Ford F150 Check Charging System popping off is an indication that something is wrong with the charging system. It can happen if the wiring connection is faulty or if the battery itself is damaged. A damaged alternator or the voltage regulator inside it can also make the charging system not work properly. Beyond that, trouble with the drive belt and even a glitch in the ECU can bring this signal.
To solve the Ford F150 check charging system you need to go for all kinds of solutions from replacing the parts to resetting the software. If you want to get to know how to solve this problem then let’s get started.
Why Do You Get a Check Charging System on Ford F150?
A check charging system means that the battery is not charging in your Ford F150 properly. Normally, it means that the battery or any other component in the charging system is not working properly.
There are different reasons for the charging system to not work properly in the Ford F150. Let’s go through each of the main factors.
Reason 1: Faulty Wiring Harness and Cables
Before you go on to diagnose your battery or the alternator, maybe it is your wiring harness that is burnt or not connected properly. Without proper wiring connection the electric current will not flow properly and your battery will not get charged.
On a similar note, if the cables around the battery are not properly connected then the flow of current will be disrupted and that will cause charging system problems.
Solution: Fix the Wiring Connection
To diagnose the problem you should grab the multimeter and check the battery voltage. If it reads around 15.2 volts then there is a potential issue with the alternator. This alternator issue can be due to a bad section in the wiring harness.
You can also use the OBDII scanner. Check for the diagnostic code P0625 and P0626. Both of which indicate the problem with the generator field circuit, potentially due to a faulty alternator.
Check through the connection especially around the alternator to see if there is any faulty wiring. If you find any burnt wire then replace it. For any loosely connected wire, remove it and then connect it back properly. After you are done, check the battery voltage once again. If it reads 14.4 volts then the wiring connection is working fine.
Reason 2: Damaged Battery
Next maybe the battery itself is damaged. But before following are some of the symptoms that your truck battery is going bad.
- Truck is difficult to start
- Truck can not hold the charge
- Dim or flickering headlight or tail light
- Dashboard lights are dim
- Engine Backfiring
- Clicking Sound
A damaged battery brings a lot of problems such as the auto start-stop feature not working. But if the battery is low then it will not receive electrical current properly. As a result, the ‘check charging system’ notification will pop up on the Ford F150 truck.
One way to verify the problem with the battery is to grab the OBDII scanner and check for the p0562. It means low voltage power to the battery. This code is shown when the PCM detects a sudden drop in voltage.
Solution: Replace Battery
The solution here is to just replace the battery. Grab a wrench and socket, remove the cables first. Then remove the bolt holding the battery in its place. Finally, remove the battery and put a new one in its place.
Reason 3: Damaged Alternator
Alternator helps to convert the mechanical energy into electrical energy. This is to properly charge the battery and make sure that the truck keeps running. If the alternator is damaged then the charging system will not work.
There are a few symptoms which can help you to fix the alternator issue beforehand.
- Low charge at battery
- Truck dies after a jump start.
- Vibration while driving.
- Voltage meter on the dashboard starts to drop.
- Trouble starting
- Frequent Stalling
- Growling or Whining Noises
You can verify the alternator related issues through diagnosing with the OBDII scanner. Look for the codes p0625 and p065b. Both of which show problems with the generator coil in alternator.
Solution: Replace Alternator
Replace the alternator to solve this problem. Following are the steps of replacing the alternator on a 2012 Ford F150.
- 13 mm socket
- 15 mm socket
- Breaker bar
Step 1: First, pop the hood and disconnect the negative battery cable. Secure the cable out of the way to avoid accidental connection.
Step 2: Unclip the coolant hose and then disconnect the intake air temperature sensor.
Step 3: Loosen the top hose clamps and right hand turbo intake duct.
Step 4: Loosen the Y-duct lower hose clamp connected to the left hand turbo intake duct.
Step 5: Disconnect the air inlet Y- duct and remove it.
Step 6: Loosen the hose clamp from the turbo inlet tube. Now, detach this tube from the grommet and then disconnect it from the right hand turbo.
Step 7: Rotate the tensioner using a socket and breaker bar. Next, slip the belt off the accessible pulley.
Step 8: Remove the belt once it is loose.
Step 9: Remove the bolt from the drive belt tensioner and set the tensioner aside.
Step 10: Use a 15 mm socket to remove the upper alternator bolt and then remove the lower alternator bolt.
Step 11: Remove the battery terminal from the alternator. Use a 13 mm socket and ratchet to remove the retaining nut.
Step 12: Disconnect the electrical connector from the back of the alternator.
Step 13: Remove the alternator and bring in the new one.
Step 14: Install the new alternator and then install it all again starting from the retaining nut to the negative terminal of the battery terminal.
In conclusion, you need to remove the air intake tube. Then set the drive belt tensioner aside and finally disconnect the battery terminal to bring out the alternator. For more guidance follow this How To: Replace the Alternator on a 2006-2014 Ford F-150.
Reason 4: Malfunctioning Voltage Regulator
Voltage regulator helps to keep the flow of power constant throughout the truck. Now if the voltage regulator is damaged then the truck is not going to get enough power to support and you get the message ‘check charging system’.
