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Charging System Troubleshooting Part 2

How to test your vehicles charging system and what to look for.
» Part 1: Charging System
» Part 2: Battery Diagnosis
» Part 3: Battery Capacity
» Part 4: Drain Testing
» Part 5: Alternator Testing

Battery Diagnosis

If the battery tests good but still fails to perform well, the following are some of the more common causes:

  • A vehicle accessory was left on overnight.
  • The driving speeds have been slow with frequent stops.
  • The electrical load has exceeded the generator output (particularly with the addition of aftermarket equipment).
  • The existing conditions in the charging system include the following possibilities:
  • An electrical short
  • A slipping belt
  • A faulty generator
  • A faulty generator voltage regulator
  • The battery has not been properly maintained, including the following situations:
  • A failure to keep the terminals tight
  • A failure to keep the terminals clean
  • A loose battery hold-down retainer
  • A power failure caused by an existing mechanical condition in the electrical system, such as a short or pinched wire.
  • Extended vehicle storage.
  • Extended cranking periods due to a possible fuel or ignition system problem.
  • Incorrect interpretation of the battery's built-in hydrometer.
  • There has been an insufficient ampere-hour charge rate for a discharged battery.
  • There is a continuous current draw on the battery through excessive parasitic drain.
  • The battery is old.

Self-discharge is always occurring as a result of internal chemical reactions, even when the battery is not connected. In hot weather this chemical reaction is increased dramatically. This is why the number of discharged batteries will increase in very hot weather.

» Part 1       » Part 2       » Part 3       » Part 4
Part 5
Additional Information provided courtesy of and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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