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My 2004 PT Cruiser just flashed the internal battery light. I was able to drive home, but I noticed that the LED lights on the clock were flickering. I played with the RPM of the motor a bit(manual transmission) and did not see a change. It Seemed to bounce with the roughness of the road.

I have a lot of miles on this car, and it would not suprise me if it was the alternator. I just got a new battery this summer. However, it is acting like a loose connection. How could I tell? I don't want to spend the bucks if I can just tighten a connection somewhere and solve it.

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2 Answers

Have you checked that the connections to the battery are snug? I don't think a bad connection at the alternator would turn your battery light on, that usually happens when the battery itself is low/disconnected. I would look at the wires on the battery and make sure they are tight and free of corrosion and also follow them to as many connections as you can.

Another possibility is that one of your main fuses is loose or on the brink of failure. I would check that all your fuses in the fuse box are snug and intact, especially the big ones that are mounted using screws.

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You can do a very simple check of your alternator by simply measuring the voltage across the battery terminals with the car running. A good alternator would put you somewhere around 14 volts. While performing this check, you should examine the condition of the connections at the battery terminals, as well as the large ground strap from the battery negative to something metal on your engine/frame, and the connection from the alternator to the battery. Look for loose or corroded connections.

A thorough test of your alternator can be done at your local auto parts store, if you bring them the bare alternator. It's a good idea to have them do such a check before you shell out the money for a new one.

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If he was accelerating the car and nothing happened (it didn't shake or completely turned off) I doubt the issue is at the alternator. –  PedroC88 Oct 24 '13 at 20:57
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