Every time you jump in your vehicle and turn the key, you count on your charging system to keep your car powered. If your system is experiencing problems, you’ll likely see the check charging system or battery light come on – something you don’t want to see, especially when you’re running late for work. Read on to learn more about charging system and the check charging system light.
What is the charging system?
Made up of the alternator, battery, wiring and electronic control unit (ECU), your vehicle’s charging system keeps your battery charged. It also delivers the energy necessary to run the lights, radio and other electrical components while the engine is running.
What’s happening when the battery/check charging system light comes on?
Whenever this light goes on, it means that the vehicle is running solely on battery power. If the problem continues and your charging system fails, the battery won’t be able to recharge and it will soon run down, leaving you with a dead battery. Nothing can ruin a day like a dead battery, so if this light comes on, it’s time to take your vehicle to your trusted mechanic to have them find the source of the problem.
Please note that depending upon your vehicle, you might have a battery light and/or check charging system light. Check your owner’s manual to learn what warning lights your car has.
What can cause my battery/check charging system light to come on?
Unfortunately, there isn’t one answer as to why the battery/check charging system light comes on. The good news is that your mechanic has the know-how to get to the bottom of the issue. The following are some parts that can cause the battery/check charging system warning light to come on.
Alternator issues - Many times, the alternator is the root of the problem when your check charging system/battery light comes on. Have your mechanic test the voltage coming from your alternator. If the voltage is low, your mechanic will likely replace your weak alternator with a new one.
Battery problems - Your battery/check charging system light could be coming on because your battery is low and needs replacing. Take your vehicle to your mechanic and have them test your battery strength.
Drive belt troubles – A failed drive belt prohibits the alternator from doing its job and can cause the warning light to come on. Have your mechanic check the condition of your vehicle’s drive belt. It could be faulty and need replacing.
Corroded wires and connections - Have your mechanic clean all of the connections and make sure the battery clamps are clean and tight. Additionally, have them inspect all internal alternator wirings and connections and also have them check all of the fusible links and look for any burned links. If they are burned, get them repaired.
Faulty computer system - If your vehicle isn’t having alternator or battery issues, it could be a computer issue. Have your mechanic test your vehicle’s computer system after all other issues have been tested and cleared.
Is it safe to drive with the battery/check charging system light on?
Driving with your battery/check charging system light illuminated could leave you stranded. If your vehicle has a failing battery, faulty alternator or bad wiring, it could stop working at any time. Make an appointment with your mechanic before your car puts you on the side of the road.
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