P0561 code definition
If the PCM detects an abnormal voltage reading from the battery, the charging system, or the starting system, it will store the P0561 code.
What the P0561 code means
Even when a vehicle is off, the battery supplies electricity to the ECM, which uses that power to store code histories, fuel trim values, and various other data. If the battery voltage falls below a specific level, the ECM assumes that there is a fault in the power supply circuit, and will alert the PCM to store the P0561 code.
What causes the P0561 code?
The P0561 code is most often caused by a dead or weakened battery. It may also be due to a defective battery, or one of the following causes:
- Loose alternator drive belt
- Faulty alternator
- Opened or shorted voltage circuit
- Faulty starter
- Opened or shorted battery cables
- Defective voltage regulator
- Corroded battery terminal ends
- Another malfunctioning system that is causing battery drain
- Faulty PCM in very rare cases
What are the symptoms of the P0561 code?
Common symptoms of the P0561 code may include improper shifting, a decrease in fuel efficiency, engine stalling when idling, slow starting, and the illumination of the Check Engine Light. Low battery power may result in interior lights or other electrical components that don’t function properly.
How does a mechanic diagnose the P0561 code?
In order to properly diagnose the root cause of the P0561 code, a mechanic should first perform a visual inspection of the wiring, connectors, and battery cables, and replace or repair any that are faulty. After clearing the code, the mechanic should perform a retest of the system, to ensure that this simple repair did or did not solve the issue. If the mechanic successfully recreates the failure, and the code is stored in the PCM again, they may move on to other repairs.
Common mistakes when diagnosing the P0561 code
The most common mistake when diagnosing the P0561 code is a hyper-focus on the battery and starter, when the alternator is often a common problem with this code. It’s important to check if the alternator is properly charging, and that the vehicle’s charging system is operating correctly.
It is also important to be sure that the P0561 code is cleared from the PCM after every repair is performed, and the system is retested. With each clearance and retest, the mechanic will be able to get closer to the true cause of the problem.
How serious is the P0561 code?
If the P0561 code is stored in the PCM, it represents a potentially very serious issue that should be addressed as soon as possible. If the charging system, starter, and/or battery are not working properly, it is unlikely that the vehicle will be operational for very long. As soon as this code is detected, the issue should be diagnosed and repaired.
What repairs can fix the P0561 code?
Repairs that can be performed to fix the P0561 code include:
- Recharging or replacing the battery.
- Repairing or replacing faulty alternator drive belt.
- Repairing or replacing a faulty alternator.
- Repairing or replacing a faulty starter.
- Repairing or replacing opened or shorted battery cables.
- Repairing or replacing a defective voltage regulator.
- Repairing corroded battery terminal ends.
- Diagnosing and repairing any malfunctioning systems that may be causing battery drain.
- Manually comparing the starter current draw readings with the manufacturer’s specifications, and repairing any circuits or system wiring as necessary.
- Replacing a faulty PCM in very rare cases.
Need help with a P0561 code?
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