Charging System Failure: What It Means And How to Fix It

Charging system failure is a problem in the car that means your car is not able to retain or create a charge. There are different causes of a failure in the charging system, usually because of a bad alternator, but also due to a loose serpentine belt or faulty electrical system.

Charging System Failure

When your charging system is failing, you will notice that the headlights are dim or flickering, it will be hard to start the engine, or the battery will die frequently. In this guide, we will look at how you can fix charging system failure.

How to Fix a Charging System Failure in Your Car?

You can fix a charging system failure in your car by checking the different parts, like the battery, charging system, and fuses. The charging system is in charge of creating, storing, and supplying electrical energy to the car. Here is how to fix the charging system failure.

1. Check the Battery

When you want to fix your charging system, the first thing you should do is check your battery. If the battery is damaged or old, it can cause damage to the charging system. You should change your bad battery to a new one if this is the case, and the charging system will begin working. If there are no charging problems with the battery, you can move to the next step.

2. Check Your Charging System

You should check your charging system for any damage once you check the battery. The charging system consists of the battery, alternator, and voltage regulator, and you should assess it for any form of damage.

Checking Car Battery Charging System

You will need to use a voltmeter to check the charging system. Start by disconnecting the negative battery cable of the system, and then attach the voltmeter to the positive terminal of the battery. It should also be connected to the negative terminal of the voltage regulator.

When you look at the voltmeter, and it reads 14 volts or more, the charging system is functioning properly. But if not, this is a sign that there is something wrong with the alternator. If there is nothing wrong, you should try out the third step.

3. Assess the Fuses

If the battery and alternator are not the problems, you should check the fuses instead. The charging system is fitted with different fuses, which can fail and cause issues for your car. If you want to check the fuses, look for the fuse box in our car. Remove each one and check for a blown fuse, and replace the damaged ones.

How to Fix Alternator Causing Charging System Failure?

You can fix your alternator if it is causing a charging system failure by checking the belt, cleaning the terminals, or replacing the alternator altogether. If the alternator of your car is damaged, you will get flickering or dim headlights.


The alternator will not be able to charge the battery of your car, causing lights to flicker. Aside from the flickering lights, there are other symptoms of a bad alternator. For one, it might be hard to start the engine, or your battery will die often. If you’re driving, you can also hear strange electrical noises under the hood.

1. Assess the Drive Belt

If you want to fix your alternator, the first thing you should do is check the drive belt. This belt powers a pulley in which the alternator is driven. The pulley is connected to the engine by a belt, and when the belt gets damaged or loose, the alternator will fail.

If you want to check the belt of your alternator, all you have to do is open the hood of the car and inspect it. Check for any damage or cracks on the belt, and test the belt tension and if you notice any faults, the best thing to do is replace it. You can purchase a new one or work with a professional mechanic.

2. Clean Corroded Terminals

If the belt of your car does not have any damage, you should check the terminals next. The alternator is fitted with two terminals which are positive and negative. Over time and with use, the terminals of your car become corroded. With corroded terminals, there will be a problem with the electrical connection between the battery and the alternator.

Cleaning Corroded Battery Terminals

You can clean the terminals yourself and won’t have to call a mechanic. To do so, start by disconnecting them from the battery. Then, use a wire brush to get rid of any corrosion and reconnect it once they are clean. Test the alternator to see if it is fixed. If not, you can go for the final step on our list.

3. Get a New Alternator

If the belt of your car is tight and the terminals are clean, then the only thing left for you is to replace the entire alternator. Alternators wear out eventually and will require replacement. In this case, you should work with a mechanic to replace your alternator.

How To Test Your Alternator?

To test an alternator there are different ways to do it if you suspect that it is damaged. When you replace the belt and clean the terminals, you should test your alternator to see if it is fixed. If it is not fixed, you will have to replace it outright.

1. Check Using a Voltmeter

The best way to test your alternator is to use a voltmeter to check it. You can connect the voltmeter to the battery while the engine is running, and if the voltage is 14 or more, then the alternator is fine.

2. Use a Multimeter

Another method to use when testing your alternator is the multimeter. This is used in measuring the resistance of the field coil of your alternator. When you use the multimeter, the value should be above 15. If it is lower than this, the alternator is faulty, and you should replace it. If you’re unsure about how the alternator works, it would be better to work with a professional mechanic.

How To Check Reason for Check Charging System Light?

To check the reason for the check charging system you will need to test the alternator, the belt, the computer system, battery and wires and connections. The check charging system light is an indicator that lets you know that the system has failed.

