Is the service battery charging system indicator on your vehicle’s dashboard illuminated and you are wondering what it means and what to do about it?
Do not worry, because we have the answers to your questions.
This article will provide you with all the information you need to know about the service battery charging system light, what it means, what causes it, and how to fix the underlying issues.
Let’s get started!
What Does Service Battery Charging System Mean?
When you see “service battery charging system” on your car’s dashboard, it means that there is an issue with the charging system, often because the battery has become faulty or the alternator has ceased functioning.
Ignoring the service battery charging system warning or battery signal light is dangerous. This is because the service battery charging system indicator tells you that the car depends on the stored battery power alone to power each of its electronic systems.
Service battery charging system also indicates that the vehicle cannot travel far before it halts due to a lack of electrical power. Several cars tend to show service battery charging system in any of the following ways;
- The light may appear in red or amber color and show the “CHG” or “ALT” icons.
- The indicator light appears in red and shows the “BATT” anytime a key is in the ignition and the engine is off.
- The most common sign is displaying a red color icon that stands for a vehicle battery.
What Is the Battery Charging System?
The charging system helps to keep your battery charged and offers electrical energy for your car radio, lights, and other electrical components when the vehicle is in motion.
In modern vehicles, the battery charging system is comprised of the alternator, the battery, and the electronic control unit (ECU).
In older vehicles, there would have been a regulator. The battery charging system is integrated into the computer in today’s vehicles.
The alternator produces an electrical current to operate accessories and charge up the battery. It helps to turn mechanical energy from the crankshaft into electrical power.
On the other hand, the computer or regulator operates as a “traffic cop” to regulate the alternator’s output. In other words, it helps to detect if the battery requires charging or if it changes its desire for electricity.
The battery stores electrical energy; hence it cranks the engine to ignite the car and provides current to the parts whenever the engine is not in motion.
When something goes wrong with the charging system, the service battery charging system warning will always illuminate. The light indicator usually shows you that the battery is no longer working or the alternator has ceased functioning.
Sometimes, you might want to turn on your vehicle, but it would refuse to start; it is a sign of a bad battery, one that no longer holds a charge.
There’s a chance that you left your headlights on or other parts on, draining your battery. It could also be that the alternator has failed to replenish it with new energy.
What Can Cause Service Battery Charging System to Come On?
You won’t find any obvious explanation as to why service battery charging system is on the dashboard. Nonetheless, any experienced mechanic can identify and resolve whatever the problem is that causes the warning to come on.
Below are some of the reasons why the service battery charging system come on:
1. Alternator Problems
Often, the alternator is at the root of the service battery charging system indicator. Therefore, you should take it to your mechanic, who can check the alternator voltage.
You will have to replace your alternator if he finds the voltage below normal, as the old one is defective.
2. Battery Problems
If your battery is low or bad, it could also cause your service battery charging system indicator to come on. Your mechanic will know better how to test your car battery’s strength.
3. Drive Belt Troubles
If you have issues with your driving belt to the extent that it prevents the alternator from functioning properly, it can make the service battery charging system indicator come on.
A mechanic will check your drive belt for any issues, and if it is damaged, it needs to be replaced.
4. Corroded Wires & Connections
Corroded Wires & Connections are another reason why the service battery charging system indicator comes on.
Again, ensure that every inner alternator’s wirings and connections are checked, and inspect every fusible connection while looking out for any burnt one. If there is any, repair them.
5. Faulty Computer System
If the service battery charging system indicator is on and the alternator or battery is not faulty, the likely cause is a faulty computer system. Take your car to a mechanic for computer system inspection after every other problem has been checked and rectified.
How to Check Battery Charging System?
To solve your vehicle charging system issue, you should check it yourself, and you should do it the right way as well.
With the following step, you can conduct a proper check and service on your vehicle’s battery charging system yourself, irrespective of the car model.
Here are the steps:
1. Check the Battery
Before you proceed with anything, you have to first ensure that the car battery is in a good state and completely charged. Inspect the battery’s hydrometer to know whether it is indicating a green eye.
Also, check to ensure that there is no residue from corrosion in the battery terminal connections and make sure they are properly tightened. If you find any residue or corrosion, clean them up.
Again, inspect the battery terminals and ensure it is up to 12 volts without loads. Additionally, examine the battery using a test light or multimeter to ensure it is full. You can test it through the following steps;
- Position your tester towards the ‘OFF’ area.
- Then, position the multimeter selector switch towards the DV volt position.
- Ensure that the multimeter clips are in contact with the battery posts rather than the tester clips. Join both parts to the positive battery post. Then, allow the negative battery post to connect with the negative test leads.
- Arrange the load control knob towards the right side to enable the ammeter to release up to half of the battery’s cold-cranking amps.
- Inspect the multimeter reading. If it reads up to 9.6 volts at 21°C, it means the battery has good capacity. When it reads under that, it means the battery is defective. But you might have to power or charge the battery to be certain of its condition.
2. Check the Alternator
Inspect your vehicle’s alternator to make sure that it is working properly. For proper servicing of the battery charging system, you can take the following steps;
- Make sure all electrical parts are off
- Put the car in the NEUTRAL and activate the parking brake.
- Then, activate the No-Load Test and Load Test.
- Position the Battery Tester towards its ammeter operation.
- Proceed towards connecting the battery positive and negative leads to their respective battery terminals.
