Ask Bob: Electrical Ghosts
by Bob DeP.
I have a 1997 T-100 that has been regularly tuned up and fully serviced. It has 53,000 miles on it. After driving around for 45 minutes in 96° heat I stopped somewhere for half an hour and the battery was dead when I returned. The battery voltmeter read only about 7V and the electrical would barely work. I had the battery recharged for 90 minutes and I still had the same problem. I push-started the truck and noticed that my oil level would rise as I would speed up, and as I slowed down the oil level gauge would go down also. When I turn on my headlights the radio would blink off at the same time the headlights were turned on. This is my second battery, and it's only 11 months old. I hope that you can help.
I would say that you have a bad alternator. Your gauges fluctuate with speed because the alternator is putting out more voltage as you rev up the engine. Now, it may be as simple as a bad voltage regulator, but I think on that car the regulator is inside the alternator.
Bob, The Auto Answer Man
Have a car care question? Visit our automotive center and see if we've already answered it or a similar question.
Debt is preventing me from taking a vacation this year or the vacation I'd like to take this year! Tell us: Yes, debt is affecting my vacation plans! or No, we're going exactly where we want to go but we'd love to learn make our trip as inexpensive as possible!
More Money-Saving Tips for Your Home
- 6 cheap, effective home security solutions
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- Top 10 DIY mistakes made by home 'handymen'
- How we saved $34k in interest on our mortgage before closing
- Buying an insurance-friendly car
- Tips for painting a basement floor Readers' Solutions
- This week's Readers' Tips
- Should I use a HELOC for home remodeling and repairs
- Find the best mortgage rates in your area
- 3 ways to use a mortgage calculator
- Mortgage calculator: Calculate your payment and more
- Home equity calculator: HELOC vs. line of credit
- How much can additional payments save me on my mortgage?
- Who offers the most home insurance discounts?