A month and a half ago I noticed that my car’s headlines would dim right after I started it. I noticed it many times since then. Tonight the lights dimmed and the fan slowed, seemingly more than they hadin the past. Then the lights would come back bright and the fan would go full power, this happened three times and I thought I heard a belt squeel right before the lights came back brightly. The last time it happened the car was heated up. Originally I thought mabye it was because it has been so cold here, but since the car was heated I didn’t think that was likely. Also when I started it tonight the batter light came on. I’m thinking mabye I need to have the alternator belt looked at. Any thoughts or confirmations?

Yes, but you need the charging system looked at. The battery light is actually a problem detected in the charging system, most likely an alternator failure.

You should have the drive belts inspected and replaced/tightened as necessary. I believe your car has drive belts which are manually tensioned, i.e. you don’t have an automatic tensioner. Either way, a loose or worn belt can cause slippage, so if your belts haven’t been replaced in the last couple years or so, get some new ones on there. If you opt to have a shop do this, they can test your charging system as well once belt slippage is eliminated.

Wow thanks, you guys are fast. So I’m guessing that the charging system can fail for a number of reasons one of which is a bad alternator, another is bad belts, what other types of things cause the charging system to fail besides belts and alternator?

Corroded wire connectors and battery terminals.

Thanks. One more question. I’m going to make an appointment hopefully I’ll get it in next week sometime. Is it bad to drive in the meantime. I suppose there is a chance it will break while I’m in route and I’ll be stranded somewhere?

If the battery light is on, don’t drive the car. You will not get very far before the car won’t run anymore. It is unlikely to damage the car, but it will break down on you in short order, and will probably take out the battery.

The Battery light was on when I started the car then it went off and didn’t go on again. Actually, i think I do have a little corrosion on the battery terminal. I wonder if that would explain it?

It would help to know how old the car and the battery are and how many miles. If the battery is 6 or 7 years old it could be nothing more than a failing battery.

You could stop at an Advance or Autozone and they will check out the charging system for free.

i think I do have a little corrosion on the battery terminal. I wonder if that would explain it?

Sure could.

Isn’t it better to just get it checked out and fix it instead of wondering if today’s the day when you’ll be stuck by the side of the road? It does sound like the belt that’s driving the alternator is loose or worn. The problem will not fix itself. Eventually you will likely end up needing a battery, and possibly a tow in addition to the belt if you keep on like this.