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07 Prius pulled p0a80 code "Replace Hybrid Battery" - What are my options?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by ChrisEckes, May 17, 2017.

  1. ChrisEckes

    ChrisEckes New Member

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    Hi all-

    New-ish Prius owner and loving it. Bought a used '07 Prius a year or two ago that had been in an accident with a Salvage title, but we took the risk knowing that it was cheaper up front and we may have to pay down the road. It had 56k miles when we got it and we've put another ~55k on it in the last almost two years. Other than needing to re-do the AC, the car has run like a champ. My wife or I have gotten the red triangle a few times, but each time it seems to have been due to low gas or out of gas - we fill it up and it's good to go.

    A couple days ago, my wife got the red triangle immediately after she gassed up, so she took the car to the Toyota dealer. They pulled the "Replace Hybrid Battery" code. I was told that two of the hybrid cells are dying - not dead yet, but dying. Was quoted $3400ish to replace with the new Toyota-brand battery, or $2900ish for a 3rd party brand battery.

    A couple things about me before we get to the questions: I am not a DIYer. I have zero experience working on cars. I *might* be able to change my own oil if it was a life-and-death situation.

    I've read through several threads and gleaned the following: you can replace individual modules if you have the skills to do it yourself; there are quite a few 3rd party battery sellers that come with various "Caveat Emptor" clauses; the brand-new Toyota batteries usually don't fail, but the other batteries have different outcomes; a new Toyota battery should come with a 3 year warranty (unless that thread had out of date info).

    Now that we've gotten that out of the way... what are my options here?

    My specific questions:

    1) Is there anything about the car being a salvage that could negatively impact a new battery? The car only has 115k miles on it so I'm perfectly happy putting a new battery in it under the assumption that it can run another 100k-150k miles, but I'm concerned that there may be something going on under the hood that would cause the battery to fail more rapidly, that is the reason this battery failed. Is this possible, or should I not worry about it? If it is possible, how do I go about finding out if this is throwing good money after bad?

    2) Is there any alternative that I have as a non-DIYer other than getting a new battery? Will the dealers replace individual modules? If not the dealer, are you aware of other local mechanics being willing to do so? Is that even a smart decision in this situation? For anyone with specific recommendations, I'm in the Minneapolis, MN area. Feel free to PM me.

    3) The dealer told us that it was safe to drive home from the dealership and then back to them when we decided what we wanted to have done, but probably not more than that. Do you agree with that assessment, or is it generally okay to drive in small doses?

    4) If you were me, what would you do here? I'm leaning towards the new Toyota-brand battery, but wanted to make sure there weren't any other options that I'm overlooking, or whether there could be something more deep-seated wrong with the car itself that would make a new battery a bad investment.
     
    #1 ChrisEckes, May 17, 2017
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  2. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    4. Get the new battery, just because you are not a DIY person.

    Running out of gas multiple times is probably what killed your battery.
     
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  3. ChrisEckes

    ChrisEckes New Member

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    Thank you!

    I am only aware of one time that the car actually 'ran out of gas', and one other time that it should have been fine based on the miles but we got the triangle. Of course we are not the first owners so it's hard to know how often it occurred in the past. I appreciate the commentary, as now I know this is something to look out for in the first place :)
     
  4. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Whenever you run out of fuel, the battery takes over and it gets drained to a very low level. If the battery is new and strong, it probably won't do much harm. But if the battery is old and weak, it can throw a failure code.
     
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  5. codycowgill

    codycowgill Junior Member

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    An 07 with only 56k miles at the time of purchase makes me wonder if the car sat for an extended period of time. Have heard that is also bad for battery.
     
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  6. hayden55

    hayden55 Member

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    Really honestly you should be brave and replace your hybrid battery yourself. It's SOO EASY. And there are plenty of videos on it. Its basically a mild size box on a hump right behind the rear seat. All the disconnects are easy and there are plenty of videos to help you do it. That alone should save you the $120/hr labor at Toyota.
    Past that I wanna say Dorman actually makes great parts. They are the ones that rebuild peoples oem batteries and re manufacturer them and send them to advance auto and the like. If you buy online you get $50 bucks off and can have it for 1350. Three year warranty. If you buy a $30 ratchet set you could put it in yourself in a maximum of two hours.
     
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  7. stockdaddy

    stockdaddy Member

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    When Toyota dealer said 2 modules were dying, the voltage is read in blocks of 2 modules together so you really don't know which is bad till you have the HV battery apart. You can drive for short distance.

    I replaced individual modules myself because the math doesn't add up to putting a new battery in a used car. Toyota will not replace individual modules and they will not put in used parts to fix a car.

    A rebuilt or salvage title may not be bad, it really depends on what event triggered the title change. The computer controls the charging/discharging on based on you stating it ran 2yr np, i doubt any preexisting condition caused it to fail prematurely.

    The skill level required to fix the HV battery in my opinion is slightly less than say changing the front brake pads yourself. You would have to follow a youtube vid to do the repair.
     
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  8. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    Advising someone with zero experience and a self-confessed ineptitude to do this is irresponsible and for this particular project potentially life threateningly dangerous. The amount of stupid things I have witnessed firsthand is scary when inexperienced people "have a try". When you ask why they did it, they always reply they didn't know they shouldn't. This is not to be offensive to the OP, just observation. What might be easy and straightforward to you, is not so obvious to one with no training or experience.

