Toyota 4Runner 1996-2002: Why is My Battery Not Charging?

There are a few things that can go wrong that could prevent the battery from charging. Read on to learn how to diagnose the issue.

By Bassem Girgis - February 11, 2016

This article applies to the Toyota 4Runner (1996-2002).

It's one thing to have a dead battery, but it's a whole different thing to continue to have a dead battery. There are a few things that can go wrong in the Toyota 4Runner that would prevent the battery from charging. If your battery is leaving you stranded everywhere you go, then you have to take some action. Diagnosing the problem can be very straightforward if done correctly. So if you're sick of your car not starting, read on to learn how to diagnose it.

Toyota 4Runner Why is My Battery Not Charging?

Materials Needed

  • Wrench
  • Voltmeter
  • Water and baking soda

Step 1 – Check battery terminals

They could be corroded.

When your battery is not charging, you have to think about the current. Even though your battery is what gives electricity to certain components, the alternator charges it when the car is on. If the terminals are corroded, your car could fail to start, and if it does start, it could fail to charge. Inspect the terminals from any corrosion, and if you find any white looking powder, use water and baking soda to clean it. Be sure to remove the terminals first for extra safety.

toyota 4runner battery not charging car wont start
Figure 1. Corroded battery terminal.

If the battery terminal is in a good condition, proceed to Step 2.

Step 2 – Test battery

It could be faulty.

After a while, the battery could go bad and stop holding charge, no matter how much you charge it. The best way to test a battery is to go to an auto store, most of them will check it for free. If you want to test it yourself, be sure to have a voltmeter in hand, then put the red probe on the red (positive) battery terminal, and the black probe on the black (negative) battery terminal. A good battery should read around 12v. If the battery starts reading less and less, that means it can't hold a charge. Ask your auto store if they can charge the battery overnight, then check it the next day.

toyota 4runner battery not charging car wont start
Figure 2. Voltmeter.

If your battery can hold its charge, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3 – Check alternator

It could be faulty.

The alternator is in charge of charging your battery. If the alternator has gone bad, you usually would hear a humming sound coming from it, accompanied with a burning smell. But to be completely sure, start your car, use jumper cables if you need to, then let the car run for a while. As the car is running, remove the negative (black) battery terminal. If the car stops working, that means the alternator is bad; if it continues to run, that means the battery is bad, not the alternator. Also, keep an eye on the headlights, then step on the gas and if the light fades, it could also mean the alternator is bad.

toyota 4runner battery not charging car wont start
Figure 3. Alternator.

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