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Q: What does charging system failure mean?

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A charging system failure light came on and it's hard to turn the steering wheel

My car has 120000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

It sounds like your alternator or voltage regulator may be failing causing the battery to not be charged properly. When this happens the drop in voltage will cause the charging system failure light to come on. As you know, the alternator is responsible for maintaining the proper charge on the battery, while the voltage regulator regulates the rate at which the alternator charges the battery. When either of these two components is not working properly, this causes a fluctuation in the battery charging pattern. I would recommend having a professional from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

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