Solution: Replace Voltage Regulator
Following are the steps of replacing the voltage regulator on a Ford F150.
- Prying Tool
- Feeler Gauge
Step 1: First, bring out the alternator off the F150 as discussed.
Step 2: Remove the plastic cover cap on top of the alternator. Be careful while removing this cover. Too much force to pry up the cover, it can break.
Step 3: Remove the battery post extender and bring out the three bolts from the top.
Step 4: Now get the rear cover off using a screwdriver to pry it off.
Step 5: You will find the voltage regulator, take the three torx screws off
Step 6: Grab a feeler gauge to pull the voltage regulator out.
Step 7: Now put the new voltage regulator in
Step 8: Next pull out the pin that holds the brush.
Step 9: Grab the rear cover and shave the edge of the tolerance ring so that it can go back in easily.-
Step 10: After putting the rear cover into the alternator, make sure to push down the tolerance ring. Don’t focus on the housing of the rear cover, only the tolerance ring while pushing down.
Step 11: Finally, then connect back the bolts, battery post extender and the plastic cover cap.
For visual demonstration, follow this How to change the Voltage Regulator on Ford 6G Alternator.
Reason 5: Faulty Drive Belt
The drive belt connects the alternator and other major engine parts to the crankshaft. If the drive belt is damaged then the ‘check charging system’ message will pop up.
However, you need to verify if the drive belt is the main problem.
- Use the tension belt tester to check the tension of the drive belt
- Check for frayings and cracks along the surface of the drive belt
If you find that there is not enough tension or the belt is full of cracks and frayings then you definitely need to change the drive belt.
Solution: Replace Drive Belt
You need to replace the drive belt to solve this problem. It has already been discussed here. Once you are done replacing the drive belt, grab the new one and install it.
If you want to learn more then follow this How to Replace the drive belt on a Ford F-150 2015 to 2017.
Reason 6: Faulty ECU
Finally, it is entirely possible that this is just a glitch from the ECU of your truck. In fact, if it is not any of the physical parts then ECU is the main source of the problem. Due to an internal malfunction it showed the ‘Check Charging System’ message to you.
Solution: Flash or Reset the ECU
If ECU is the main source of this problem then you need to flash or reset the system. This should be done urgently because a malfunctioning ECU is dangerous for any vehicle. Following are the steps of resetting the ECU on a Ford F150.
Step 1: Pop the hood and locate the battery.
Step 2: Loosen and take off the negative battery cable and turn on the headlight to drain any residual power.
Step 3: Reconnect back the negative battery cable.
Step 4: Turn on the ignition and keep it at ‘ON’ position for about 10 seconds.
Step 5: Now turn on the truck and let it stay idle. Keep the AC and wipers turned off.
Step 6: Idle for about 10 minutes and then take it for a test drive.
Step 7: After that reconnect the battery and then check.
In conclusion, you need to drain electrical power first. Then turn the power and keep the truck idle for about 10 minutes. After the test drive, reconnect the battery. The entire process is simple and for detailed guide follow this How to Clear the PCM Memory on a Ford F150.
How To Diagnose a Check Charging System on Ford F150?
The steps to diagnose a charging system are quite simple. Following are the steps of diagnosing.
Step 1: Pop the hood and locate your battery terminals.
Step 2: Make sure to keep the engine off. Now, grab your voltmeters and measure the voltages of the battery.
Step 3: It should read around 12 V. If it is lower than 12 V, then the battery goes out and gets recharged or further diagnosed. You need to verify if it is dead or not.
Step 4: But if it reads around 12 V then you need to check the voltage again. This time, start the truck and check the voltage of the battery.
Step 5: The voltage should be around 13.5 to 14.5 volts. If the voltage is lower than 13 volts then your alternator is busted. You need to replace the alternator.
However, keep in mind that you will need to diagnose or check the alternator’s conditions. If the alternator is new or in good condition then your belt tensioner has gone bad. It is causing the serpentine belt to slip and preventing the alternator from charging the battery.
Is It Safe To Drive With My Ford F150 When the “Check Charging System”?
No, it is not safe to drive with a Ford F150 when the check charging system is on. This is a warning sign that shows the engine will lose power very soon and you need to fix it as soon as possible. If the engine loses power soon then the truck will meet an accident or just get stranded in the road.
Can I Check the Charging System Myself on F150?
Yes, you can check the charging system on Ford F150. The steps of diagnosis are extremely easy and you only need simple home tools such as voltmeter to get started. However, if you are not comfortable with DIY work then make sure to consult a professional.
Can a Damaged Starter Motor Affect the Check Charging System on Ford F150?
No, a damaged starter motor does not affect the check charging system to happen on Ford F150. If the starter motor is damaged on a Ford F150 then the truck will not turn on. So, your truck will not function in any way possible.
Now that covers the Ford F150 Check Charging System related problems. Keep in mind the reasons for the problem and solve them. Mostly it is easy to diagnose and solve this problem, so you are better off doing it yourself. But if you are not comfortable with DIY work then definitely seek from the professionals.