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Diagnosing And Rectifying Your Vehicle’s Charging System Troubles

Identifying and Fixing Car Charging System Problems Yourself

Your car’s battery is similar to a small powerhouse which stores enough to power your gauges, lights, accessories and electronic systems. But as is the function of other vehicle components, this system may also experience troubles in its working course.

For instance, have you encountered troubles such as:

  • Flickering gauges
  • Blurred headlights
  • Dead battery, etc.

Any or all of these conditions in your vehicle could signify a weak charging system.

And this is not all that the charging system does to your vehicle. Apart from the lights and other electrical systems, it also powers every electrical and  electronic system in your car while the vehicle is running.

Therefore, charging system troubles in your vehicle could lead to various grave consequences such as leaving you stranded without the battery power needed for the engine to start and run.

However, if you know the symptoms of your vehicle, you could easily find ways to mitigate and rectify the charging system troubles that your vehicle experiences.

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Some of the common charging system troubles which are prominently encountered are as follows:

Battery Is Found Dead Every Morning:

No matter how much you charge it- when you try to start the engine in the morning, it is already waiting dead. Also if the weather conditions are extremely cold, this can aggravate the problem. The result will be a non-starting car, needing a booster.

When you find your car’s battery chronically dead especially in the morning, this could be either a fault of the battery itself, your car’s charging system or you may have something draining the battery. If the problem is a system in the vehicle draining the battery, this will also be more difficult to pinpoint and repair.


To diagnose the charging system troubles, you would probably need a voltmeter. Start the car and check the voltage present at the battery terminals. Anything below 13 volts in terms of readings would probably indicate a defective alternator or inefficient regulator.

The battery many times can also be the cause of charging system issues. Here is what you could do to help it:

  • If the battery is serviceable, check the content of the electrolyte and refill it if found low. Low electrolyte can cause the battery to die.
  • Pull off the battery terminals and thoroughly clean them and the battery posts where they connect. The battery corrosion will often cause an obstruction to the flow of the electrons. After you charge the battery again, test and ensure that it still holds the charge.
  • Apart from the terminals and electrolyte, the charging system trouble could also be caused when either the lead oxide plates in the battery deteriorate or they become internally short. If this happens, you probably need to change the battery.

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The Lights Get Faded As The Vehicle Runs:

This is one of the common charging system troubles which the vehicles mostly experience with their age. If you too experience any such troubles, here is what you could do:

  • Begin with diagnosing the alternator since the alternator supplies the power to the battery, lights and electrical components while the engine is running. Examine the wiring and connections at the alternator and battery and repair them if loose, damaged or corroded.
  • Check your battery’s charge with the help of a voltmeter. A voltage below 13.1 indicates that the alternator is inefficient in terms of the battery’s charging needs. This may be caused by the alternator itself, a loose alternator belt, an incorrect battery or a higher than specified electrical load in the vehicle. For example, many aftermarket high-power stereo amplifiers will require more amperage to operate than the original alternator the vehicle was equipped with can supply. This will lead to low alternator output and eventual failure of the alternator.

Clicking Noise When You Start Your Car:

When you start your car’s engine, if it offers a clicking sound, this may indicate a low battery or defective starter. The source of the problem may then lead to charging system troubles in the vehicle.

For instance, when the battery does not have the power to completely employ the solenoid and starter Bendix in order to wholly occupy the starter motor, you could always hear a clicking sound. If this happens normally, here is what you could do:

  • Clicking sounds could be caused due to improper charging by the alternator. And this could be a complicated issue which needs the assistance of an expert. Call a car mechanic and get your battery and charging system tested.
  • Clicking sounds can also occur when the relay or starter solenoid turns faulty. If the solenoid or relay is not able to supply enough power to engage the starter-motor, you can use a remote starter switch to test the starter by bypassing the solenoid.

Alternator Making Noises:

If vibrating or “roaring” noises appear to be arising from the alternator, here are some of the steps which you could use to rectify them:

  • Ensure that the alternator is properly and securely mounted and it experiences no excess movement.
  • Ensure no wearing or looseness on the alternator belt. If you find so, tighten or replace them as necessary. Also, ensure that the belt is aligned properly. Inappropriately fitted alternator belts do often produce whining sounds and can damage bearings in the alternator.
  • Sometimes, the alternator pulley flange can become bent and result in the belt running out of alignment or cause excessive wear and noise to the belt. Check the belt pulley flanges for this.

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When you repeatedly employ these methods to improve your alternator and the charging system, the alternator itself can become degraded after some time. Get your vehicle checked timely and consider changing the complete alternator unit when required.

The Lights Blaze Unreasonably When There’s An Increase In Engine Speed:

This is generally an unlikely scenario, but this too occurs when the battery gets overcharged and is caused due to excessively high alternator voltage.

All these overcharging troubles normally occur due to defective regulator or a short-circuit in the rotor field wiring.  If this happens, you would probably need to change the alternator.


The charging system troubles could become overwhelming when they are not correctly identified in advance and result in complete loss of electrical power in your vehicle.

So if you suspect that the car’s charging system or the battery experiences troubles, you should follow the above steps to eliminate them.

And if you are not too experienced to handle any such situations, you could call the expert car-repair mechanics to assist you with the trouble.

For instance, if you reside in Los Angeles, you can consult ‘Car Inspectors’ which is one of the leading vehicle inspection/ repair services of the region.

When you contact the agency, you get ASE-certified, fully trained, experienced and highly reliable vehicle technicians to offer on-site vehicle repairs, service and tune-ups no matter what kind of trouble you face.

Plus, you could also contact ‘Car Inspectors’ to get highly efficient, used vehicle inspection services at the desired location. Following this, you get detailed reports about the vehicle which will help you deem the car fit or unfit for purchase.

For any kind of used vehicle inspection or repair services, contact ‘Car Inspectors’ today!