If you are driving and your battery dies, then it is likely your alternator has stopped working. You will notice that things are progressively getting worse before the actual total collapse of the battery and you are forced to grind to a halt.
The situation will probably play out as follows. First, you will notice that your lights are getting dimmer and the air-con fan will be operating slowly. Your car’s electrical system will be parasitically draining what power your battery has left.
There will come a stage that there will not even be enough power for the injectors or spark plugs and then your engine will eventually die. You will be under no illusion of what is going on as the engine will start chugging and just about every warning light on your dashboard will illuminate.
When this happens, you need to glide the car to the side and safety after hitting the emergency flashing lights, which will be dim and slow. You need assistance at this point and a tow or jump leads are of no use.
Good car insurance companies will include cover for this eventuality and will probably have issued you with an emergency number to call. You can also take out separate assistance cover for mobile assistance companies or contact Roojai.com to get detailed information on additional roadside assistance.
What Happens if the Alternator is Still Working
Does your car still work if the battery is weak, but the alternator is still operating perfectly? The short answer to this very relevant question is yes! Batteries go through a sickness process before they actually die as we explained above.
Slowly over a period of time, the car becomes ill, lights will start to dim when the car is stationary, and it will turn over slower.
For a car to work with a very sick battery it would require enough power to start the car and then you must shut down every electrical device that you possibly can on the vehicle. Obviously, this is not possible at night and also not an option in searing heat.
A dying battery will produce a huge load on an alternator, one that will be too intensive and eventually cripple the car. Needless to say, a dying battery can also wreck a healthy alternator, which is the reason why both often need to be replaced at the same time.
What Happens if You Disconnect the Battery?
In emergencies and to get you to safety, it is possible to disconnect the battery once you have started the car, so the alternator is providing the small power that you require.
This can only be done in the daytime as all lights, radio, air-con etc. have to be turned off, and if your engine stalls during this then you will be stranded as you won’t be able to get the car started again.
You should always get your battery checked out at least once every six months and especially if you drive an older vehicle where the age of the battery is not known.
You can do your own visual check and make sure that the cells have enough distilled water in them. Or better still use a voltmeter to check the health of the battery and then you are certain.