output of the system at the battery while running it should be between 13.6 and 14.5.


    Jan 06, 2009 | 1999 Dodge Neon

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