When the light comes on, it means the car is running mostly on battery power because the system is not charging. If you ignore the light, the charging system will eventually fail, and the battery won’t be able to recharge. There are different reasons why the charging system light might be on.

  • Check the Alternator

The alternator is the main reason why this light might come on, and you should test the voltage and replace it with a new one. You can follow the steps mentioned earlier in this guide to fix the alternator belt.

  • Check the Belt

A faulty belt will stop the alternator from working and turn the warning light on. Check the condition of the belt, and if it needs replacing, do so.

  • Check the Computer System

Another issue in your car can be the computer system. You should test the electronic control unit of your car if you don’t find any other issues.

  • Check the Battery

If your battery is low and needs to be replaced or you have battery problems, it can turn the charging system light on. Test your car battery charging strength, and if it is low, replace it.

  • Check the Wires and Connections

With corroded wires and battery connections, your charging system light will come on. Clean all the connections and ensure the battery clamps are tight and clean. Also, check for fusible and burned links. You can ask a mechanic for help with this.

How to Identify the Parts of a Charging System?

The parts of a charging system include the alternator, voltage regulator, and battery. The charging system is in charge of generating, storing, and supplying electrical energy to the car. With the charging system, you can start the engine, recharge the battery, and turn on the lights of the car.

  • Identify the Alternator

The alternator is an important part of the charging system that is used to convert mechanical to electrical energy. This device is mostly found in automobiles and other vehicles, as it is used to power electronic devices like lights. The alternator functions with a spinning belt that spins different magnets inside a wire coil.

Identifying Car Alternator

As it spins, it will produce an electric current, and this is transported to the battery. If the engine is off, the alternator does not function, and the electrical system will be powered by the battery instead. You can find the charging system at the front of the engine.

  • Identify the Voltage Regulator

Another device in the charging system is the voltage regulator. This is used to regulate the voltage in the electrical system, and it is mostly used in different vehicles, including automobiles. The regulator works by monitoring the alternator output and checking the electric flow to the battery.

With the regulator in your car, you can retain a consistent charging rate for your battery. If the regulator is faulty, the battery will overcharge or undercharge, and it will cause damage to the battery. You can check the engine compartment of your car to find the regulator.

  • Identify the Battery

The battery is another important device in the charging system, and it is used for storing electrical energy. This is used in automobiles and other cars as a store of power and will turn on the lights and other electronic devices in the car. The service battery charging power will convert chemical energy to electrical energy.

Identifying Car Battery

When the engine goes off, the battery will replace the engine as the main source of power and control the electrical system. So, if the battery stops working, the entire electrical system will fail too. You can locate the battery inside the engine compartment of the vehicle.

Frequently Asked Questions

– What Happens With a Failed Charging System?

A failed charging system will stop your battery from recharging, and the battery will eventually run down. Your car will be unable to retain or create a charge. This will leave you with a spoiled battery, and you will have to fix it.

– Will the Charging System Drain Your Battery?

Yes, a faulty charging system will drain your battery if the alternator is not working to push out enough voltage. The battery will continue to lose power while the car is still running, leading to a dead battery and a stalled car.

– Can You Drive With a Faulty Charging System?

No, it is not advisable to drive with a faulty charging system. You can technically still drive if the alternator of your car is bad, but this is not ideal because the car can stop running eventually. This is because your car might be running on battery power alone.

– What Can You Do To Prevent Charging System Failure?

To prevent charging system failure, you should monitor the condition of your battery and ensure it is always charged. Also, you should constantly check your alternator and make sure that it is working properly. Whenever you get your car checked out, you should ask the mechanic to check the system.

Can a Car Cigarette Lighter Not Working Cause a Charging System Failure?

If your car cigarette lighter is not working, it is unlikely to cause a charging system failure. However, common causes and fixes for car cigarette lighter issues include blown fuses, faulty wiring connections, or a defective lighter socket. It’s always best to address these problems promptly to ensure your vehicle’s electrical system operates smoothly.


When you have a charging system failure, you can apply the different solutions in this guide to fix it or go to a mechanic instead.

Here’s a summary of what we covered before you go:

  • To fix a failed charging system, you should check the battery, charging system, and fuses.
  • You can repair your alternator by checking the belt, cleaning the corroded terminal, and getting a new alternator.
  • The charging system or battery light might come on if there is a problem with the alternator, battery, wires, computer system, and belt.

With our complete guide, you can take good care of your charging system and ensure your car continues to run well. It’s important to consistently monitor your car battery and alternator.

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