“Check Charging System” Toyota Tacoma: Meaning, Causes, and Solutions

When your Toyota Tacoma truck has an issue with the charging set-up, you will get a check charging system light. Check Toyota Tacoma charging system means your vehicle is running on battery power alone. This happens due to a faulty alternator being unable to send enough electric power to your Tacoma’s computer to power your truck.

Sometimes, the check-up charging system in Tacoma could be due to a loose wiring connection, causing a loss of battery voltage. Corroded battery terminals or a damaged accessory belt may also contribute to this problem.

But what does a check charging system Toyota Tacoma mean; what causes it, and what is the solution? Keep reading to find out this and much more.

Check Up Charging System in Toyota Tacoma? A Quick Look to Causes and Solutions

Below is a table summarizing what causes Tacoma “check charging system” Message and how to solve the problem. This works for most Toyota Tacoma models.

Faulty alternatorNew replacement
Corroded battery terminalsClean the corrosion build-up
Loose wiring connection or nutsRetighten but don’t over-tighten
Damaged accessory beltReplace with a new one
Low battery voltage or dead batteryRecharge the battery or replace it with a new one

Check Toyota Tacoma Charging System – Possible Causes?

The system charging of a Tacoma comprises the electronic control unit (ECU), alternator, wiring, and battery. Basically, the system keeps your truck’s battery charged throughout. So what causes the issue check charging system in Toyota Tacoma? Let’s find out.

1. Loose Battery Connection

Sometimes, the battery cables of your Tacoma could become loose. This may lead to a loss of power between the alternator and the battery. After all, the primary role of the alternator in the 2020 Toyota Tacoma is to charge the battery.

2. Bad Alternator

The alternator provides power for operating the starter, ignition, and other electronic accessories in your Toyota Tacoma. When the alternator becomes faulty, your truck’s battery will not be recharged. A bad Toyota Tacoma alternator will have a voltage sitting below 13.5V.

3. Truck in Accessory Mode

When your 2021 Toyota Tacoma is in accessory mode, you may get the Tacoma “check charging system” Message. The message is usually to warn you about draining your truck’s battery charge. Typically, this happens when your vehicle is on, but the engine is off, especially when listening to music.

4. Loose Nut in OEM Fuse Box

Getting a charging system check light in your 2017 Tacoma with only 50,000 miles may be because of a loose nut. Consequently, the loose connection usually draws power leading to a low battery below 12.5 volts.

5. Damaged Wiring, Terminals, or Electrical Connectors

The charging network of your Toyota Tacoma comprises a lot of wiring, electrical connectors, and battery terminals. When any of this is damaged due to corrosion, this may lead to a loss of battery voltage.

6. Loose or Faulty Accessories Belt

Also known as the serpentine belt, the belt is responsible for driving the alternator in the charging setup of your Tacoma. If the belt malfunctions, the alternator will not charge. Consequently, this leads to your truck’s battery discharging.

What Happens After Check Charging System Message?

When your Tacoma entirely operates on battery power, it will display the check system of charging message. If you don’t fix this issue right away, you may have to deal with the following issues:

➢ The Truck Does Not Start

Due to a loss of power caused by a loose connection in the charging network, your Tacoma may not start. This issue has been reported in the 2017 TRD sport and 2022 Toyota Tacoma.

➢ Frequent Stalling

If your battery’s charge drops below 12.5 volts, your truck’s spark plugs may fail to fire. This causes the cylinders of your Tacoma not to ignite, leading to frequent stalling.

➢ Dead Battery

When the charging setup of your Tacoma has problems, your truck’s battery may fail to recharge. If you delay fixing this issue, the battery may die, requiring a recharge or replacement.

➢ Noises Under the Tacoma’s Hood

If the accessory belt or alternator components are faulty, you may experience grinding or squealing noises from the engine. However, sometimes the grinding noises may be due to a low Toyota Tacoma transmission fluid capacity.

How To Deal With Check Toyota Tacoma Charging System

So then, how do you fix the Tacoma charging-system issue once you have determined the cause? Similar to fixing the why does my Tacoma sound like a diesel problem, you can quickly solve a faulty Tacoma charging system. Below are methods to try out.

Method 1: Clean the Corroded Battery Cables

You can use baking soda and hot water solution to clean the corroded cables of your Tacoma charging system. Alternatively, you could use a battery cleaning spray, battery cleaner, vinegar, or WD-40. You apply the cleaner or solution on the terminals and scrub the build-up with a toothbrush or wire brush.

Method 2: Replace the Battery

Your 2021 Toyota Tacoma batteries are built to last between 3 and 5 years. However, the battery could die from under or overcharging, leading to a Toyota Tacoma check charging system.

When this happens, you will have to recharge or replace the battery. If the battery is not out of the warranty period, you can get a new one at no extra cost.

Method 3: Get a New Alternator

If the voltage coming from your Tacoma’s alternator is lower than 13 volts, your mechanic may need to replace it with a new one. A bad alternator cannot be repaired.

Method 4: Replace the Serpentine Belt

You first remove the cover to replace the serpentine belt of a 2006 Toyota Tacoma. Then, loosen the tensioner pulley securing the belt in place before pulling it out. Next, install the new belt. The average cost of replacing the belt ranges between $44 and $61, including labor costs.

Method 5: Driving Your Truck

Sometimes the cause of the Tacoma “check charging system” Message could be due to the truck being in accessory mode. In this case, you should drive your vehicle so it recharges the battery, and the problem will be solved.


In this section, let’s look at frequently asked questions about your Toyota Tacoma check charging system.

Do I need to reset the check-up charging set-up light?

No. Once you have fixed the problem with the charging set-up, the light should go away on its own.

Can I drive my Tacoma with the check system charging?

Yes, you can. However, it is not advisable to do so because your Tacoma truck could stall in the middle of the road.

How do I tell if the alternator in my Tacoma charging system is faulty?

A bad alternator will be accompanied by signs such as frequent stalling, growling noises, dead battery, and trouble starting.

Key Takeaways

Depending on your truck’s year, model, and age, a check charging system Toyota Tacoma is a common issue. The good news? While there are many causes of this problem, there are many ways to fix it. Check out these additional takeaways:

  • Toyota Tacoma’s charging system comprises a battery, alternator, electric control unit, and wiring.
  • The primary role of the charging set-up or system is to ensure your truck’s battery has a charge to keep the engine running.
  • The check Toyota Tacoma charging set-up light illuminates due to a low-voltage battery, faulty alternator, damaged wiring, or lousy accessory belt.
  • Cleaning the battery cables, and replacing the battery, alternator, or serpentine belt can fix the problem.

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