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.

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

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

My car twice out of 4 times today would not start on the first time. Second time started fine. At 2 read lights it was sort of je

Hello, thank you for writing in. Your symptoms point towards an issue with fuel or spark. If you just had work done on the fuel system, you may wan to have your fuel pressure tested at the engine. This will...

Low oil light on even though I have oil in car.

Hello. The symbol that you are getting on the dash means that the computer has placed the engine in reduced power mode. This occurs as the engine computer tries to protect the engine from damage due to a condition it...

Car not starting smoothly.

Hello, it sounds like you have a leaking injector. When you hold down the gas pedal, it puts the computer into clear flood mode and does not inject fuel into the engine. Once you clear the fuel, it starts and...

Related articles

Can a Car Battery Overheat in Hot Weather?
Hot weather can cause battery fluid to evaporate and make it hard to start your car. Battery overcharging decreases the lifespan of your battery.
Symptoms of a Bad or Failing AC Belt
If your car squeals when you turn on the AC, has cracks in the AC belt, or is unable to defrost the windshield, you may need to replace the AC belt.
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Chevrolet Impala
A A true classic, the 2012 Chevrolet Impala may not have all of the latest high-tech features of other sedans on the market, but it is a tried-and-true model with lots of room, plenty of comfortable features, and a large...