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Do Prius batteries need replacing?

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by VicVicVic, Jul 1, 2012.

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  1. VicVicVic

    VicVicVic New Member

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    Hi, I hope you're well.

    Consider me an idiot and please help me out. My brother is looking for a new car and I've been telling him about the Prius. My relatives all state that hybrid car batteries will die within five years and it will cost him thousands of dollars to replace the batteries. I do not own a car, so anything I say seems to be pointless. My own research shows that the battery is covered by the warranty for a decade or so.

    I am turning to the experts here to clarify this. Will the Prius batteries die under regular usage? Does the included warranty for new Prius vehicles cover battery issues? Any information will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Vic
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  2. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Sigh... it's the usual myths from people who don't own hybrids. See Lifespan/Operating costs - Prius Wiki.

    The hybrid battery on the Prius liftback (aka regular Prius) is warranted for 8 years/100K miles for most states and 10 years/150K miles in CA and CARB emission states (there are ~7-10 of them besides CA). Toyota Prius Warranty and Coverage mentions the 1st warranty.

    You can read about all the details at http://www.toyota.com/t3Portal/document/omms/T-MMS-12Prius/pdf/2012_Toyota_Prius_WMG.pdf for the '12 Prius. This is also accessible via Toyota Online Owners Manuals and Technical Manuals if you select 2012 Prius in the upper right.

    Yes, they can die, but generally, when they fail, it's out of warranty (and usually past 150K miles), unless the person lives in a very hot climate and/or hilly area. It's highly unlikely for it to fail in 5 years. If it does, assuming one is under the 100K or 150K mileage limit, then you've won the lottery.

    They admittedly can be expensive to replace out of warranty, esp. if Toyota won't cover the part/all of the cost out of goodwill. See Failed traction (HV) battery, what to do? - Prius Wiki for options.

    The cheaper, smaller Prius c does NOT get 10 year/150K mile HV battery warranty in CA and CARB states. It appears to only get an 8 year/100K mile HV battery warranty. Warranty booklet is at http://www.toyota.com/t3Portal/document/omms/T-MMS-12PriusC/pdf/2012_Toyota_Prius_C_WMG.pdf.
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  3. VicVicVic

    VicVicVic New Member

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    Thank you for a very detailed reply. It's only when there is clear evidence that my relatives will believe me (of course, I appreciate clear evidence for most things, but it's ridiculous when they only know unsupported myths).

    I live in California, and it looks like the hybrid battery is covered for 10 years or 150,000 miles, according to page 11 of the PDF (and you stated it, as well). Does this mean that if the battery is dead or has an issue for any reason under regular usage, there will be a fix or replacement?

    Oh, speaking of batteries, how many batteries are in the Prius 3rd Gen? My relatives have been telling me there are four, but I remember reading there are two. In any case, all of the batteries are covered under the warranty, right?

    Thank you very much,
    Vic
  4. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Yes, Toyota will replace it. They don't mess around w/trying to replace modules.

    No. There are two batteries: the big HV battery (contains a whole bunch of modules) and the 12 volt. Both are in the rear. The 12 volt has a relatively short warranty and is definitely not covered under the 8 year/100K or 10 year/150K mile warranty. I'd expect the 12 volt to last only 4-6 years.

    I've had my 06 Prius since Janaury 06. I replaced the 12 volt a year ago. I'm of course still on the original HV battery.

    Also, Toyota in their brochures like http://www.toyota.com/byt4/2012/prius/en/condensed_ebro.pdf says "Hybrid vehicle battery expected life is 150,000 miles based on laboratory bench testing" on the last page.

    BTW, what happened to your purchase? I looked at your old posts and it seemed like you were in the market.
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  5. VicVicVic

    VicVicVic New Member

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    Thanks for the prompt reply.

    How much does it usually cost to replace the 12 volt battery?

    My girlfriend and I were interested in the Prius C, but after test driving it and thinking more about it, we've decided to get a 3rd Gen Prius instead. I had switched jobs recently, so we're waiting for me to settle into my job before making the purchase, which should be within the next few months.

    Vic
  6. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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  7. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    You might want to consider a used, 2008-09 Prius. Also, the early 2010 models are just running out their 3/36000 mi warranty:


    Check the Ebay completed listings:
    You may be able to find a used Prius with reasonable mileage for a fair price by using Ebay (and Craig's list?) to look at the market. Our first Prius:
    • 49,000 miles - past the 3/36000 warranty
    • $17,300 - fair price, ~10% under Kelly Blue Book at the time
    • Texas dealer selling the car - flew out to drive back, already had financing with my bank
    If you are patient and do your homework, you can plot the actual prices paid and monitor the market. Make sure if you use Ebay that you have your credit-card pre-approved for the typical $500 deposit. Then every day check the listings and wait for a good deal.

    It is perfectly OK to call the dealer and speak with whoever handles internet sales. Make sure things like temp tags and contact information for their finance officer are known to share with your bank.

