Q: Battery good, alternator good, brand new alternator cable, still not charging.

asked by on June 11, 2017

I need help finding out what could be wrong with my charging system. One day my 2003 Expedition didn't start, got a jump start and took it to auto zone to check. Battery voltage was too low to test, so I took battery out and left it out overnight, next morning picked it up, they said battery was good and held charge. Put battery back in and took it for testing, their test said the voltage regulator was bad, so bought a new alternator, installed it, same thing, not charging. Took old alternator back so they could run a bench test, old alternator came back good. So I just recently replaced the alternator cable thinking maybe it was the cable... nothing, still not getting a charge. My multimeter is only reading the current volts on the battery while engine is running, reading 12.4 volts and slowly draining. I can't think of anything else. As far as I know, I don't know of any fuses or relays assigned to the charging system. Please help. Thank you.

My car has 190000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Battery will not hold a charge Inspection $79.99 - $99.99 Get a Quote

Hi There, The first diagnosis of the bad voltage regulator is likely the cause of your charging system not properly charging the battery. When the voltage regulator is not working properly, this may result in the alternator allowing too much power to be delivered to the battery resulting in damaging wires and prematurely sometimes destroying the battery. In other cases it may result in the alternator not supplying enough power to the battery, resulting in undercharging the battery or not charging it at all. In some cases when a battery is too weak or damaged, it may no longer hold a charge for any length of time, in which case the alternator may be doing its job, but the battery is just simply too weak to hold a charge. In either case, I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose your vehicle’s charging system.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing


Experienced Mechanic?

Earn up to $65/hr

What others are asking

I just replaced my fuel pump and now the truck is acting like its not getting gas

Hi Justin. Thanks for contacting us today. There are several possible reasons why you are not getting fuel from the fuel pump. First, if the pump was not correctly installed or primed, it may fail quickly. It's also possible that...

How do I adjust the temperature?

The temperature is adjusted with the Temperature Control knob. Rotate this knob clockwise to increase the temperature, or counterclockwise to decrease the temperature.

My speedometer, odometer, and RPM meter all go in and out of operation. What could cause this?

The speed sensors used to calculate the readings on the instrument cluster often cause drivability problems when they fail like weird shifting or the car won't start so I'm leaning toward a malfunction in the cluster itself or a loose...

Truck has trouble starting, idle's too low, losing power, check engine light is on.

You may want to try and run some combustion cleaner into the intake. You can get the good cleaner from any Ford parts store. You use a small rubber hose and allow it to get sucked into the engine slowly...

2003 Ford Focus is overheating

It could be. Around 2000 many manufacturers including Ford started using plastic water pump impellers. In this way they messed up one of the worlds simplest and reliable devices. The center of the plastic impeller can get loose and allow...

1997 ford f150 5.4L V8 4x4, rough idle, truck shakes, sometimes shuts off

Hello - the P0171 and P0174 are lean condition indicators for both sides (cylinder heads) of the engine. This problem could be caused by several problems: dirty or malfunctioning idle air control valve, dirty fuel injectors, air leak in the...

Ripped cv boot

Driving with an axle boot that is torn will cause the internal lubricating grease to get washed out of the joint and dirt to get into the joint. If you have to make a trip it should be able to...

Car won't start due to cracked oil pan

Your car has an aluminum oil pan. They can not be repaired. Driving with an oil leak isn’t safe. Oil can catch fire if it leaks on the exhaust. If you car is cranking, but not starting, there is a...

I have no tail lights but all other lights work

Hey there. You should check to see if you have front parking lights. If the front parking lights work, then the rear parking lights will have bad bulbs or sockets for the bulbs. The front and rear parking lights are...

Related articles

2012 Ford Fusion vs. 2012 Toyota Camry: Which Should I Buy?
While most people believe that domestic sedans just cannot compete with the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, the industry leaders, that is not necessarily true. Yes, there are some metrics where the Camry just excels, however the Ford Fusion...
2012 Nissan Rogue vs. 2012 Ford Escape: Which One Should I Buy?
Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) use the chassis of a truck to provide superior structure, with a larger size and often poor gas mileage. While that isn’t always true, SUVs have a raised ground clearance and are generally meant to haul...
The Best Used Cars to Buy If You’re a Vet
The The best car for a vet to own largely depends on the type of practice he or she has. Large animal vets are probably going to want something that delivers a fair bit of power, and possibly even towing...