I have a 1995 Swift and the engine icon came on today. When I put the headlights on the clock dims a lot. i do not have a manual to tell me exactly what the problem is. All the fluids are okay. I was wondering if it is the alternator.
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The battery is charged up, but still remains suspect, because a failing battery cannot hold enough oomph to crank the motor, even after charging. So -
- failing battery, especially if 3 yrs old or more
- worn starter solenoid contacts
- failed starter solenoid coil
- dead spot in starter motor windings
- bad contact at either end of battery ground strap
There is a crude test. Turn on the headlights and try to crank the motor. If the lights dim down a lot, it is the battery at fault.
If it is burnt out , you just replace the bulb , not the whole headlight. You access it from the engine compartment without removing the headlight itself.
Most likely it will just take a 1/4 turn counterclockwise to remove. Headlight bulbs dim over time , so it's a good idea to replace them both at the same time. A friendly auto parts store might even do it for you.
Timing belt replacement is specific to each car. Get a Haynes manual to do this. Occasionally special tools are required. The big thing to remember is if you adjust the timing incorrectly you can trash the engine if the piston and valves meet. Haynes manual available at autozone for around $20. Haynes manual is one of the best investment you can make in working on your car. I like them better than the Chilton manuals. Chilton manual tend to assume more knowledge on the part of the user. If you are the type of person who is going to do lots of your own maintenance it does not hurt to have both manuals as depending on the job at hand one may provide better information.
Check alternator voltage charging should be 13.4 to 14.3, if lower bad alternator. If you have an ohmmeter set to dc voltage put on bat cables read voltage, turn lights & heater blower on high, read voltage, if below specs alternator bad
If only the headlights are dull and not putting out the correct light, I would suspect a bad ground (earth) connection somewhere in the headlight circuit or the fuse for the headlight circuit. Something is causing excessive resistance and causing less voltage to be provided for the headlights. If all the lights are dimly lit, then I would check the charging system, the battery and the ground cable for the battery, chassis, and engine.