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Jim Grant Tech Tips Jim Grant Tech Tips
A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.



Lincoln - Mercury
  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

'89 VW Jetta GL, Battery Light Problems

Q: I am the frustrated owner of an‘89 Jetta GL that has been giving me fits lately. My wife noticed the battery light was on one day. On her way home from work the car died. It appeared to be a bad alternator. I put in a new alternator, the battery light remained on, but all my multimeter probing said that the battery was taking a charge. Two days later it died again while I was driving it. I put in another new alternator (traded AutoZone for another one) thinking the refurbished one was bad and I put in a new battery. Again, all signs said that everything was OK, but the battery light was still on. I talked to a knowledgeable person about it and he looked at the car for me. He said that the light shouldn't be on that everything was OK. I let the car sit for a week and the battery was dead. Obviously, something is pulling current, when the car is off. Do you have any ideas?

A: After changing the battery and the alternator twice you can say with confidence, they ain’t broke. With a battery warning light remaining on you know something has to be amuck electrically. On most vehicles today when you turn the ignition switch on, electrical power is sent to the battery light and from the battery light to the regulator that controls the alternator. This little electrical signal is the cue to the regulator the engine is going to be running any minute now. The job of the regulator is to control how much electricity the alternator produces. Once the engine is running and the alternator is producing enough electricity the regulator will cause the battery warning light to go out. If the light is not going out then the alternator is not charging, the regulator is bad, the wire to the regulator from the battery light is not plugged into the correct connector or the electrical signal from the battery warning light is going somewhere else. So, with all of this in mind, I think it would be best if you took your vehicle to a technician that can check/diagnose your battery warning light and possible charging system problems. Once you have the answer you can replace the part that will keep your wife’s vehicle going.

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