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Prius HV Main Battery Replacement

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  • John P. Matznick
    Info for Prius and Hybrid owners. For those of you who own an older Prius outside of the warranties for the High Voltage main battery pack, I recommend having
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 15, 2011
      Info for Prius and Hybrid owners.
      For those of you who own an older Prius outside of the warranties for the High Voltage main battery pack, I recommend having a savings account setup or a credit card specifically for that purchase because you will have to deal with it at some point. CA has a 10 year required extended warranty for hybrids licensed and titled in CA. I do not understand we TX does not have this.

      2002 Prius originally from CA
      208K Original miles

      How would you know that your HV battery is an issue before going to dealer?
      - Do not let your hybrid sit for long periods of time without starting up now and again. We let ours sit for two months, came back and had to jump start 12V battery. Car ran for another couple months OK. 
      - We had to go out of state for another month and when we got back, the check engine light came on as well as the triangle/exclamation point light came on. I heard from others that sometimes the "turtle" light comes on, not in our case
      - After turning the car on and checking the battery charging, it looked liked it would fully charge to almost 100% and then when you drive off, it goes down to zero almost immediately
      - The car will drive for a while and the battery charging will fluctuate drastically up and down and will sometimes go over 100% charge or above the + and -. 
      - After a while of driving, in my case about 100 miles, the car would kick out of gear and rev up. There is no peddle control at all and you have to pull over and turn off the car for a bit. After turning back on, it resets and I could drive longer. I had to do this for 3 days until I was able to get to the dealer. The check engine light and triangle lights will stay on all this time. Nobody at the dealership could explain why this was happening.

      Final notes. The actual cost of the new 2002 Prius HV battery is $3,419 for and the dealership requires the customer to give up the old battery as a "core return" to give a discount of $1,350. They fought with me and would not give me the older battery so I could refurbish it myself without paying the extra $1350. I have another Prius the same age and that main HV battery will go out at some point as well and I wanted a spare. The dealer pointed out that this was the first time they had seen a car with over 200K miles come in for a battery. They normally come in at about 150K miles. I think our success in getting those miles on the original HV battery had to do with driving it consistently and not letting it sit long... until the last few months.

      So I hope this helps others in diagnosing their Prius issues in the future. Owning a hybrid will not necessarily save you money in the long run but it our choice to drive the cleanest petrol sipping vehicle we can based on what we can actually buy used.
      Our next car will be a Chevy Volt or something similar since plug in range extended vehicles are the next logical step. Pure electrics have their place as well and I am working on my FiWatt EV conversion project which will cost about $10-15K once I am done using off the shelf components and not something proprietary I must take to a dealer.

      John P. Matznick 
      Renewable Energy & Sustainability Consultant
      Green Tech Fusion
      www.GreenTechFusion.com -  Sustainable & Renewable Technologies

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