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Error Code P0560 is defined as System Voltage Malfunction, meaning an abnormal voltage reading has been detected from the battery, charging, or starting systems. A problem likely caused by a poor connection, faulty wiring, or issues in the alternator or battery.
This is a generic trouble code, meaning it applies to all vehicles equipped with OBD-II system, particularly those made since 1996 up to present. It is particularly common among Dodge, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Saab, Toyota, and Jaguar vehicles.
For a certain extent, the PCM (powertrain control module, also known as ECM or engine control module in other vehicle makes) controls the charging system of a vehicle, by controlling the power or ground circuit to the voltage regulator inside the alternator.
To determine whether the charging system is working, the PCM then monitors the ignition feed circuit. If the voltage is too high or too low, or if the voltage is not present when it should be, then this code will be set. Error Code P0560 is set when the PCM detects an abnormal voltage value from the battery, charging, or starting systems. This code is strictly an electrical problem.
As with most codes, this code activates the Check Engine light and registers the code to the vehicle’s memory system. Other common symptoms include:
- Battery light is on
- Engine stalling upon an idle vehicle
- Transmission shifting issues (may not shift, applicable in automatic transmission models)
- Increase in fuel consumption
Many causes could lead to this error code, such as:
- Failed alternator
- Failed battery
- Failed starting or charging system
- Damaged wiring, battery cables
- Bad voltage regulator
- Corrosion on battery terminal ends
- Defective or malfunctioning vehicle battery
How to Check
As with most codes, it is best to start your diagnosis of this error code with the use of a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) for your particular vehicle. Vehicle manufacturers release troubleshooting and repairs for known issues.
The most common cause for this problem is low battery voltage, disconnected battery, or faulty alternator which causes a problem in the charging system. In this case, it’s important to check the alternator belt as well.
Check the Charging System
First step, check the charging system. Start the engine, and then load the electrical system by turning the headlights on and blower fan to high speed. Using a DVOM (digital volt-ohmmeter) check the battery’s voltage. It should be between 13.2V and 14.7V. If the voltage is lower than 12V or more than 15.5V, then you need to inspect the charging system, with emphasis on the alternator.
If unsure, have your battery, starting and charging system tested at an auto repair shop or a local parts store. You can also ask for a printout of the result. They can perform this service for a small charge, some even for free,
If the voltage is correct, then clear the diagnostic trouble codes from the memory using your scan tool to see if the code returns. If it does NOT return, then this code is either intermittent or is a history/memory code, and no further diagnosis may be required.
If the code DOES return, then locate the PCM and check its connectors and wirings. Look for signs of damage, such as bare wires, burn spots, melted plastic, rubbing, scraping, etc. Pull the connectors apart and check the metal parts of the terminals within the connectors, and look for signs of burnt or corrosion (green tint). If the terminal needs cleaning, clean it using electrical contact cleaner and a plastic bristle brush. Let it dry and apply electrical grease where the terminals contact.
Then, clear the codes using the scan tool, and if it comes back. If it does NOT, then you have problems on your connection.
If the code comes back again, then you have to check the voltage to the PCM. Disconnect the negative connection at the battery. Then, disconnect the harness that goes to the PCM. Reconnect the battery cable and then turn the ignition switch on. Using the DVOM, test the PCM ignition feed circuit (red lead to the PCM ignition feed circuit, black lead to good ground). If there are fewer battery volts on this circuit, then repair the wirings in the PCM connected to the ignition switch.
If it’s ok, then check to make sure you have a good ground at the PCM. Connect a test light on 12V battery positive (red terminal) and touch the other end of the test light to the ground circuit that goes to the PCM ignition feed circuit ground. If the light doesn’t light up, then the problem is the circuit. If it does light up, wiggle the harness that goes to the PCM to see if the light flickers. If it does flicker, then you have an intermittent connection problem.
How to Fix
Common repairs for this code include:
- Replacement of the alternator
- Replacement of the battery
- Cable, connector, or wiring repair
For some vehicles with issues in the PCM, or in the additional charging and starting system failures, they may require more complex repairs or full replacements of defective components.
If after doing all tests you’re still getting the error code, then that means you have a failed PCM. In which case, you need the assistance of a professional technician to reprogram the PCM or calibrate the vehicle for it to be installed correctly.
Though this code is not a serious problem for the performance of the vehicle, it can affect other important systems, such as the security and locking system, audio, phone, navigation, in-vehicle entertainment systems, power seating systems, and climate control systems.