Reader Question: Hello,
About four months ago, I had to replace my 1991 Toyota Celica alternator and battery. Three days ago, I had to replace both of them again. Now that I have replaced them both, I still get a battery light on my dash and my car dies while driving.
I just got a new job and need my car to work properly or I risk losing my new position, which requires a fair amount of driving. I cannot afford much in the way of heavy repairs or a new car, so can you give me any suggestions as to what I can do?
What is wrong with my car?
Thanks for the fine service you provide.
If the battery light is on the dash, and the battery keeps going down meaning you have to jump-start or recharge the battery to get the engine started again. I would suspect an alternator that is not recharging the battery. A battery with a weak cell in it and cannot hold the charge properly, or a bad connection or wiring issue that is not making a good conduit from the alternator to the battery.
I would find an alternator repair shop in your area and take the car to them, don’t remove the battery or alternator for testing but take the whole car to them for testing. You want to get a complete electrical test on the battery, the alternator output and check for a voltage drain.
If the battery can handle a load and the alternator is outputting electricity ok, I would ask them to make an add-on wire harness that would connect the alternator directly to the battery.
This is fairly simple to cheap to do and will send the electricity from the alternator directly to the battery which will bypass any broken wires in the wire harness, bad grounds in the wire harness or just old rusty connections.
I do this in my shop when I have complaints like this on older vehicles like yours.