I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt. Recently, I have have been having issues of an electrical nature possibly tied into the alternator. I had the battery changed out July 2016.

Often times when I start the car, the dash lights will come on as normal then begin to fade but never completely turn off, instead they will be faintly dim, then, the car will start to shake and display warnings like: Power Steering Out, Service Airbag, Oil Life Reset. The car will shut itself off, or i will shut it off as to not possibly damage the engine.

Often times as I am driving, the ABS light will come on and immediately off, as will the light for the Airbag. I am thinking about cleaning the negative cable attached to the battery terminal in the hopes that this is a corrosion issue. I had the battery and alternator tested at AutoZone, they said that both are in good condition. But the battery was only at 79% hinting at alternator issues. Could this just be a possible alternator belt needing a replacement?

Here is the image of the terminal: https://i.sstatic.net/9SGv3.jpg

and here is a video of my issues described above: https://vid.me/Pyrp

  • 1
    This sounds like it could be a grounding issue. When you clean you patter connection, trace it to the other end and check where it attaches to the body and anywhere else it might lead. Also look for bulges in the cable, this is a sign of internal corrosion which will prevent charging correctly. Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 1:34

1 Answer 1


If the alternator passed the test, then the alternator belt passed the test also. :) If the belt was loose or needing replacement, the alternator wouldn't be able to put out it's proper voltage.

A corroded battery terminal or engine ground could prevent the battery from getting it's proper amperage from the alternator, so this is your first task: clean the connector and the post. Battery terminal cleaning brushes are rather cheap, get one that looks like this: battery terminal cleaner

  • Okay cleaned. imgur.com/EKHkiCb The terminals are okay, it was just the negative cable that was corroded. Making contact the dash lights come on and were dim not the usual brightness. turning the car on, Oil-Life Reset, Service Airbag, Power Steering. The airbag light stayed on. Second Turn on the car started fine. Third turn on the engine died starting with a shake and shudder, power was on. Fourth turn on all lights came on dimly, then brightened, then faded out, then OilLife Reset, Service Airbag. Airbag Light came back on and stayed on till arriving home and shutting the car down.
    – NAN
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 23:53

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