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Every car utilizes plenty of electricity for specific equipment like ignition and more. Vehicles usually have a rechargeable battery along with a charging system that replenishes it whenever required. In modern cars, however, these batteries are charged by alternators.
Sometimes, you may see a battery light indicating on your Toyota Tacoma’s dashboard like a warning. Popularly known as the Check Charging System light, this may appear when something’s malfunctioning with your car’s battery.
To fix this issue, you have to start by identifying the underlying cause of the problem and making the necessary repairs. There can be a myriad of reasons for this issue to occur, and in this blog post, we’ll cover them all, along with their respective solutions. So, make sure you read on!
Charging System in Cars – What Is It and How Does It Work?
Your car’s starting system comprises two majorly two parts – a starter solenoid and an electric starter motor. When you turn your key, the ignition initiates the starting process and sends power from the battery to the starter solenoid.
In turn, the solenoid activates the motor that spins the engine to turn it on. While the engine is running, your charging system sends electrical energy to your vehicle and keeps the battery’s charge sustained inside it.
This charging system features three primary parts – the battery, the voltage regulator, and the alternator. Out of these, the battery supplies the power, the alternator generates the electric current, and the regulator controls the voltage of the current passed.
Check Charging System Light in Toyota Tacoma – What Does It Mean?
When you see the Check Charging System light on your Toyota Tacoma, it is an indication that your car is running solely on the battery’s power. If it continues to do so, the charging system will fail, and the battery will soon drain out completely, which may even lead to a dead battery in some cases.
That being said, whenever you encounter this light on your vehicle’s dashboard, consider taking it to a reliable mechanic to identify and fix the issue properly. You can also check your vehicle’s manual to learn more about this indicator and its feedback.
Causes of Check Charging System Light
There can be several reasons that cause the check charging system warning light to come on. A professional mechanic can quickly diagnose and identify the root cause of the issue, but for your reference, here are some reasons that may account for this problem to occur:
Often, your alternator may malfunction and cause the check charging system light to come on. You should ask your mechanic to diagnose the voltage passing through the alternator if you suspect it to be the issue and get the necessary replacements done to fix it.
If your battery is running low on power and isn’t able to charge correctly, you may see the check charging system appear on your car’s dashboard. A mechanic may run a battery strength check to determine whether it’s likely the cause of the issue or not.
When failing, your vehicle’s drive belt can hinder the alternator’s process and cause the warning light to turn on. Ask a mechanic to check the condition of your car’s drive belt for faults and get them replaced if required.
Sometimes, dirty and loose battery clamps may also cause the check charging system light to turn on. In that case, you may have to get them cleaned and tightened. You should also inspect the internal wirings of the alternator for any fused or burned links.
Faulty Computer System
If your vehicle doesn’t seem to have any issues with the battery or the alternator, another possibility of the issue can be a faulty computer system. After you’ve got everything else diagnosed and the issue still persists, you can get your vehicle’s computer system checked.
Can You Drive Safely with Check Charging System Turned On?
It is not recommended to drive your vehicle with the check charging system light illuminated. As there can be various reasons for this issue, such as bad wiring, faulty alternator, or failing battery, your car can stop working at any moment due to it. It is recommended to get the issue fixed first before driving your vehicle for safety purposes.
How To Test the Charging System of Your Toyota Tacoma?
There are two major ways you can check the charging system of your Toyota Tacoma car, as given below:
Look At the Battery Indicator
Most of the batteries provide a colored indicator that helps you determine whether your car’s battery has adequate power or not. The green color indicates that the battery’ charge level is sufficient, while the red color indicates that it isn’t charged properly. In case your battery doesn’t feature colored indicators, you can use an alternative way to check it.
Use A Multimeter
To check your car’s battery using a multimeter, follow the steps given below:
- Keep The Car Ready: Before checking the voltage of your battery, you need to make sure that your car’s engine is turned off. Then, keep it idle for around five minutes until the electric charge stabilizes. You can also turn on the headlamps and turn them off after 30 seconds to remove any small voltages available.
- Get A Multimeter: Take a multimeter, and turn its selector up to 20V.
- Measure The Battery’s Voltage: Once you’ve turned on the multimeter, attach the positive terminal to the red probe of the multimeter and the negative terminal to the black probe of the multimeter. Make sure that the terminals are not dirty while connecting them, else scratch them with sandpaper first. Doing this will allow you to view the available voltage of your car’s battery on the multimeter.
- Determine The Starting Voltage: While keeping the multimeter connected, turn on the engine and check how much the voltage is dropping. Generally, the multimeter should show a value between 9-11 volts.
- Verify The Alternator: One by one, turn on all the electrical accessories of your car, such as the air conditioner, lights, defogger, and more. Then, accelerate your engine up to 3000 RM and make sure that the multimeter reads between 13.2 and 14.8 volts.
If the voltage on the multimeter goes above the aforementioned range, then there’s something wrong with the voltage regulator of your car. In case it is below the given range, then it may be possible that your car’s alternator is damaged.
How To Reset Check Charging System Light on Toyota Tacoma?
To reset the check charging system warning light on your Toyota Tacoma, you have to keep the following things in mind:
Rectify The Issue
It’s not worth resetting the warning light without fixing the root cause of the issue first, as it may illuminate again when the system detects a fault. In most cases, the light will turn off automatically or after driving your vehicle for a few miles.
Use An OBDII Scanner
A sure-shot method to reset the check battery status light on your Toyota Tacoma is by using an OBDII scanner to clear the codes first. You can do it by connecting the device and deleting any error codes that relate to the battery.
Disconnect The Battery
In case you don’t have any diagnostic device available, you can also choose to reset the check charging system in your Toyota Tacoma by disconnecting its battery for a while. First, remove the cable from the negative terminal of the battery, followed by the positive terminal. Once the battery is disconnected, honk a few times and turn on the headlights to drain the remaining electricity. Afterward, connect the battery again with the positive terminal first.
In a nutshell, the check charging system indicator is helpful to determine if your Toyota Tacoma’s battery is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced. Make sure that you don’t drive your car while the light is illuminating to prevent any further issues.