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Discussion Starter #1
My child in college reported headlights flashing repeatedly after starting it on a cold night. I went and verified. Started it, sitting in park. When radio on/fan on high the headlights flash just like you were hitting the dim/high beam switch very quickly. Stopped or slowed once it warmed up or if you turned off all other electronics. Advance auto tested altetnator said it was fine. Local dealer said alternator was going out and they replaced it 1 month ago (500, ouch). All was fine until last night when it reappeared. Advice? What can I test? Have lots of tools/meters just need direction. (I only let the dealer replace the alternator as I was recovering from a surgery but I am ready to get greasy now)
 

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I would first clean the battery terminals and alternator terminals.
Grounding straps .. both battery and engine.
Then check the battery
DVOM or multi-meter ... across battery with engine off should be around 12.5 volts
With engine running should be around 14.5 volts

I would think @AUTOSPARK would know more about such issues.
 

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Details are important as well as your location. Weather can also be a factor for some faults.

Details !!! You have 4 head lamps up front by the way. You may or may not have DLR active as well. But no idea without details.

Clean the ground straps etc and report back.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both. I should be able to clean everything and check the voltages by tomorrow afternoon and report back in.
 

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Well you don't normally have DRL but many US vehicle with smart displays can turn it on if they choose. I have seen that in vehicle I have rented.

If you Auto headlights but an SE should not have it then turn it off the normal way. Extreme cold can affect some modules but it would have to be -20C and lower and even then its not normal for it to affect them.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I cleaned the battery and terminals. They were slightly dirty but sparkling now. Ground strap was fine to the fender well.

Don't have a digital meter so I apologize but here is what the voltage looked like to me. Battery when not running - 12V. Battery while running and all electronics off - 13V. When all electronics on and high beams - 13V.

Could not duplicate the problem but it was 50 F and not raining like it was last night. If this happens again I will probably make the dealer test it for free since they charged me $500 when I was ill.
 

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I cleaned the battery and terminals. They were slightly dirty but sparkling now. Ground strap was fine to the fender well.
Should take off the grounding strap and clean up the point where the strap gets screwed down.
Paint is not a conductor and sometimes needs to be cleaned off for better contact

Don't have a digital meter so I apologize but here is what the voltage looked like to me. Battery when not running - 12V. Battery while running and all electronics off - 13V. When all electronics on and high beams - 13V.
!3 volts seems low
 

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Did he stick in over watt headlights, HID or 100W bulbs. The headlight system has an "over wattage" protector system.
HID systems use lower wattage after they start.. on startup they use a lot to get them started.

You should be getting at least 14V with everything on.... But a 2011 should not have a bad ALT already.

He doesn't know any car guy college buddies ? ? 5 min with one of them and they will figure it out. I would go with the HID add on, kids love them and they are dirt cheap anymore.. hence cheap parts and problems.
 
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