Friday I was the victim of a hit and run in my '99 Alero (86k miles, original owner) - lots of cosmetic damage to front passenger side. Monday took to insurance adjusters and they estimated damage at $2700, so I got a check for $2200 after they took of my deductible.
On the way home from the adjusters the battery warning light came on. Drove it home and as I drove more and more warning lights started coming on. When I got home and turned it off and tried to restart it, the battery was DEAD. Jumped it and it ran, but gauges and clock were flickering and lots of warning lights came on - didn't stall though. I put battery charger on it for a few hours. Started up and after about 1/2 a minute the battery light came on, but it kept running. Put a voltmeter between the one wire coming off the alternator and the neg. terminal of the battery: It read 12.06 V with engine off and 11.91 V with engine on. The battery is less than 1 year old. Any ideas what could be causing this problem? Voltage regulator?
This car has been great to us and I want to fix it, but I don't want to spend any more $$$ than the insurance check because my wife and I have 5 month old twins that just started daycare so we are super-poor right now! If we take it to a shop I am worried we will end up owing them money, but if I can fix the charging problem then the rest the repairs should be unbolting smashed parts and bolting on un-smashed ones - definitely something I can do myself. Any help is much appreciated!