RFA 1 Battery Low on Car Dashboard: What You Need to Know and How to Fix It!

Have you ever encountered the bothersome “RFA 1 Battery Low” display that appears on your dashboard while driving? It’s not just you. 

Certain automobiles, especially General Motors (GM) vehicles, will show an “RFA 1 Battery Low Warning” message to let the driver know that the key fob’s remote keyless entry (RKE) transmitter’s battery is becoming low. 

In this blog post, we’ll look at what RFA 1 battery low means, why it happens, and how you can fix it yourself. So fasten your seatbelt and get ready to receive some helpful auto maintenance advice!

rfa 1 battery low

Understanding RFA 1 Battery Low Warning

Let’s first clarify what “RFA 1 Battery Low” truly implies before getting into the details of correcting the problem. 

RFA stands for “Remote Function Actuator,” which refers to the system that manages the remote functions of your vehicle, such as locking and unlocking doors, remote starting, or activating the alarm.

Don’t worry, though – we’re here to guide you through the process of changing the battery and getting you back on the road in no time!

Symptoms of a Low RFA 1 Battery

Now that we know what RFA 1 battery low means, let’s talk about the symptoms you might experience when your key fob’s battery is dying. 

It’s important to recognize these signs early on so you can change the battery before it’s completely drained. Common symptoms include:

Reduced range

You may notice that you need to be closer to your vehicle for the key fob to work, and the remote functions may not be as responsive as usual.

Inconsistent performance

The key fob may work intermittently or inconsistently, requiring multiple button presses to activate the desired function.

Complete loss of remote functions

In some cases, the key fob may stop working altogether, preventing you from using remote functions such as locking or unlocking doors, remote start, or activating the alarm.

“RFA 1 Battery Low Warning” message

Many vehicles, especially GM vehicles, will display a warning message on the instrument cluster or infotainment screen when the key fob battery is running low. This serves as a clear indication that it’s time to replace the battery.

Difficulty starting the vehicle

Some vehicles with keyless ignition systems may experience difficulty starting the engine if the key fob battery is low. This is because the vehicle might not be able to detect the presence of the key fob with a low battery.

Security features not functioning

Some vehicles have security features tied to the key fob, such as immobilizers or anti-theft systems. A low battery might cause these features to malfunction, potentially preventing you from starting your vehicle.

How to Replace the RFA 1 Battery?

Alright, time to roll up our sleeves and get to work! Replacing the RFA 1 battery is a simple and cost-effective DIY task that you can complete in just a few minutes. 

Follow these steps to replace the battery in your key fob: When you see this warning message, it’s time to replace the battery in your key fob to ensure that the remote features continue to function properly. 

Replacing the battery is generally a simple process that involves the following steps:

Gather the necessary tools

A small, flathead screwdriver or a plastic pry tool, and a new CR2032 or equivalent battery (check your vehicle’s owner manual for the specific battery type).

Carefully pry open the key fob

Locate the small indentation or seam where the two halves of the key fob meet. Gently insert the screwdriver or pry tool and twist it slightly to separate the halves. Be cautious not to apply too much pressure to avoid damaging the key fob.

Remove the old battery

Once the key fob is open, you will see the battery inside. Carefully remove the old battery by prying it out with the screwdriver or your fingernail, making sure not to damage the battery contacts.

Insert the new battery

Place the new battery in the key fob with the positive side (+) facing up. Ensure that it is seated correctly and firmly in place.

Reassemble the key fob

Carefully align the two halves of the key fob and press them together until they snap into place. Make sure there are no gaps or misalignments.

Test the key fob

Press the buttons on the key fob to ensure that it is functioning correctly. The RFA 1 Battery Low Warning should disappear from your vehicle’s display once the new battery is installed.

Note: If the warning message persists even after changing the battery, you may need to consult your vehicle’s owner manual or visit a professional to diagnose any potential issues with the RKE system.

RFA 1 Battery Low Warning still appear after replacing the battery

If your “RFA 1 Battery Low Warning” light still appears after replacing the battery, it is possible that the issue is not resolved, or there is a problem with the sensor or electrical system. Here are a few steps to help you troubleshoot the issue:

Double-check the new battery

Ensure that the replacement battery is the correct type and size for your vehicle. Also, check the manufacturing date to make sure it is not old or expired, as this could cause the warning light to remain on.

Reset the warning light

Some vehicles require a manual reset of the warning light after replacing the battery. Consult your owner’s manual or search online for the specific procedure for your make and model.

Check the battery connections

Ensure that the battery terminals are clean, free of corrosion, and tightly connected. A poor connection can cause the warning light to remain on even if the battery is in good condition.

Check the battery voltage

Use a multimeter to measure the voltage of the new battery. A fully charged battery should read between 12.6V to 12.8V when the engine is off. If the voltage is lower, the battery might not be fully charged, or there could be an issue with the charging system.

Inspect the alternator

If the battery voltage is low, there could be an issue with the vehicle’s alternator or charging system. Check the alternator belt for proper tension and wear, and test the alternator output with a multimeter.

Check for a parasitic drain

If the battery and alternator appear to be functioning correctly, there could be a parasitic drain causing the low battery warning. This refers to a device or component that continues to draw power from the battery even when the vehicle is off. A professional mechanic can help diagnose and locate the source of a parasitic drain.

Faulty sensor or module

If all other factors have been ruled out, the issue could be a faulty sensor or module responsible for monitoring the battery’s state of charge. In this case, you may need to visit a professional mechanic for further diagnosis and repair.

Preventing RFA 1 Battery Issues in the Future

Phew, we’ve made it this far! With your RFA 1 battery issue resolved, let’s take a moment to chat about preventing future battery problems. 

By taking a few simple precautions, you can extend the life of your  key fob’s battery and avoid the inconvenience of dealing with a dead battery. 

Here are some best practices and maintenance tips to keep your key fob functioning like new for years to come:

Store your key fob properly

Avoid exposing your key fob to extreme temperatures, direct sunlight, or excessive moisture. Store it in a cool, dry place when not in use.

Use your key fob sparingly

Your key fob’s battery will run out faster if you keep pushing the buttons. Use your key fob just as needed, and refrain from repeatedly pushing the buttons.

Check for software updates

Certain cars have software upgrades that might make the key fob system more effective. To find out if there are any updates available for your model, contact the manufacturer or dealership of your automobile.

Keep a spare battery

A backup battery should always be kept on hand, just in case. To extend the shelf life of the extra battery, store it somewhere cool and dry.

Be mindful of the warning signs

Pay attention to the symptoms we mentioned earlier, such as decreased range or inconsistent functionality. If you notice any of these signs, it’s probably time to replace the battery.


And that’s a wrap! We hope this blog post has helped you understand what “RFA 1 Battery Low” means and how to address it. 

With your newfound knowledge, you can confidently replace your key fob’s battery and keep it in tip-top shape. 

Remember, a little bit of preventive maintenance goes a long way in ensuring a smooth driving experience. Happy motoring, and until next time!

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