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Battery light on dashboard

what does it mean if the battery light flashes on and off a few times, like every couple days? it doesn’t happen everyday, but it just started doing this a few weeks ago. i have a 2001 Ford taurus

It usually means there is a problem with the charging system, most likely an alternator problem. How long does it stay on when it lights? How quickly does it flash? Do any of the dsah lights or headlights seem to dim a bit when that light is on?

it usually just stays on a few seconds.sometimes it flashes real quick off and on and sometimes it stays on for about 5 seconds or so and then goes off. the other lights do not dim. sometimes my oil light comes on to and then when i press on the gas, it goes off but just once and a while,not everyday. i check the oil and it is always fine. thanks.

You REALLY need to get this car to a mechanic.

While there is a chance that you have minor problems like a loose belt driving the alternator and a bad oil pressure sensor, there is also the very real chance that your alternator and/or your oil pump are failing. And, since you are obviously unaware of this, please allow me to point out that the level of oil on your dipstick bears little relationship to the oil pressure that is being sent through the engine by your oil pump.

If the alternator is failing, when it finally dies you could wind up being stranded in an inconvenient place and the failing alternator will usually kill the car’s battery also, meaning that a deferred alternator repair is more expensive as well as less convenient than a repair that is done promptly.

If the oil pump is failing, or if the engine has excessive sludge, the resulting oil starvation will ruin the engine’s bearings and piston rings, thus making the engine a worthless pile of junk. Ignoring an oil pressure light, as you have been doing, is potentially VERY expensive.

As I said, it is possible that fairly trivial repairs are needed at this point. Or, there could be very serious issues brewing, especially with the car’s oil pump. If you want to get past these problems with the lowest possible cost, you will have the car’s charging system and the car’s oil pressure checked by a competent, honest mechanic a.s.a.p., and the category of “competent and honest” does not include Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, or any other chain operation.

Get the car to a reliable independent mechanic sooner, rather than later.

Does it only do this when your foot is off of the gas pedal? If so, it maybe that the engine is coming close to stalling. This could be a sticking IAC, or any one of several other possibles.

thanks so much for the comments. yes, the oil light only comes off when my foot is off the gas. i already put my car in goodyear, which i hated to do; but i dont know of any good honest independent mechanics. they are doing diagnostic tests now.

thanks for all of this information. i really appreciate it. i had already dropped my car off at goodyear this morning cause i really don’t know where else to take it. they are doing diagnostic tests.

The oil light is unrelated to the battery light UNLESS the engine idle drops down far too low.

If the idle speed is normal and the oil light is on then you may have a serious problem.
Should I ask when was the last time you raised the hood and checked the oil level?

the oil was changed a month ago

That is great, but how often do you personally check the oil?

i personally don’t check it too often. now and then

Since your car is now at least 8 years old, and especially since it may have issues with oil pressure that could increase the rate of oil consumption, you really need to check the oil more often.

I would suggest every couple of gas fill-ups as a good interval until you have a very good idea of its rate of oil consumption. Try not to let the level on the dipstick fall more than 1/2 qt. below the full mark.

If you have a lot of miles on the car, the alternator brushes are probably worn out. You can replace them for a0 bucks. The result probably will be a lot better alternator in there than the rebuilt crap that is usually installed at chain repair shops.

thanks for answering.