- Position the current probe towards the alternator B+ output lead.
- Ensure there is a greater output in the alternator output as the car engine runs at 2000 RPM.
- Position the Battery Tester towards its voltmeter settings.
- As you are arranging the voltmeter’s positive lead using the alternator B+ terminal, grind the negative lead.
- Make sure every electrical component is off.
- Keep the voltage within 13.0 to 15.0 volts while the engine runs at 2,000 rpm.
Also Read: How To Test An Alternator (3 Best Ways)
3. Check the Other Components
If there are no issues with the alternator or battery, you can inspect the other components of the battery charging system for any probable issues.
For example, you can check your charging system by inspecting the Serpentine belt for probable damage or unfastened issue.
You can also inspect the wiring system to ensure that its connections, terminals, and fuses are properly fastened and in a good state. Also, check if the harness connector that holds the alternator is much secure.
Also Read: Car Stutters When Starting (How To Fix)
How to Fix Service Charging Battery System
- Work on the alternator; if it is too faulty, then replace it.
- Replace the Serpentine Belt
- Replace the Electronic Control Unit (ECU)
- Replace the wiring system.
What to Do When Service Battery Charging System Warning Comes On
Since your car depends on a reliable electricity supply to power all the vehicle’s electrical parts, the service battery charging system won’t be an issue that would be resolved easily over time.
Therefore, you’ve to employ the services of an experienced mechanic for inspection and servicing.
If the service battery charging system indicator suddenly comes on while driving at night, locate a mechanic workshop to prevent the engine from dying down.
To gain sufficient time, you can turn off all the electrical accessories that are not being used at that time, like the air conditioner, the heater, the radio, and so on. The only thing left before the engine is silenced might be just a few miles.
Try to stop by a well-secured and bright area that is bright and employ the towing services. If the battery light comes on as you’re driving in the daytime, it means there is enough time for you to figure out the solution since you aren’t relying on electrical devices such as headlights.
For a proper check-up and servicing, you can also move your car to any good mechanic as soon as possible. However, it is not advisable to leave the electrical devices you’re not using on.
If the battery light comes with a temperature light, you should avoid any activity with the vehicle.
The water pump usually uses the same belt that powers the alternator. Therefore, if the water pump stops working, it will cause the engine to overheat, thereby leading to severe damage and costly repairs.
How Much Does It Cost to Fix Charging System Failure?
On average, your vehicle’s charging system repairs will cost you between $250 and $1,000 if you have them done by an auto mechanic. Performing the repair yourself, however, may cost less.
The cost of fixing service system failure in your car depends on the component in the charging system that requires fixing. It also depends on your vehicle brand and makes and the location.
Is It Safe to Drive With The Service Battery Charging System Indicator On?
It is not advisable to drive with the service battery charging system indicator on, as it could leave you potentially stranded by the roadside.
This is because once your car battery is faulty or your alternator and wiring is bad, it could stop functioning at any moment, thereby leaving you stranded. Therefore, a good mechanic should be consulted to avoid further damage or disappointment.
Related Questions – Service Battery Charging System
What Does It Mean When It Says “Service Battery Charging System”?
When the service battery charging system light comes on, it means that there is an issue with the charging system, often because the battery has become faulty or the alternator has ceased functioning. Whenever your vehicle refuses to start, it is caused by a bad battery that couldn’t hold a charge.
What Is the Cause of the Charging System Problem?
The most notable cause of the charging system problem is a dead battery. If the battery is not dead, then you can inspect the battery connections and the alternator. Also, terminal corrosions can reduce the conductivity, resulting in low charge situations.
Can You Drive With the Battery Light On?
If you want to drive with the battery light on, it should for a short period. As mentioned earlier, the light is a sign that the alternator has stopped charging the battery, thereby preventing your car’s electrical system from acquiring the complete power it desires. Immediately the power is dead, the car will cease movement.
How Do I Check to See if My Alternator Is Bad?
The easiest way to check if your alternator is functioning is by running the car and disconnecting the battery’s positive terminal. Once the car has stopped moving, it could be a sign of a faulty alternator. It can also be checked through shiny dashboard light, which shows a problem through an automobile charging system.
Does Autozone Check the Charging System?
Virtually all AutoZone within the USA can check your alternator, starter, or when your battery is not charging.
Why Does My Car Say ‘Not Charging’?
When you are driving, and the battery is not charging, you will know that there is a mechanical problem. It could be a result of a faulty alternator that leads to a parasitic drain on the battery, or that the battery needs replacement as it is old.
What Will Happen if the Charging System Fails?
If your charging system fails, the most common sign is loss of power. In other words, your car will lose power. Another possible result could be dim or flickering light within the cabin or dimmer headlights. If your vehicle loses power completely, it will fail to start.
Why Is My Battery Light Coming on and Off?
If your battery light is coming on and off, it means that your charging system is faulty. It could be due to a weak battery, voltage regulator failure, or a bad alternator. If the alternator is not functioning well, the battery quickly loses charge, and the car loses every power.
How Does the Charging System Does Operates
Vehicle charging systems provide electrical energy to power your car as you’re driving and keep the battery’s charge. Again, the voltage regulator helps to keep the battery fully charged. Once the battery loses its charge, it triggers the voltage regulator to send a message to the alternator to recharge the battery.