Question about 1999 Hyundai Accent
1996 Nissan Altima My emergency brake and battery light comes on while driving, along with a weird smell.
Check your alternator, if you recently had it replaced - make sure that the one you got is correct, if your working on your own.. take a volt meter, set it to dc volts and measure across the battery while the car is running, generally you see around 14 volts, 12+ volts from the battery always and the alternator adds around 2 while running - the weird smell you smell if it smells like a dying rat, it would sound like you will need an alternator - as for your brakes, I'd start by checking the parking brake lever - back to your battery light, make sure all connectors are good on the alternator and also if your alternator does measure 14 volts, turn on all acessories - wipers headlights, radio, blower, rear defogger - this will generate what we call a load, if you then go to your battery you should see the battery voltage not drop below around 13.5 if it does, you probably need an alternator because it's failing to meet the demands of your car. though the lights come on together, it doesn't necessarily mean their in the same circuit - I had the exact same problem with a nissan altima of that year, that came into the shop... all its bulbs were burnt out and it kept having that happen, then other times it was just fine! give that a try, if that doesn't work send me an email at email@example.com I'd be glad to give you advice! (ASE certified mechanic)
Posted on Apr 16, 2009
Would you describe the smell as bitter or sweet? In this case the smell might be a cause, a result, or just coincidental and unrelated due to engine warm up.
However the combination of the brake warning indicator, battery light and smell to me suggests your problem has more to do with your charging system (i.e. alternator and battery) than the brakes. Battery/charging system inefficiencies can cause a miriad of problems like you have described when the voltage level drops below 12 volts.
Are you are comfortable looking under the hood of your car? If you are the first thing I would recommend is shut the engine off and open the hood so you can visually inspect the battery, alternator, drive belts and pulleys. The problem might just be obvious enough you can at least recognize something doesn't look right. If you choose to get further into the inspection you might take a rag while grabbing one-at-a-time the battery ends at the battery to check the physical connection. The cable ends should not rotate about the battery terminal.
Some possible conditions: Loose battery cables would heavily load the alternator and could cause a smell, low system voltage to trigger both warning indicators. Brake fluid could be leaking onto the alternator drive belt causing slippage, the warning lights and smell. A failed alternator is also a possibility.
But if after all you are not actually comfortable doing any of the inspecting don't attempt it. This issue would also require some simple diagnostic checks and tools like a volt meter which you also may not have.
Hope this helps though.
Posted on Apr 15, 2009
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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