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1993 Toyota Pickup dash light issue

I was driving when my 1993 Toyota Pickup’s brake and battery light came on simultaneously. As far as I could tell, nothing changed in the way the car was handling, nor any smoke, smells, or sounds. I was about an hour from home, so I continued on my way. After about half an hour, the check engine light popped on. I still didn’t notice any change in the car.

I am pretty broke, so I hesitate to take it into a shop unless otherwise necessary. With that in mind, do you guys have any idea what this might be, or do I need to bite the bullet and rack up the debt on my credit card?

Any ideas?

sounds like a short or crossed wire to me.check your battery cables and pull out your manual and check all the connections to those lights. check your fuses. if they’re blown, that means that something is getting too much power, shorted or grounded out. Start at the beginning. If your check engine light is on, you can always take it to AutoZone and they’ll plug in the tester (an OBDII I think) for free and tell you what codes come up. that could help narrow things down. take your dash and panels off and poke around. if you had a car stereo installed or something like that, people splice into the strangest places to get power. It could be your ECM, sending bad signals, but I wouldn’t even worry about that till you do the other stuff.

Also, you said it happened when you were driving, anything get wet (go through a big puddle)? Did it happen when the car went over a bump, did anything hit the bottom of the truck?

Normally, when lights indicating something’s wrong start turning on on your dash, my recommendation is to stop immediately (if it’s safe) and look under the hood. Check the basic things like oil levels, coolant (anti-freeze), accessory belt.

So check all those things, look for anything that appears like it may be “not quite right” and post back.

oh yeah, that too

The simultaneous nature of the battery and brake lights indicates to me it might be a loose or broken belt. That’s the first thing I would look at.

If the belt is in place on the alternator then turn the key to the RUN position and touch a screwdriver tip or something similar (steel of course) to the alternator pulley.
You should feel the screwdriver being attracted to the pulley by magnetism.
If not, the alternator has likely gone south.

Classic symptoms of a dead alternator in a Toyota.

Bloody_knuckles is correct. There’s a problem with the alternator. But this doesn’t mean the alternator requires replacement. These lights can come on because the brushes in the alternator are worn out. And on some Toyota models of this vintage the alternator brushes can be replaced.

Remove the alternator and look on the back for a removable cover. If there is one the brushes on the alternator can be serviced. Then call the dealer for replacement brushes. This is lot cheaper than replacing the entire alternator.


I figured out the check engine light. It was my coolant, which was slightly low. I put more in, and the light went off.

I drove it for an hour after the lights initially came on, and didn’t notice any power loss, so I’m not sure it’s the alternator.

Upon closer inspection, I also noticed quite a bit of corrosion around the battery, so I’m going to clean it, and get it checked. I’ll update when that’s done.

If the warning lights (not the CEL) come back on again the alternator is most likely causing the trouble. You should be able to get a used one from a salvage yard. Check the prices on new ones also, they may not be much more.

Sorry for the delay, but I had a family emergency.

I took it down to my local auto parts place, and the battery was bad (which I replaced), and the alternator is only producing 12.4 (and it should be at least 12.5). Also, it failed a ripple test, which I was told meant the diode might be bad.

Keeping in mind that I have very little money (the battery took most of what I had to spend, but I have a credit card, if I absolutely need it) Would it be better to:

A) Have someone rebuild the thing?
B) Try to rebuild it myself, and if so, how hard is that to do?
C) Just buy a new one, and swap it out?