A glitching ECU, a failing alternator, and an old battery can affect the charging system. Do not ignore the charge system problem, as the faulty alternator and the incorrect voltage flow will damage the battery.
The causes and solutions of the Check Charge System Warning
The charging system has three common issues that would cause the Check Charge System warning light to appear. Here are the three most common issues affecting the charging system.
Faulty alternator – when the alternator is not working, the battery cannot put out a consistent voltage. If the battery voltage is higher than it should be, it could damage both the battery itself and the charging system.
If the alternator is not working, you may notice the lights inside the vehicle’s cabin not working.
A mechanic can repair a faulty alternator. However, depending on the damage, there could be a big price tag that comes with the repair. Some alternators are so damaged, that it cost over $1,000 to completely repair them.
The ECU is glitching – when the ECU is not working, the alternator will not work correctly. The ECU controls many electrical components in the vehicle. Without the ECU, the electrical components in a vehicle will not work correctly.
One common way to damage the ECU is to jump-start your vehicle’s battery incorrectly. You can reset the ECU. But if the ECU is too damaged then it needs replacing.
The battery is old or damaged – the battery is absolutely prone to getting old and not holding its charge. Also, the battery could get damaged, especially if you are in a head-on collision with an object or another vehicle.
Replacing a battery is extremely expensive and not worth the cost. It is better to replace the battery. Depending on your Honda’s make and model, a new battery will cost between $50 and $400.
What is the charging system?
Every vehicle has a battery. Some vehicles have bigger batteries than others. Other vehicles, like hybrids, can use the battery charge to propel the car.
For hybrid vehicles, it acts like a second fuel source. So, all vehicles have a charging system. But a vehicle’s battery is not self-charging.
There needs to be a charging system attached to the battery. If there is no charging system, the battery will drain and become completely useless.
So, the charging system is how the engine’s battery stays charged.
It is also the system that allows the battery to power the radio, air conditioner, and lights.
Most charging systems have a battery, wiring, an ECU or electronic control unit, and an alternator. Racing cars may have additional components in their charging system.
How to reset the charging system
Before you head over to your mechanic, you may want to try resetting the charging system. It is easy to reset a Honda charging system.
Here’s how to reset the charging system. First, if your vehicle is on, turn it off. Then open the hood and secure the hood so it does not fall down.
Now, locate the wire on the engine connected to the battery.
Disconnect the engine from the battery. Wait 30 seconds and then reconnect the engine back onto the battery wire. You can turn your vehicle on now. If there is no check charging system warning, then you have fixed the problem.
If the check charging system warning is still on your dashboard, then try resetting the ECU. The ECU, known as the electronic control unit, is the main device that controls the computer, sensor data, and actuators in a vehicle.
Some ECUs control the engine and the transmission. But these ECU will have an alternate name which would be powertrain control unit or PCM.
How to reset the ECU
First, turn off your Honda. Then open the hood and secure the hood with the Now, search for the fuse box. The fuse box should have a diagram on the fuse box cover.
The diagram should show which fuse powers which component. Search for the letters ECU. Make a note of where the ECU letters are on the cover of the fuse box. Now open the cover and remove the fuse that is directly underneath the ECU text on the cover.
Once you remove the fuse, inspect it to see if there’s any damage. If there is damage, then you’ll have to replace the fuse. If there isn’t then you can put it back.
Wait about 30 seconds and then replace the ECU fuse. Now you’re all done. Close the fuse box and then close the hood of the vehicle.
Put your key back into the ignition and turn on your Honda vehicle. The check charge system warning should no longer be there on the dashboard.
If there is, then it is not a glitch causing the warning to appear. There is a real issue. Now you have to take your vehicle to the mechanic.
How to check the charge in your Honda’s battery
Checking the charge in a vehicle battery is easy as long as you have the right tool. You need to buy a digital voltmeter.
The voltmeter will have two connections. Connect the positive terminal to the voltmeter and then connect the negative terminal to the battery.
The voltmeter will instantly display the battery voltage. The proper voltage for your vehicle battery depends on the make and model of the Honda.
But a charged battery with no damage should be at least 12.4 V or higher.
Most vehicle batteries should be at least 12.4 volts or higher. If the ECU is glitching or not working, you should reset it before taking it to the mechanic. You can also check the voltage in your Honda’s battery.
You will need a digital book meter to do so. Old batteries and faulty alternators are common issues in the charging system. When there is an issue, the check engine system warning light appears on the dashboard.
The ECU, wiring, battery, and alternator are the main components of the charging system.