The several warning lights your car is equipped with are meant to help you monitor your car's vital functions. One of these warning lights is for the alternator and charging system. If the alternator light comes on, it means the charging system is not replacing voltage to the battery adequately. When this happens, pull over immediately. Check the belt that operates the alternator. If the belt is missing or if it's loose and you have no way to tighten it, don't drive the car any further. Often the same belt that drives the alternator also drives the water pump. Without constant circulation of water, your engine will quickly overheat and cause serious problems. If the belt is in place and operating properly, go ahead and drive the car to the nearest service center. Remember, in the winter, battery power is reduced to as little as 25 percent because of the cold. On the other hand, in warm weather, your battery has at least an hour of reserve power, even with lights on.
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