Battery Saver Active Message: Causes, Meaning & Fixes

The Battery Saver Active warning message can be perplexing for drivers of Chevy or GM vehicles. When this message appears on the dashboard of your vehicle, it is meant to grab your attention because it indicates a problem. The warning signifies that your battery has a low charge, prompting your vehicle to deactivate certain systems that could drain the battery further. This article explains the battery saver active message meaning, causes, and how to reset it.

What Does the Battery Saver Active Message Mean?

The Battery Saver Active warning message indicates that your battery has a low charge and your car is not supplying power to specific systems that may drain the battery life.

Battery Saver Active Message

This message activates a battery-saving system that optimizes the battery’s current when the battery and alternator fail to provide sufficient electrical flow. Working in conjunction with the battery sensor, the powertrain control module (PCM) detects and measures the state of your vehicle’s charging system.

By maximizing the battery’s running time, the system helps prevent a sudden shutdown. Now, let’s examine some common causes of the Battery Saver Active warning in Chevy Cruze and other vehicles.

What Causes the Battery Saver Active Message?

A dead or weak car battery is one of the major causes of the battery saver active message activation. However, a faulty battery sensor, a bad alternator, or bad connections may also trigger this message.

Let’s discuss the major causes of battery saver active message in detail:

1) Bad Battery

A bad battery is one of the frequent causes of the Battery Saver Active warning message in a Chevy Malibu. Therefore, when this warning message is triggered, it is important to check the battery’s condition.

Bad Battery, Causes of the Battery Saver Active Message

If your battery’s voltage is less than 12.4 volts, the battery sensor will notify the powertrain control module (PCM). In response, the PCM will deactivate unnecessary electrical parts, keeping only those necessary for the best vehicle operation.

Now, does the Battery Saver Active message indicate that you need a new battery? If you notice the battery as the culprit, you can perform a voltage test using a multimeter to determine if it is discharging the required voltage. Assess the battery’s condition and determine if a replacement is necessary or if there are other factors contributing to the warning.

2) Bad Connections

Intermittent electric flow to car accessories can be caused by loose or faulty battery cables, often due to corrosion. Even if the battery connections appear fine, they can still lead to different problems.

Battery Connections

To address this problem, clean the battery cables and terminals and apply an anti-rust solution. This not only fixes the current problem but also helps prevent future corrosion and damage to the battery cables.

3) Bad Alternator

The alternator of your vehicle plays a crucial role in properly charging the battery. When the alternator goes bad, it may trigger the Battery Saver Active message.


When your engine is running, the alternator provides a charging current to the battery while also distributing electricity to electrical parts. It is responsible for powering accessories like the headlights and radio until the operation of the engine.

When the alternator begins to fail, it may no longer be able to adequately charge your vehicle’s battery while the engine is operating. Consequently, the battery’s power may gradually diminish, and it may be unable to reach an optimal charge level.

Therefore, if you encounter the Battery Saver Active warning, it is essential to consider both the condition of the battery and the functionality of the alternator to identify the underlying issue.

4) Faulty Battery Sensor

The battery sensor of your vehicle plays a crucial role in regulating and measuring the net voltage and electric flow to the battery. If this sensor detects that the electric flow from the battery becomes lower than 12.4 volts, it communicates this information to the PCM, triggering the Battery Saver Active warning on the vehicle dashboard.

Battery Sensor

Additionally, the battery sensor also controls the net voltage, which includes the current drawn by the vehicle’s electrical parts and the electric flow provided by the alternator.

If there is a constant negative current, meaning that the car accessories are consuming more current than what the alternator is supplying, it can also trigger a warning message on the driver information center (DIC).

Therefore, it is important to consider the functioning of the battery sensor and alternator, the presence of corrosion, and the condition of the battery cables when diagnosing the cause of the Battery Saver Active warning message. 

Battery Saver Mode Fixes

You need to repair or replace one or more below parts to fix the battery saver active mode message:

  • Tightening Loose Connections
  • Replace Dead Battery
  • Replace the Faulty Alternator
  • Replace Malfunctioning Sensor

1) Tightening Loose Connections

Loose or inadequate battery connections are a common culprit behind the Battery Saver Active warning message on the driver information center (DIC).

Simply removing any corrosion present on the battery terminals or tightening the bolts on the battery terminal can often resolve the issue. In severe cases of corrosion, it may be necessary to replace the faulty terminal.

2) Replace Dead Battery

In the event that the battery is completely discharged and unable to hold a charge, it will need to be replaced. Typically, the car battery usually has a lifespan of around 4 to 6 years.

