Your dashboard displays warning messages and symbols that alert you whenever a vehicle component or system requires your attention.
If you see an unfamiliar message like the “battery saver active” warning, you don’t need to panic. As long as you know what it means and how to fix it, you’ll surely be able to get rid of it easily.
What Does the “Battery Saver Active” Warning Message Mean?
A “battery saver active” warning message will appear on your dashboard or infotainment screen once your powertrain control module (PCM) senses that your battery is weak, not holding a charge, or starting to drain. Your ride’s PCM is alerted using a battery sensor that senses and calculates power flow in your charging system.
In a nutshell, your ride’s battery-saver active system maximizes the remaining current on your battery in situations when the battery and alternator do not provide enough current flow. It works similar to the “battery saver” mode you have on your smartphone.
Once this mode is active, the PCM shuts down some electrical components that can drain your battery. This can include your vehicle’s entertainment system, air conditioning, and other electrical accessories.
By shutting down non-essential components, your vehicle can run a bit longer, and you’ll have time to find an auto repair shop or pull over somewhere safe. Take note, however, that you can still end up stranded once your battery drains completely. This feature only slows it down so that an immediate shutdown is prevented.
Does a “Battery Saver Active” Warning Message Mean I Need a New Battery?
A weak battery can cause your “battery saver warning” message to appear on your dashboard. However, it’s not the only possible culprit. There are several possible reasons why your battery saver mode would activate, and a dead or weak battery is just one of them.
What Components Can Trigger the Car Battery Saver Warning Message?
Here are some of the common underlying issues that can cause the battery saver warning light to appear on your dashboard:
A battery is considered weak if it’s discharging less than 12.4 volts. Once the battery sensor detects this value, it’ll alert the PCM to activate the battery saver mode.
Remember that a weak battery can no longer hold a charge. You wouldn’t have a lot of time before your battery drains completely. If you suspect that your battery is weak, have it inspected by a trusted mechanic.
Connector and Cable Issues
Your ride’s charging system is made up of several connectors and cables. Once these connectors and cables become loose, the electrical flow from the alternator will be interrupted.
Aside from checking for loose connections, you also might want to look for signs of rust. Corrosion can also cause these connectors and cables to go bad.
You can try to clean the battery terminals and cables to fix the issue. You can also apply anti-rust. If you’re unsure about anything, it’s always a good idea to consult a trusted mechanic.
Bad Battery Sensor
Modern vehicles come equipped with a battery sensor that monitors and helps regulate electric flow. Once the sensor detects that the current flow is below 12.4 volts, it’ll tell the PCM to trigger the battery saver mode. However, like most sensors, a battery sensor can also go bad. Once the PCM can’t make sense of the data that the sensor is giving, it can trigger the battery saver mode as a safety measure.
Also, the battery sensor measures net voltage. Net voltage is the electric flow that’s being supplied to the alternator and the current drawn by your car accessories. If the car accessories draw more current than what the alternator supplies, a constant negative current will be detected. This can also trigger the battery saver warning message.
How to Fix the Battery Saver Active Warning Message
To get rid of this warning message, you’ll have to pinpoint what’s causing the issue. As discussed in the section above, there can be many reasons why your warning message appears.
You can start by checking if the connections and cables in the charging system are in good condition. If the connections aren’t the problem, you’d now have to find out which component is faulty.
Testing a Car Battery With a Multimeter
A good battery should be able to hold a charge. If you really want to check your battery’s health, you can take your ride to a repair shop and ask them to test your battery using a hand-held digital analyzer.
However, if you’re a seasoned DIYer, you can check your battery’s state of charge using a multimeter. To know more about it, you can review our step-by-step guide on how to test a battery using a multimeter.
Checking Your Alternator
You can test the alternator for problems by performing a jumpstart test, monitoring the charging system output using a digital multimeter, or hiring a professional mechanic to do so. You can also observe and look for bad alternator symptoms like overly bright lights, strange noises, and stalling. You can read our article on bad alternators to know more about what to look for.
Once you find out what component is causing the issue, get that component replaced right away. There are many aftermarket battery sensors, alternators, and batteries available—so it isn’t that hard to find a replacement.
Is It Safe to Drive with the Battery Saver Mode On?
Technically, you can still drive your vehicle even if it’s in battery saver mode. However, be aware that your battery won’t last long. It’s best to find a safe location to pull over immediately. This will help ensure that you won’t get stranded in a remote or dangerous location.
Remember that some electrical components will be shut off once your ride is in battery saver mode. That means your air conditioning, radio, and other electrical components may be unusable.
Avoid getting stranded or stuck on the road by taking action right away once you see this warning message on your dash. Have your ride repaired right away, so you can get back on the road in no time.
Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.