    GOOD LUCK!
    Bob Wilson
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  8. Reedja42

    Reedja42 2012 Prius, Gen III, Barcelona Red, (FRED)

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    Sounds like a lot of the same misinformation that I was exposed to. Have your relatives read my recent post here:


    http://priuschat.com/threads/conservative-republican-buys-a-prius-and-loves-it.111422/


    Remind them that the Prius is becoming popular as a taxi, not something that would happen if it wasn’t up to the challenge, and as with any car its batteries will need to be replaced at some point. The Prius is a reliable car for the most part, and as long as you budget for the eventual replacement of the HV battery, it is not the big deal that some people will try and make it out to be. Also the 12 volt battery is the one that will need to be replaced first and this will occur sometime after 4 years or so, depending on your conditions and driving habits, but this is the same battery that has to be replaced in any vehicle, and it costs around $100.00 to $200.00, not thousands of dollars. There are things on any modern car that if replaced can be expensive and the Prius is no different. Look around at the threads here on PC; you will see that many owners have well over 100,000 miles on their vehicles. My last car (not a Prius) limped its way to 105,000 miles and faced expensive maintenance, but I am expecting much more reliability from the Prius.

    From my own experience I would strongly recommend that your brother and family take one for a test drive and watch the myths explode. I recommend doing the test drive in normal mode because it drives closest to a non-hybrid this way. The other option that many here have done is to rent one and do your normal driving with it for a few days. The Prius will sell itself with what it can do. Good luck.
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  9. Stephen Grund

    Stephen Grund New Member

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    Hello,
    My 2004 Prius has 166,000 miles on it. I live in CT. Suddenly, within the last few days, it has gone from 46-50 MPG in the spring, summer and fall (43 in winter) to 40 mpg this week (last week of June, 2012-it has been in the low 90s here but normally does best in the hot summer). Any suggestions on what might be causing this?

    Thanks,
    Stephen
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    can you apply for new relatives?:D
  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    not to derail this thread, you should try searching priuschat. there are many threads on 'why have my mpg's decreased suddenly'? and then start a new thread if you can't find the answer.
  12. VicVicVic

    VicVicVic New Member

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    haha. I find it more helpful to educate instead of ignore people when they are incorrect. This way, we all get to learn!

    Vic
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  13. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Another thing the OP should mention to the relatives is the 2 years of "free" maintenance: Complimentary Maintenance Plan - Toyota Care and that current Prius family members have no drive belts. They also use a timing chain, have no starter, no alternator nor a reverse gear. Brakes last a long time due to regen, 100K+ miles on the original brakes on 2nd gens isn't unheard of.

    If you looked at Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity - Hybrid Electric Vehicles (linked to in the wikia entry), you'll notice 1 of the Gen 3 Priuses needed new brakes at 126K miles. The other appears to be on its original brakes at 160K miles.
  14. Reedja42

    Reedja42 2012 Prius, Gen III, Barcelona Red, (FRED)

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    All true.(y) I have huge hills where I live that used to burn through my breaks on other cars, but the Prius can maintain speed control with just the regenerative braking; only using the friction brakes at the very bottom to stop for the stop signs. Have I mentioned that I love this car?:)
  15. mjones12

    mjones12 Member

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    My 2007 Hybrid Camry went about 130,000 miles before being traded for the Prius IV. In this state, the warranty on the battery is 100,000 miles. Our dealership told us not to worry, that they had replaced batteries that had as much as 200,000 miles on them and that the replacements had always been without charge. Must have been some sort of PR thing, but they swore they had never charged for a traction battery replacement. This wasn't just a selling point. They were telling us this when we already had high mileage on the car.
  16. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Don't forget the ordinary coin cells in the key fobs.

    So if the relatives want to quibble, they are right -- four batteries. But replacement coin cells are cheap.
  17. 4theFauna

    4theFauna New Member

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    This thread was incredibly helpful to me, a soon-to-be Prius c owner. Thank you for starting the thread and all the very helpful responses. Although I didn't ask their opinion, I have relatives shooting down my decision to buy a Prius c for the same reasons Vic laid out (batteries dying and costing thousands to replace.) They're trying to look out for me, but they're just unaware of current developments.

    I have a question to add to this thread. What does "tread battery" mean? I've seen the word "tread" in several other threads. Does that refer to the NiMH battery?
  18. alekska

    alekska Member

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    You probably misspelled it ... I can think of
    1) "traction" battery = "high voltage" battery = "main" battery = "hybrid" battery, or
    2) "auxiliary" battery = "12-volt" battery = "stand-by" battery ="small" battery ,

    but never seen "tread" battery mentioned

    - Alex
  19. 4theFauna

    4theFauna New Member

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    Ah yes, "traction" is probably what I meant. THIS response is very helpful! Thank you!

    Actually, it brings to mind another question. WHY does the Prius need two batteries?
  20. alekska

    alekska Member

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    The small 12-v battery (same as in all cars but smaller) is needed so
    1) you can unlock your car with power locks
    2) have a dome light at night when car is off
    3) supply initial power to car computers UNTIL the car is in READY when you start it (at READY traction battery is connected to hybrid inverter and inverter is supplying 12 volts to car electronics and charging small 12-v battery)

    Traction battery is needed for operation of hybrid drive.

    Traction battery have to be completely disconnected from the car when car is turned off for
    1) safety (its potentially deadly high-voltage)
    2) to prevent discharge during a long-time park

    Hope this helps

    - Alex
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