Q: Charging System Not Working (Alternator is not kicking in)

asked by on

While driving home this past Tuesday I noticed the Instrument Cluster gauges were not working and they had worked the prior day. Also it seemed the overdrive was not kicking in either. As I was driving home I noticed the the lights in the dash board were dimming out as if the car losing power. Five minutes after I noticed the lights dimming out the car died on me. I had it towed suspect it was the alternator and since it was under warranty I received another one and had the batter charged. I installed everything back on the car the charging system is still not kicking to charge the battery, also the gauges are still not working. It seems to be that there is something missing in the charging cycle. I know the clusters are somehow tied in to the charging system. All the lights in the cluster work good, there were no warning lights that came on.

The car had been running fine before this.

Today I am going to check the relays to make sure they are good.


For your help

My car has 150000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

The battery should be load tested by a professional. Load testing can only be reliably performed on a fully charged battery. If the battery passes a load test, you have to be sure it is NOT a marginal pass in which case you should install a new battery to reduce diagnostic headaches. Batteries are a VERY important component in a car’s electrical system so the condition of the battery is a threshold issue in your circumstance. Check the integrity of all electrical connections including grounds to the frame in the charging circuit. Even a tiny bit of added resistance will cause enough of a voltage drop that systems just won’t work right. The output of the alternator has to be tested at the battery posts. If the charging output is out of spec. (typically lower than 14.5 volts, but your Factory Service Manual is the authority) then the charging circuit is simply traced until the fault is found and repaired. Again, it could just simply be a high resistance (faulty) connection. If you desire that a certified mechanic resolve this promptly, please simply request a battery/charging system diagnostic and the responding mechanic will get the problem diagnosed and repaired for you. Please let us know if you have further concerns or questions as we are always here to help you.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Charging System Not Working (Alternator is not kicking in)

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

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Engine hesitates when warm - 1997 Toyota Tercel

Hi there. As you already know, replacing components without diagnoses can be expensive and time consuming without resolution. A few things come to mind concerning the lack of performance. First, camshaft timing needs to be checked. When the engine is...

Q: changed altenator, still no power going to battery

If the alternator is "new", and thus presumably good, the vehicle engine is running, the alternator drive belt is appropriately tightened, and yet you are not getting around 14.5 volts of charging current at the battery posts, that means there...

Q: Q: How do you adjust the sound?

Your car’s radio offers a number of different functions, including the ability to adjust the sound to your tastes and preferences. Here’s how to do it: Press the audio button. It will display the various functions you can adjust,...

Related articles

P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.