How to Fix Charging System Failure Message?
- Measure the voltage
The first step you should take if you have problems with the charging system is to measure the voltage with a multimeter. Start the car engine and let it idle, turn on the headlights and wipers. Locate the battery and measure the voltage between the positive and negative terminals of the car battery.
You should see a voltage above 12.4 volts and even more if you rev the engine. If you see a low voltage, you know there is something wrong with the charging system, and you need to continue diagnosing the car. If the voltage seems correct, it could be a problem with the instrument cluster on your car that is giving a false warning signal.
- Replace Belt
If the drive belt is worn out or broken, it won’t be able to run the alternator. With the alternator not working, the battery won’t get charged and the electronics aren’t going to work. The belt could also start to slip from a loose bearing, leading to the failure of the charging system.
A regular inspection of the belt can help head off any potential problems before they occur. Replace the belt at the first sign of wear.
- Fix Faulty Wiring
The charging system is made up of many wires and harnesses that all must be in optimal condition to keep things running correctly. If one wire, connector or harness is worn, it’s going to cause problems with all of the charging equipment. The trouble with this problem is that it can be difficult to find the faulty wiring or connector.
Additionally, the battery terminals could be corroded, which would affect its charging ability. If you are having trouble, it makes sense to clean all of the connectors and inspect the wiring. If you notice anything is faulty or worn, go ahead and replace it. You also want to check the fuses as we talked about before and replace the fuse if you find a blown one.
- Check and Swap Out Alternator
Some people don’t realize that the alternator has failed until they put in a new battery and it dies. The alternator must be capable of charging the battery to keep the car running. As it fails, it can no longer supply the needs of the battery or electronics.
A lot of times, an alternator goes bad because the voltage regulator fails. Alternators are quite expensive though, so you need to make a proper diagnosis before replacing it. In some cases, it’s possible to just replace the voltage regulator or other faulty parts inside of it.
To diagnose it, you need a wiring diagram and a multimeter and some electrical knowledge.
- Replace Battery
As the car battery gets older, it can no longer support the electrical needs of the car. A weak battery creates poor chemical reactions, leading to a reduction of voltage. When this happens, the warning light can come on, letting you know it’s time to change the battery.
A bad battery will give off several symptoms, letting you know it’s failing. Not only will it become more difficult to start the car, but the headlights and electronics will stop working as they should. You might also notice intermittent power failure. If you notice that the battery looks unusual, you should replace it no matter how much power it’s putting out.
- Check/Update ECU
If you can’t seem to find anything else wrong, you might need to consider that there’s an issue with the ECU. While this is rare, it can happen. The car’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU) monitors all of the voltage and power running through the electrical system of the vehicle. If it is faulty, it can harm the alternator, battery and every other charging system component.
You will need to use your code scanner to figure out what’s going on. If the ECU is to blame, it’s likely that there are other lights on your dashboard beside the charging message. In some cases, the ECU can be reprogrammed or flashed, while at other times, it needs to be replaced.