How can someone sustain their car quality and performance without paying attention to the charging system?
These programs are devised to manage the electrical energy/power surge in the vehicle, fostering consistent battery charges for long road trips.
So troubles are clearly at play once the charging system warning light is suddenly flickering!
As usual, Bryan’s expert team of mobile mechanics has entered the scene to deliver the root causes and immediate treatment tips for this dilemma.
What Is A Battery Charging System Light
Before diving into a vehicle charging system warning light, we should briefly discuss what a charging system even is in the first place to streamline the resetting process later.
An average car model boasts numerous electrical components, such as air conditioning heaters, check engine lights (click here to solve intermittent flashing issues), ABS control units, and radios – all of which are battery-powered.
As the batteries have to provide power to so many segments, their draining is just a matter of time.
So how can you keep them from dying after minutes? Here is where your car’s charging system will take over, producing alternative power throughout the rest of the trip.
Hence, the battery can maintain its charge while your automobile operates, never draining completely.
In short: the key battery takes charge of transferring mechanical energy to the car’s starter –
while your charging systems produce the required current to keep these batteries charged and power other accessory components simultaneously.
Charge Warning Light
The charging system light will flicker every time the powertrain control modules detect that the currents in your electrical load go below a particular benchmark (usually 12.6v).
The center display avatars of charging system issues differ across different vehicle models. Some show battery icons, while others display acronyms or words like CHG, ALT, or BATT.
Nevertheless, they all refer to the same thing: a series of serious errors/faults in the charging system.
One thing to note: most vehicle charging system light types will turn on naturally whenever the car is started – which is completely normal.
But if they do not switch off after seconds, it’s time to inspect them (with the help of certified mechanics if necessary) to see whether further problems are at play.
Why Is The Charging System Warning Light Turned On?
Experts and seasoned drivers have listed the five most common faulty components: bad batteries, rusty battery terminals, loose battery cables, bad alternators, and wiring problems.
Let’s look at each of them quickly!
1. Loose Battery Cables
Loose cables in the batteries might result in a poor battery power exchange with the alternator. They must always stay tight – to the point that moving them with your bare fingers is impossible.
If you are uncertain about the tightness of this electrical connection, we suggest using pliers or wrenches to strengthen them. Just do not overdo it; overtightening may strip off the bolts.
2. Rusty Battery Terminals
Battery terminals are expected to conduct consistent and strong electricity. Unfortunately, like every electrical component, they might rust and develop wear due to frequent usage and natural causes.
Terminal corrosion often shows blue, green, or white colors that only worsen with relentless heat. These acidic substances eventually eat your terminals away.
One way is to scrub them with a water/baking soda solution and a brush (as stiff as possible). Wear protective garments to prevent skin irritation.
3. Malfunctioning/Broken Alternators
Another reason might be hidden problems with the car’s alternators.
A typical alternator receives power from the crank pulleys, changing them into electricity that your battery will store for long periods.
Serious issues with their function might occur suddenly over time – but regardless, they will cause numerous defects and failures in the vehicle’s electrical components, including its charging system.
Also, the usual limit for voltage regulator energy output is 14.5 volts, so its failure to live up to this threshold might also be the culprit behind your blinking warning lights.
One clear symptom of such phenomena is the dimming auto headlights – keep an eye on them.
More tips about bad alternators and their influences on the battery can be read here.
4. Bad Batteries
Batteries in most conventional cars and vehicles have lead plates and lead dioxide submerged in a solution of sulfur acid electrolyte (applied to all six cells).
Their typical lifespans are quite short – only 3 to 5 years; once this period is over, the weak battery system might suffer from broken plates or leaking solutions, resulting in dead batteries whose replacements are needed.
5. Wiring Problems
Lastly, it’s important to double-check the wiring in your car. Faulty wirings might keep the batteries from holding charges, causing a startlingly quick energy drain in the automobile.
Plus, the wire installation should also be considered.
Though you might set these wires up correctly at first, they can still malfunction or loosen over time, requiring further visual inspections by auto service shops in the cases of failures.
How to Reset The Automotive Charging System Warning Light
The simplest method to settle this problem for good is to perform a quick and simple dashboard light reset – of course, after you have already addressed the above issues (cleaning the rusty terminals, tightening the loose cables, etc.).
Here is a quick guideline on how to do so:
Step 1. Ensure You Already Have The Batteries Charged
The first thing to do when the charging system lights flicker is to check whether the batteries are charged. You can observe the auxiliary battery voltage level and scan it with voltmeters.
Is the level less than 12 volts? Then charge your batteries first before proceeding to the other steps illustrated below.
Step 2. Disconnect Your Batteries
It’s time to disconnect your batteries by removing the cables linked to the negative terminals. This move should be simple enough – even for beginners or inexperienced drivers.
One note: do not forget your safety equipment and garments (ex: gloves, goggles, protective clothes) during the process.
Numerous cases have reported strong sparks that fly out when the cables are disconnected.
Step 3. Wait
After the battery is disconnected, leave it there for at least half an hour before continuing. That will enable your system to start the resetting/charging procedure automatically.
Step 4. Reconnect The Battery
When 30 minutes have passed, reconnect the cables to their negative battery terminals. Again, like in the previous stages, remember to wear gloves, goggles, and thick clothes during the process.
Sparks can attack you anytime!
Other Alternatives Methods
- Jumpstarting. Another great trick is to jumpstart your car using jumper cables. When the vehicle has sprung into operation, remove those cables and turn the ignition off.
- Unplugging. We also recommend resetting the failure light by identifying and unplugging the diagnostic plug. Wait for five minutes before replugging and starting the car. Your automobile should be back to normal!
- Bringing it to a professional auto repair facility. That’s the last resort when all the above methods fail to fix things. The auto technicians will help troubleshoot potential issues in the vehicle for you.
1. Is It Alright if I Drive With My Charging System Indicator Light Flickering?
Just no; that’s the fastest route to hell!
A charging system is responsible for delivering sufficient energy and electrical power for the car. Your failure to fix them at the right time setting will strand and reduce the actual vehicle speed.
Also, the car can stop running at any point without warning due to leaking brake fluids, bad wiring, faulty alternators, and failing batteries.
So do not put off the issue any longer; make appointments with a mechanic immediately!
2. What Is The Average Cost of Charging System Fixes?
The average market price for charging system repairs often ranges from $400 to $1000, including insulation kits for specific compartments (alternators, cables, wiring, etc.), the period of time required for diagnosis, and system testing after everything is done.
Why does my charging system warning light display keep flickering non-stop? Is it just a small malfunction, or does my car suffer from something much more serious?
This article has explored all these above questions by listing many possible reasons behind the light’s sudden blinking.
Though the causes are diverse, we, fortunately, have a one-size-fits-all solution for them: resetting the light! Keep those guidelines in mind to resolve this inducing-headache issue in no time.