Occasionally see "service charging system" on the DIC. W...

Q: Occasionally see "service charging system" on the DIC. What might be the problem?

asked by on November 28, 2016

Start-up in the morning; Battery Volts (on the DIC) is around 11V. I get the alert for a couple of miles, with the voltage not moving from 11V, then the battery voltage goes up to ~ 14V. I get a small amount of (hardly noticeable) squeaking when I start the car in the morning. Could my problem be an intermittently slipping serpentine belt? I see no other symptoms (such as heavy steering or A/C stopping) and the voltage fluctuates between 13.6 to 14V once the SCS alert goes away. The voltage sometimes drops to 12 - 12.3V when pulling away from the lights but immediately goes back to 13.6 - 14V. I believe the belt was changed 4 or 5 months ago because of a leaky water pump. The alternator is the original. Battery is probably 18 months old. So... Serpentine Belt, alternator or battery?

My car has 76000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

This may be a sign of a weak battery, a failing voltage regulator or failing alternator. As you know, if the belt is loose and enough torque is supplied, this may cause the belt to slip slightly causing the alternator not to spin as it should resulting in a momentary drop in amperage. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose your alternator.

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