If it has been a while since you last replaced the battery, it may be a good time to consider getting a new one. You can either test the battery yourself using a multimeter or contact a professional electrician.

To test the battery voltage, follow these steps:

  • Ensure all electrical accessories in your vehicle are turned off.
  • Shut off your engine.
  • Use a multimeter and set it to the 20V DC range.
  • Now, attach the black lead of your multimeter to the battery-negative terminal.
  • Attach the multimeter red lead to the battery-positive terminal.
  • A properly charged battery should have a voltage reading that does not drop less than 12.1V.
  • If the battery voltage drops below 12.1V, it shows that you need to charge your battery. If you attempt to charge the battery, but it doesn’t improve, it’s likely time to replace the battery.

3) Replace the Faulty Alternator

When the alternator of your vehicle goes bad, it will be unable to effectively charge the vehicle’s battery. As a result, you may experience symptoms similar to those of a dead battery, while the root cause lies with the alternator.

To determine if the alternator is at fault, you can have it tested at a local workshop or perform the testing yourself. Follow the below-given steps to test your alternator:

  • Turn off your engine and ensure all electrical accessories are switched off.
  • Take a multimeter and fix it to a range between 15 to 20V DC.
  • Perform the cleaning of your battery terminals to remove corrosion or contaminants, ensuring good contact.
  • Attach the black probe of your multimeter to the red probe to the positive terminal and the negative terminal. The reading should be around 12.6V, indicating the battery’s resting voltage.
  • Keep the connections intact and start your vehicle. The multimeter should now display a reading between 14.2 to 14.7V, showing the charging voltage from the alternator.
  • If the reading is less than 14.2V, it suggests that the alternator is undercharging. Conversely, if the reading is more than 14.7V, it indicates overcharging.
  • To put a load on the vehicle’s electrical system, turn on the radio, air conditioning, offroad lights, interior lights, taillights, and headlights. The voltage on the multimeter should not drop less than 13V during this load test.
  • Finally, shut off your engine and check the multimeter reading again. Now, the reading must be more than 12.6 volts, indicating that the alternator is functioning properly and charging the battery.

4) Replace Malfunctioning Sensor

When the alternator and battery connections appear to be in good condition and functioning properly, a faulty battery sensor may also trigger the battery saver active message.

To check for any potential issues with the sensor, you can use a scan tool to check if any diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) have been set, indicating a problem with the sensor. If the battery saver active warning persists even after replacing the alternator and battery, it may be necessary to replace the sensor.

The battery sensor is typically installed on the negative terminal of the battery. Ensure that the connections to the sensor are secure. You may also consider lightly polishing the battery terminal before fastening it to the vehicle’s frame.

Fortunately, replacing the sensor is a relatively inexpensive fix and may also be replaced at home. It is crucial to prioritize ensuring that the connection is not loose, as a secure connection is essential for proper sensor functionality.

FAQ Section

What does battery saver active mean on a car?

The Battery Saver Active warning message indicates that your battery has a low charge and your car is not supplying power to specific systems that may drain the battery life.

Can I drive with the Battery Saver Active Message On?

Ignoring the “Battery Saver Active” warning while continuing to drive isn’t advisable. Prompt attention to this alert is essential to prevent getting stuck in a potentially hazardous situation. This message serves as a precaution that there’s a risk of engine failure, which could leave the car unable to restart. If your home or a trusted auto repair shop is nearby when this warning appears, it would be prudent to head there directly to avoid the vehicle breaking down.

How do I turn off the battery saver?

The appearance of the “Battery Saver Active” message suggests that your car’s battery is providing a suboptimal electric current to power the vehicle’s systems. The only effective solution to deactivate the battery saver mode is to identify and address the underlying issue. This could involve securing loose connections, replacing the bad battery sensor, alternator, or battery, and cleaning corrosion from the battery terminals.

Does battery saver mode mean I need a new battery?

The battery saver active warning on your Chevy doesn’t certainly indicate a need for a new battery. This alert surfaces on your driver information center when your battery is outputting less electric voltage than needed. A variety of factors could be responsible for this, such as loose battery connections, a bad battery sensor, a dead battery, or a faulty alternator.

How to fix the battery saver active?

  • Tightening loose connections
  • Replacing the dead battery  
  • Replacing the bad alternator  
  • Replacing the bad battery sensor  

What Does Battery Saver Active Mean on a Chevy?

When the “Battery Saver Active” message appears on your GM or Chevy vehicle, it signifies that the battery voltage is low, potentially due to the alternator failing to charge properly, the battery not retaining its charge or a poor connection.

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