    With the OP's stated intention of wanting to keep the car for another 100,000 to 150,000 mi, I would also advise against the Dorman (even though I agree the Dorman is possibly better than most) or any other remanufactured/rebuilt battery, including the one offered by the dealer. The Price differential doesn't justify the risk. You may get a 3 year warranty with both, the difference is with the rebuilt you will need the warranty, but with the dealer one you won't. What about when the rebuilt is past 3 years and out of warranty, which you can guarantee will fail before 10 years? is that 7 year gap worth the risk? The only rebuilt I would consider is one made from totally brand new modules. Apart from the recently mentioned Bumblebee battery, I know of no rebuilder doing that.
     
    #8 dolj, May 17, 2017
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  9. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    You have great independent mechanic that works in hybrids North of St Paul. (Roseville)

    Find out his rate.

    The Foreign Service.
    Foreign Auto Repair | The Foreign Service
    651 635 0395
    Stew is the owner. Very honest guy. Very knowledgeable.
    Tell him Eric the hybrid guy from Madison sent ya.
     
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  10. m.wynn

    m.wynn Senior Member

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  11. Blackwing

    Blackwing Member

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    Can you post these resources?
     
  12. hayden55

    hayden55 Member

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    Heres one of the hundreds of videos showing how to remove it. Honestly if you are just swapping a unit out for another unit theres really not any danger to it. Once you remove the orange service plug it kills all the voltage to the leads. Orange service plug is just a plastic piece. It honestly takes 10 minutes to pull the entire assembly if you watch the video a couple times before you do it.
     
  13. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    The main issue I see is people who do jot properly torque the connections.

    Too tight? You break the posts.

    Too loose? Arcing or a non working system.

    It doesn't take long to properly torque the connections. Don't skip it.

    Also, most battery rebuild will require that you clean the fan as well. Don't skip this step either.
     
  14. andrewclaus

    andrewclaus Active Member

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    The hazardous part of the job for me (a retired electrical engineer) was the lift. It weighs more than 80 pounds and there's no good way to lift it ergonomically. Get help with that part.

    Comparing a brake job to the battery replacement is not a good analogy. The risk in a botched battery job is to yourself. The risk in a botched brake job is to everyone in your car and to all those who happen to be in front of you.
     
  15. tazman

    tazman Junior Member

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    So you're saying that someone with no mechanical skills can do this swap in 2 hours? Have you done one of these swaps? I've been working on cars for around 48 years, mostly as a shade tree mechanic, but also in a dealership. I did this swap in my garage at home and it took me 4+ hours. It's not a simple remove and replace as you say it is. There are cables that need to be installed onto the new battery, connections that need to be disconnected and reconnected with the proper torque specs. Watching a video on YouTube does not make one mechanically inclined. As the OP stated, he might be able to change oil if it was a life-and-death situation. I just find it irresponsible to tell someone who already stated they have no mechanical abilities that's it's as simple as watching a 9min video and they'll be a champ at doing it. SMH.

    ChrisEckes if you intend to keep the car, have the dealer change the battery and drive the wheels off the car. Can't tell you from experience if the Dorman or any other remanufactured battery will out perform the OEM, but I have read posts of people having to replace a remaned battery with an OEM due to reliability issues.
     
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  16. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    A USED battery, no matter how well it is built, cannot out last a NEW battery. Ever.
     
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  17. Marine Ray

    Marine Ray Senior Member

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    What's the going cost (without installation charges) for a new battery ?
     
  18. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    Depends on the area and the dealership.
    You'd have to call the dealers in your area to find the going rate.

    A NEW battery pack comes unassembled.
    The NEW, bare, unassembled pack could likely cost $2,600 - $3,500 if you bought it yourself.

    So to get it installed, first the tech has to add extra labor to assemble it.
    This is on top of the labor to remove the old one and install a new one.
     
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  19. tazman

    tazman Junior Member

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    Marine Ray I paid $3300.00 after my Military discount, the list price was $3700.00. I live in Hawaii, so there's always a shipping or other extra charge for us. I changed it myself, so I saved on the installation and diagnostic charges from Toyota. One thing that got under my skin was the fact that Toyota has stopped doing the core exchange, that program would have given me an additional $1500.00 refund.

    I bought my battery not knowing about the cable assembly that needed to be installed, just as ericbecky stated. I was able to carefully follow the way my old battery was put together and got the new one assembled. If you'er not sure of your mechanical abilities, just let the dealer do the job.
     
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  20. Jmack111

    Jmack111 Member

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    What the torque on the clamp bar part I just tighten the plastic end the lower post on the shield was tight had a few bowed with a little bow and the last 4 battery couldn't get the bolts on the bottom
    I charged them all at the same time in parallel and discharge them all and parallel
    I had a battery gasing and no error codes. I did found very dirty fan. Happened on a long trip 50 miles

    Had 6 leaking a small amount so i replaced them
    Now trying to balance them only error when I force the car to zero bars ac max
    Screenshot_20181016-061918_Torque.jpeg Screenshot_20181016-062253_Torque.jpeg

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