Toyota Charging System Malfunction (Here Is How To Fix)

Toyota Charging System Malfunction

Do you know how to fix a Toyota charging system malfunction? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.

One of the most common issues with Toyota vehicles is the ‘Charging System Malfunction’ error message. A lot of people wonder what this means and, perhaps more importantly, how the problem can be fixed.

On this page, we are going to tell you a little bit more about what a Toyota charging system malfunction is. We will also give you a few ways that you will be able to identify and fix the problem yourself.

Because vehicles can be quite complicated, we won’t be able to help you to fix every single issue with your vehicle. However, we will be able to help you with most of them!

What Is a Toyota Charging System Malfunction?

A Toyota charging system malfunction is exactly what it says on the tin. It means that there is a problem with the way that your vehicle is charging the battery.

Obviously, this can have quite a knock-on effect and can impact a whole host of different systems in your vehicle. It isn’t good.

How Do You Know When You Are Dealing With a Charging System Malfunction?

There are a couple of signs that you may be dealing with a charging system malfunction. Perhaps the biggest is the fact that your vehicle is flashing a ‘Charging System Malfunction’ on your vehicle’s dashboard.

At this point, you may not notice any issues in the way that your vehicle is functioning. Your vehicle is basically telling you that you should probably get the problem fixed before it becomes a whole lot worse.

Of course, if you do decide to let that problem become worse, then you may start to notice various issues in your vehicle e.g. your battery simply won’t charge.

Do You Need To Fix a Charging System Malfunction?

Absolutely! Your vehicle isn’t warning you that there is an issue for the fun of it. If your vehicle’s battery isn’t charging properly.

If your vehicle’s battery isn’t charging properly, then eventually that battery is going to drain. If the battery in your vehicle drains, then literally nothing inside the vehicle is going to work. You will struggle to start the vehicle, for example.

Even if you could start the vehicle, you will very quickly find that the vehicle begins to slow down when you are driving. In fact, the vehicle may stop working completely.

Luckily for you, your Toyota is going to be doing a pretty decent job of warning you of these issues in advance.

This means that you will be able to get them fixed way before they present a real problem for your car.

Can You Fix a Toyota Charging System Malfunction Yourself?

Many of the issues with the charging system probably could be rectified easily. This means no trip to the garage. You may need to have a small amount of experience working with vehicles, though.

As we go through the various ways to fix your Toyota charging system, we do suggest that you have your Toyota’s manual to handle.

This is because many of these solutions will require you to identify where various components are, and these components could change from model to model.

Check Vehicle Battery

Since the whole reason behind a Toyota charging system malfunction is that the battery in your vehicle isn’t charging, you should check that battery first.

Vehicle batteries don’t last forever. They will need to be replaced every few years (the battery’s lifespan will be dependent on the battery that you have purchased).

Eventually, that battery is going to stop charging. It simply won’t hold power, and that charging system malfunction issue will be triggered.

So, check the battery. Remove it from the vehicle and see if you can charge it on an external charger.

You should also double-check to ensure that the battery is putting out the rated voltage.

If the battery won’t charge on an external charger, or the power it is producing is a little bit low, then it is time to get that battery replaced. This should clear up the Toyota charging system malfunction.

Check Vehicle Battery Wiring 

If the battery seems to be good, then check all the wires going into the battery. Make sure that there are no shorts in the cable (e.g. frayed wires that are touching metal), and that nothing has rusted.

If the vehicle battery wiring seems to be wrong, then it shouldn’t be too difficult, nor expensive, to pick up some replacement cables for your vehicle.

Check Drive Belts

Next step is to check the drive belts. You will need to read your vehicle’s manual to find out where the drive belts are located.

The drive belts serve a variety of different purposes. Their main job, however, is to spin around and help to charge your batteries.

If the drive belts are damaged, even slightly, then they are not going to work anywhere near as effectively as they could. This means that you may start to get a Toyota charging system malfunction.

Luckily, this is another one of those issues that you should have absolutely no issues fixing on your own. It really is just a case of removing the old drive belts and putting the new ones in place.

You should have no issues picking up a set of brand-new drive belts from your local automotive store. Although, do make sure that you purchase a like-for-like replacement. Drive belts are not universal! 

Check Vehicle’s Alternator

The job of the alternator is to regulate the voltage and charging of the battery. So, it performs a pretty big role in the whole charging system.

So, it should probably come as no surprise that many Toyota charging system malfunctions are going to be down to a problem with the alternator. 

This is where we start getting into the realms of perhaps needing a mechanic. 

Now, a vehicle’s alternator isn’t particularly difficult to access. It is going to be in the engine, and the manual that came with your vehicle will tell you exactly where it is.

The problem comes from checking whether the alternator is actually working. You are going to need a special tool to test the alternator and, for most people, it is going to be worth buying one just for this job.

Now, you can just risk it and switch out the alternator without testing the old one. If you have managed to get to this point and it doesn’t seem as if one of the other solutions has worked, then the alternator is going to be the most likely culprit, and switching it out will probably do the trick.

That being said, alternators for Toyotas can be pretty expensive, and it si going to be a risk just to pick up a brand-new alternator without knowing whether it really is going to be the issue.

This means that if you do not have the ability to test the alternator yourself, then take your vehicle to the garage.

This way, they will be able to see if that really is the problem. If it isn’t, then you would have ended up saving yourself a nice chunk of change, which is nice. 

It Could Be a Computer System Issue

By this point, you will have pretty much exhausted all of the options that you have available for fixing the Toyota charging system malfunction yourself.

As you can probably guess, most modern Toyota vehicles are fantastic when it comes to tech. There is a lot of play.

All sorts of sensors, wires, and computing equipment. At any one point, something could go wrong with the system. If this happens, then the vehicle may throw up all sorts of errors at you.

There is nothing that you will be able to do on your end. If there is a problem with the sensors in your vehicle or even the software behind the vehicle, then you have no choice but to take your vehicle to a mechanic to get the problem fixed.

With a Toyota charging system malfunction that does not seem to be fixed by the other methods that we mention on this page, our suggestion is to head to a Toyota dealership, particularly if your vehicle is in warranty.

A dealership will have a much, much easier time fixing your vehicle than a garage. After all, most garages are not really equipped to solve software issues on a vehicle. 


A Toyota charging system malfunction is caused by issues in the charging system of your vehicle. If your vehicle is giving you this error message, then it is telling you that your vehicle’s battery cannot be charged for some reason.

In most cases, it is probably going to be down to the fact that either your battery or your drive belts have worn out.

In other cases, it may be due to problems with the alternator or the vehicle’s computer system.

Thankfully, most of these issues can be easily rectified, some from the comfort of your own home.


Steve P.

Steve is an automotive technician, technical writer, and Managing Editor. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in cars like the Buick Riviera. Steve is based in Boise, Idaho.

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