Charging system failure.

I start the van and battery saver mode lights up . Starts jus fine but battery voltage dies down quickly battery tested fine. Replaced starter 5 days ago and alternator yesterday. Cleaned the battery terminals and still the same issue. Please tell me what to do! It's very high milage but I'd like to keep her purring like a kitten.

My car has 290000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
This may suggest a failing voltage regulator. The voltage regulator is a unit that regulates the charging of the battery by the alternator. When the voltage regulator is not working properly, this may result in the alternator allowing too much power to be delivered to the battery resulting in damaging wires and prematurely sometimes destroying the battery. In other cases it may result in the alternator not supplying enough power to the battery, resulting in undercharging the battery or not charging it at all. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose your vehicle’s charging system.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

Whenever this light goes on, it means that the vehicle is running solely on battery power. If the problem continues and your charging system fails, the battery won`t be able to recharge and it will soon run down, leaving you with a dead battery.
The Chevy service battery charging system warning comes up when there`s a problem with your vehicle`s charging system. This is usually caused by one of these issues: The connections between the alternator and battery are corroded. The connections are loose, or one of the wires is broken.
Inspect your charging cable thoroughly and see if there are any evident signs of damage. Any rips, bends, cuts, or general damage will be a good reason cables malfunction. Also, try to charge another device with it and see if it works. If it does, the issue might be the device.
Don`t Drive with Your Service Battery System Light On

If your vehicle needs a new battery, has a faulty alternator, or wiring issue, it could stop working at any time.

The charging system warning light comes on when there is a problem with the electrical charging system or when the igni- tion switch is turned on with the engine not running. If the light comes on while driving, stop and check to see if the alternator belt is loose or broken.
When the battery current sensor fails, the vehicle will not charge correctly, leading to a DTC or a dead battery. Common signs of failure include: Irregular charging rates. Low battery voltage.
Testing the Charging System

First, use your battery tester to check the open circuit voltage (OCV) and test the condition of the battery. If the battery is compromised, replace it with a battery that meets the specifications for the vehicle and proceed with your testing.

A good alternator should maintain battery voltage between 13.9 and 14.8 volts (14.2 is optimum). Even worst-case, with all accessories turned on, there should be at least 13 volts at the battery.
While you can technically still drive with a bad alternator, it is not advised. This is especially true in newer vehicle models. This is because there is more electricity involved compared to an older model.
Alternators can average anywhere from $100 to $350, depending on the model. In most cases, costs will average between $350−400 for the alternator replacement if no other parts need to be changed. Add another $20 to $50 to your bill if the serpentine belt has to be replaced as well.
Don`t Drive with Your Service Battery System Light On

If your vehicle needs a new battery, has a faulty alternator, or wiring issue, it could stop working at any time.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Charging System Failure and Battery Light on
ANSWER : Hi There,
It sounds like you may have a voltage regulator issue that might not be allowing the alternator to charge the battery sufficiently. The voltage regulator could be allowing the alternator to supply too much or too little amperage to the battery resulting in the battery never maintaining a consistent charge as it is designed to. The voltage regulator is a unit that regulates the charging of the battery by the alternator. When the voltage regulator is not working properly, this may result in the alternator allowing too much power to be delivered to the battery resulting in damaging wires and prematurely sometimes destroying the battery. A common sign of this is usually the acid inside the battery boiling causing the battery to swell. You may also smell a bit of smoke due to things potentially getting too hot. In other cases it may result in the alternator not supplying enough power to the battery, resulting in undercharging the battery or not charging it at all. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose your vehicle’s charging system.

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My Accord gives out a "Charging system failure" warning. I drove home about 15 miles and then parked my car. After about 3 hours,
ANSWER : Hi there. On a new Honda Accord, the Charging System Failure warning light typically indicates a problem with the battery, alternator or other component inside the charging system of your vehicle. However, with less than 10,000 miles, this is most likely an electrical glitch or stored error code that was triggered. Since your car is "new", I would recommend contacting your Honda dealership first, to tell them about this warning light and ask them how they wish to handle this issue; as it should be covered under warranty. If they can’t help you, please set up a warning light inspection, and one of our mobile mechanics can come to your location and determine why this light came on.

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What does it mean when your charging system failure light comes on out of no where while driving?
ANSWER : Hello, thank you for writing in. The vehicle is detecting an issue with the alternator or the battery. When supplied power from the system is too low or too high, the monitoring system will alarm you. You should have the battery and alternator tested to see which is failing. You can take corrective action from there. Both can be basically tested on the vehicle, but a full exam of the battery will need to be done by a technician, or at your local automotive parts store. Driving like this may cause more harm to the system, as when one fails it will strain the other. It may also cause the vehicle to stall and leave you in harms way. For more help with testing and resolving the issue, contact our service department to schedule an appointment.

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My service charging system battery light is on after replacing my alternator with a brand new one. It is not charging my battery.
ANSWER : Hello, thank you for writing in. Several things may be going on. The installation of the new alternator needs to be verified, focusing on the electrical connections and the drive belt. Make sure the connections are clean, dry, and tight. Make sure the drive belt is routed properly and is tight on the alternator pulley (as it is what powers the alternator). If the installation was fine, you will want to make sure the alternator was not faulty from the factory. It is not common, but these issues have been known to happen. Most automotive parts stores can test the alternator off of the vehicle. If you would like more help with testing, contact our service department to schedule an appointment.

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What does charging system failure mean?
ANSWER : 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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Charging System Failure on van
ANSWER : It definitely sounds like you are experiencing a charging issue. The alternator is the component responsible for charging the battery in a vehicle. System voltage needs to be a minimum of 12 volts. Anything less than this could potentially create issues with electronic components. The easiest way to diagnose a faulty alternator is to disconnect the battery’s positive + cable while the engine is running. If the engine stalls the alternator is not charging. If it continues to run the alternator is good. If you need help, an experienced technician, such as one from YourMechanic, can test your charging system and determine what repairs you should move forward with.

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The "service battery charging system" light is on but the voltage gauge is reading over 14 volts
ANSWER : Hello There,
Depending on how much over the 14 volt mark your gauge is reading, you may have a voltage regulator that could be overcharging the battery at a rate that is too high relative to what the system requires. The voltage regulator is a unit that regulates the charging of the battery by the alternator. When the voltage regulator is not working properly, this may result in the alternator allowing too much power to be delivered to the battery resulting in damaging wires and prematurely sometimes destroying the battery. A common sign of this is usually the acid inside the battery boiling causing the battery to swell. You may also smell a bit of smoke due to things potentially getting too hot. In other cases it may result in the alternator not supplying enough power to the battery, resulting in undercharging the battery or not charging it at all. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose your vehicle’s charging system.

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Intermittent random faults showing up on dash and I drive system. One at a time. Mainly transmission error and lighting system err
ANSWER : Hello. When it comes to power issues while driving, it is typically related to the charging system in some way. A miscommunication with the battery would effect the performance. Before getting too technical, start with the simple stuff. Check the alternator output with a voltmeter, or have it tested at your local automotive store. If both the battery and the alternator are in good working condition, then you can turn your attention to a control module or a programming issue. The warning codes that are being triggered should be read and used to help in the diagnosis. If several different systems are failing, you will likely have a charging system error, or a malfunctioning control module. Further testing is needed.

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