Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Charging System Failure on van

asked by on

I am having the Charging System Failure warning light come on in my van. My electric assist power steering locks up as soon as it does. My battery is currently reading 11.2 amps, though when I first started the van up it was at 11.4, and dropped to 11.2 as soon as I tried to turn. I checked the battery leads, and they are tight, snug, and free of corrosion. I saw online where it said it could be that the cables are loose, the battery is bad, or the alternator is weak. I checked the cables, as stated, and they are fine. I have no way to test the battery or alternator. My guess is that the battery is holding a charge of above 11.2, but that the alternator dumps out when it tries to charge on it. Another option is that the alternator is weak and cannot charge and maintain the running of the van.

A: It definitely sounds like you are experienc...

It definitely sounds like you are experiencing a charging issue. The alternator is the component responsible for charging the battery in a vehicle. System voltage needs to be a minimum of 12 volts. Anything less than this could potentially create issues with electronic components. The easiest way to diagnose a faulty alternator is to disconnect the battery's positive + cable while the engine is running. If the engine stalls the alternator is not charging. If it continues to run the alternator is good. If you need help, an experienced technician, such as one from YourMechanic, can test your charging system and determine what repairs you should move forward with.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: What does the Park Assist Off message mean?

The Park Assist Off message can appear in the driver information center (DIC). When the DIC displays this alert, a temporary issue has disabled the park assist system. When the issue is resolved, the alert will go away.

Q: Battery voltage is low.

Hello. If the battery voltage reads low on the gauge then that is a sign that the charging system is not functioning correctly. If the alternator is brand new then there is little chance that it is the source of...

Q: Power steering issues - 2005 Mitsubishi Eclipse

I would recommend checking with the part manufacturer of the power steering pump as well as inquiring about the labor for when the power steering pump was installed the first time. This is not something that should have occurred a...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...