In this article, I am going to explain what a “service battery charging system” mean on your Acadia, the common causes from my experience, and how to fix the problem.
What Does GMC Acadia’s “Service Battery Charging System” Mean?
The simple answer is this message means your GMC has detected a problem in the charging system which consists of a battery, alternator, wiring, and electronic control unit (ECU).
The system checks the voltage at the battery and if it is not within a certain range, or if there are other problems detected by sensors in the alternator, then this message will appear on your dashboard.
What Causes the “Service Battery Charging System” fault on a GMC Acadia?
Now, that I have explained what this fault message means on your Acadia, let’s look at the main causes from my experience as an auto tech.
1. Failing Alternator:
The most common cause for this message is a failing alternator.
An alternator is a device that generates electricity for your vehicle. It does this by using the GMC engine to spin a magnet inside of it, and this process generates a current which is used to charge your battery, power electronics, accessories, etc.
Over time the alternator does go bad and causes issues with the charging system.
I recommend that you have your Acadia alternator tested, a good-condition alternator should read 13 or more volts.
If it reads less than 12 volts then its best to take the alternator for repairs or have the alternator replaced
2. Bad Battery:
Another common cause for this message is a bad battery. The battery acts as an energy storage device, and it’s designed to provide power when needed by the electrical system (starter motor, fuel pump, etc.).
If your battery has failed then it will not be able to provide enough current for these components which causes them to fail.
As a result, the ECU will detect an issue in the charging system of your vehicle and display “service battery charging system”
GMC recommends that you change a car battery every 3-5 years, if yours is over 5 years old then it may be time to change the battery.
If your battery is less than 1-2 years old then you should start by checking the alternator and wiring.
3. Disconnected Battery Terminals
This is often overlooked but I have seen many GMC owners coming to my workshop with loose battery terminals.
Loose or Corroded battery terminals can also cause the service battery charging system fault message.
I would advise you to inspect your battery terminals and make sure they are tight. You can also use an electrical contact cleaner to clean the corroded terminals.
Signs of a Failing Charging System in GMC Acardia
Other than the obvious fault message coming on your Dashboard, there are other signs of a failing charging system. If you are experiencing any of the following problems, then it is likely that the charging system is not working as it should:
- Your Acardia headlights are dim/flickering
- Battery not holding a charge and needs to be charged often
- Unusual noises from the alternator
- Difficulty starting the vehicle or stall every now and then.
How to diagnose and fix battery charging system issues in GMC Acadia
Here are the steps I recommend you take in order to fix and reset the service battery charging system fault message:
- Have the Alternator tested: If the alternator is bad, then you will want to replace it. If the alternator tests well, then the next step would be to check the battery.
- Change the Battery: If the alternator is good and your battery is bad, then you will want to change it. If the alternator tests well and the battery is good, then you should check all of the wiring connections and make sure they are clean.