What Does Battery Saver Active Mean? [Explained]

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Ever found yourself in your car with the engine running and AC blasting, and you decide to listen to some music? Suddenly, you notice a weird message on the screen telling you the battery saver active and some electronics are turned off.

What Does Battery Saver Active Mean

Cars have many sensors to function properly and will show signs on the dashboard or driver information center should something require your attention.

The battery-saver mode will be activated when your car needs to conserve power because of a draining battery. Continue reading to find out more.

What does battery saver active mean?

“Battery Saver is Active” means that the car has detected that the battery has low voltage and the alternator cannot sustain to charge it. To prevent the car or battery from dying, it will shut down non-essential electrical loads of the car. It can also be activated when you left the lights or accessories after parking.
What Does Battery Saver Active Mean
Common triggers of Battery Saver Activated

The active battery saver alert on the driver information center indicates that your battery and alternator cannot generate the necessary power flow to sustain specific systems.

The powertrain control module communicates with the battery sensor to sense and compute your car charging system. It extends the life of your battery and avoids an abrupt shutdown.

This feature is one of the most asked questions on car forums of popular Chevrolet models such as:

  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Chevrolet Impala
  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • Chevrolet Traverse
  • Chevrolet Malibu

Although GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave and Encore, the BMW X5 (BMW X series), and other modern car makes have the same intelligent battery sensors.

How to diagnose the battery saver as active? 

You should check the charging system to ensure that it is functioning. The most straightforward method is to use a voltmeter and measure the voltage while the car runs. 

  • If the voltage exceeds 13.5V to 14.5, the system is charging and operating.
  • If the voltage falls below 12.5V, the charging mechanism is most likely not functioning properly.

This test is because a car battery has a voltage of 12V and will not go over that until it is charged. The charging system is not working if the car is driving and the voltage is around 12V or below.

Remember that each vehicle has a different operating voltage, with most around 14 volts.

A failing alternator is one of the common electrical problems in cars.

If you don’t have any tools to check the battery’s voltage, there are some things you can try to test an alternator without a multimeter.

What causes the battery saver to activate, and how can this be resolved?

The battery saver active is mostly activated by a voltage level decrease or continuous drain from the battery. Here are some of the most common reasons that may trigger the warning light:

  1. Low battery voltage
  2. Loose battery connection
  3. Malfunctioning battery sensor
  4. A bad or faulty alternator
  5. Lights or accessories left turned on after parking

1. Low battery voltage 

A dying battery is one of the most common causes of a battery saver active notification. 

So if you see a warning light on your dashboard, check the battery life.

Read more: How Long Do Car Batteries Last? It Depends on Many Factors

If the battery fails and drains below 12.4V, the battery sensor will alert the engine control unit. Non-essential systems will be turned off by the car computer, leaving just those required for optimal vehicle mobility functioning.

If you suspect the battery is the reason, you can use a multimeter to see if it is discharging the required voltage. Examine the battery to see whether it needs to be replaced.

2. Loose battery connection

Corrosion on the battery connectors might also cause problems.

Incorrect sensor readings and irregular current delivery to devices might occur from faulty battery connections.

If your battery terminals are rusty or dusty, clean them with sandpaper and a wire brush and adjust them properly, so they don’t come loose on dips and bumps. Put additional anti-corrosion spray on the terminals to keep them from rusting.

3. Malfunctioning battery sensor 

A faulty sensor and improper attachment of the battery sensor might result in erroneous data, causing the battery saver notification to appear.

The battery sensor in the car determines the voltage and net current input to the battery. The sensor monitors the net current, the device’s total power, and the current supplied by the alternator.

The battery sensor alert can be triggered if the battery receives a constant negative current supply, such as when the current drain from devices surpasses the current supply from the alternator.

It may be diagnosed by comparing the battery sensor values to an actual volt and amp meter.

4. A bad or faulty alternator 

If the battery saver active appears while driving, the problem is most likely a damaged alternator.

Following an electrical problem, an alternator may stop charging the battery, causing the battery saver to activate.

Related: Can You Jumpstart a Car With a Bad Alternator?

As discussed in the previous section, a faulty alternator may be examined with a multimeter on your own. Even with the engine and most components turned on, the voltage between the battery terminals should stay within 13.5V.

Likewise, suppose the alternator belt or drive (serpentine) belt is broken. In that case, the alternator cannot do its job to charge the battery, thus may result in a “battery saver activated” message.

5. Lights or accessories left turned on

It prevents your battery from draining even when the car is parked with its engine off.

Battery Saver Active is available in modern cars when you leave lights or other electrical accessories after parking.

If your car has this feature, your owner’s manual will tell you how to turn it on and off. You may also be able to turn it on or off by pressing a button on the dashboard or under the steering wheel.

How to fix the battery saver active?

To remove the battery saver active notification, you must first determine what is causing the message to appear.

A failed alternator, a malfunctioning battery, a corroded electrical connection, or a broken battery sensor are all possibilities.

You may narrow your search for the faulty component by checking each component, starting with the cheapest and working your way up to the alternator.

Here’s a helpful video from Youtube user aztikkel11 on how to fix battery saver active message (Chevrolet and GM):

Can I drive my car if the battery saver active light is on? 

Yes. While the Battery Saver Active warning is not entirely dangerous, it should not be disregarded.

There is no definite timeframe for how long you can drive while the battery saver is activated, but it is safe to assume that it can only last for a few hours.

You must address the problem immediately and call a mechanic or road assistance.

Conclusion

The Battery Saver Active problem is a helpful feature to avoid a dying car battery in the middle of nowhere. It usually is simple to diagnose and fix, and you may still drive your car.

The charging mechanism and the current sensor are the primary reasons, but a multimeter may be used to examine the charging system to see whether the alternator produces more than 13.5V.

If the battery or the alternator is not the problem, you can start looking at underlying causes, such as battery sensors and terminals.

If you need to trust your instincts or have the courage to fix the problem, get a skilled technician to fix it.

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