In this article, I will explain what the “System Off to Save Battery” means on your Ford, the leading causes, and how to fix and reset the alert. Let’s get to it.
What Does System Off to Save Battery Mean on a Ford?
This alert is one of the common alerts I have seen on Ford vehicles, especially on the Explorer, F150, Fusion, Escape, and Ford Focus.
In simple terms, “system off to save battery” means that your Ford Battery Monitoring System (BMS) has detected a low battery voltage and is trying to save it by turning off most of the power-consuming systems in the vehicle.
Ford Battery Monitoring System Brief Explanation
The BMS System on Ford vehicles was first introduced in 2011 and has been improved over the years.
The BMS is designed to monitor and protect the battery in your vehicle while it’s being used, so it can alert you if there are any issues with the battery or the charging system.
With all the advanced features and systems that are now available due to new technologies, things like Electronic Power Steering, Electric Parking Brakes, and so on, the battery is more at risk than ever before.
This is because these systems require a constant supply of power to keep running smoothly.
Things You Might Experience When the “System Off to Save Battery” Alert Comes on
After this message comes on, there are other symptoms you may experience that can indicate a problem with your battery or the charging system. These symptoms include:
- Interior Lights are Not Working
- Auto Start-Stop System Stops Working
- Radio Shuts off
- The infotainment Screen turns off randomly
- Dimmer headlights and more
Ford System Off to Save Battery Ford Causes
Now that I have explained what this alert means and the symptoms you may experience if your car is experiencing this issue
Let’s talk about what causes this alert to come on.
Technically, there are a lot of factors that can cause this issue, but based on my personal experience as a technician, there are only five main culprits.
1. Faulty Battery
The most common cause of the “System Off to Save Battery” alert is a bad battery.
The battery is a key component of your car’s electrical system and is responsible for providing power when you turn the ignition.
If it’s not working properly, then this will cause all kinds of issues, like the one we are discussing today.
Over time the battery condition and its ability to charge and hold a charge properly deteriorate due to the number of cycles (discharging and recharging) it has gone through, as well as its age.
Your Ford Battery typically lasts anywhere between 3-5 years before having issues.
If you keep getting the “System Off to Save Battery” alert and you haven’t changed the battery in the last 3 years or so, then you probably need a new battery.
2. Low Battery
Low battery is another common cause for the “System Off to Save Battery” alert.
In order for your car battery to be charged by the alternator, it needs to be driven a certain number of miles before it can be recharged.
If you don’t drive your car for a long period of time or you typically only drive short distances, then it’s possible that the battery will drain below a certain level and need to be recharged.
The reason for this simply boils down to the supply and demand of power since your Ford needs to be driven to be recharged, and the battery drains when you are not driving.
3. Aftermarket Modification Draining the Battery
The third common cause of the “System Off to Save Battery” message is due to aftermarket accessories like dash cams and stereo systems.
I have seen several cases where the aftermarket accessories were pulling too much power from the battery, causing it to drain faster than it should.
This can be caused by a malfunctioning accessory, an accessory that is not properly installed, or one that is drawing power when it should not be.
If you have aftermarket mods on your Ford, it’s worth checking these accessories first,
As they can be the source of your battery drain, especially if your battery is fairly new.
4. Corroded or Loose Battery Terminals
Corroded battery terminals can cause an issue with charging the battery.
The corrosion can also lead to a poor connection between the battery and the terminal, which results in poor transfer of power from the alternator to the battery.
The same goes for loose battery terminals.
5. Failing/Faulty Alternator
The fifth and final leading cause of the “System Off to Save Battery” on a Ford vehicle is a bad alternator.
The Alternator is responsible for generating electricity for the vehicle’s electrical systems, including the lights and radio.
The alternator is also responsible for charging the battery and keeping it at peak performance levels.
If the alternator is failing, it won’t be able to charge up the battery, and the BMS system of your Ford will shut off to preserve the remaining power in your battery.
How to Fix and Reset the “System Off to Save Battery” Alert
Now that I have explained the common causes of this issue let’s look at how to go about fixing it.
Check the Terminals
The first thing I recommend that you do is check your battery cables to see if there is any corrosion or if they are loose.
If you find that they are corroded, then clean them up and make sure they are tight.
Replace the Battery
If the battery terminals are good, then you likely have a bad battery.
I recommend getting the battery tested and replaced if the battery is old and has been used for more than two years.
This can be done at any auto parts store or a Ford dealer.
In most cases, replacing the battery should solve and reset the fault message
Test the Alternator
If the battery is good and you normally drive long enough for your car to charge the battery, then the problem is likely that your alternator is not working properly.
I would advise you to take your Ford to a repair shop to have the alternator tested. If the alternator is bad, then it will need to be replaced.