2006 Prius 140k miles: Rebuilt battery replaced 4 times in 1 year - decision to keep or trade?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by prius530, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. prius530

    prius530 Junior Member

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    OEM battery on 2006 Prius failed at ~135K last year just outside the 10 year warranty, so I had the battery replaced by BatteryfourPrius with a 2 year warranty. To make a long story short we have had the battery replaced a total of 4 times before even the one year mark, so the batteries have been replaced on average of every 3 months. For three of the batteries we observed the battery getting weak when the display shows the battery rapidly changing from green to blue to purple and vice versa and noticing a drop in power on accelerations (this all due to cell imbalance?), and on one of the batteries we noticed that the battery status would rarely go green at all (high resistance and overheating in one of the cells?). We do not drive for very long distances or drive very aggressively. In addition to the red triangle, codes P0A80, and occasionally P0AA6, P0A85, and P3000 would appear. However, hoping to predict failure more accurately, I hooked up tech stream software, but almost up until the red triangle appearing, there were no pending fault codes stored, and no indications of any abnormality. Unfortunately, there is no way to collect on warranty until the red triangle appears, so there is nothing preventative you can do to get a new battery until you get stuck somewhere. This is definitely something to consider when purchasing a reman pack.

    It is obviously very frustrating getting stranded so many times, so I think we've had it with remanufactured battery packs and maybe hybrids as well due to battery problems. After paying for the cost of the batteries, it is questionable if the money saved in gasoline could have paid for the differential in cost between a hybrid and non-hybrid. Our normal non-hybrid vehicle has been the most reliable, but maybe not as fun to drive. In fact I am told by dealers that Toyota doesn't sell reman packs anymore. Could they too be having problems making a reliable reman pack? The only packs that can be purchased from the dealer are brand new costing ~$3500 installed.

    Questions:

    1. Could the failure of the battery pack be due to the inverter or some other cause (without throwing a diagnostic code)? The cooling fans and filters have always been checked for debris by battery installer.

    2. Has anyone gotten more than 2 years out of a reman pack?

    3. Are those with an OEM pack getting by with more than 5 years trouble free driving to justify the cost? The warranty on the new pack is 12 months/12,000 miles or 12 months/unlimited mileage depending on who you talk to.

    4. Will the dealer take a reman pack as a core for the original failed pack when doing the battery replacement? The core charge is nearly $1000. I am told that some dealers test the old packs prior to returning the core charge. What are they looking for? Could they deny the core charge for a non-OEM pack or tell the pack was from a different vehicle with replaced modules?

    5. Would it save money to have someone else install the battery pack? If I can have someone install it for $200, I am told that it might be difficult to collect on warranty if an issue comes up - wasn't installed by a factory trained technician, etc.

    6. If I trade in the 2006 with 140,000 miles what value could I expect as a trade in?
     
  2. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    Remanufactured battery packs are generally not recommended here due to their high failure rate. Properly testing & re-balancing a pack is very time intensive and when using used modules, they can fail at any time, as you have experienced.

    If you are a DIY type of person, the best deal right now would be the kit of new cells from @2k1Toaster here. He works with rechargeable batteries for a living and has developed this kit as a low const alternative to the new Toyota battery. The price for the continental US is $1600 including shipping. The link is in my signature.
    This kit has been tested by several users and some of the hybrid experts here too. @ericbecky is one who could advise further.

    Where in the world are you located? There may be a good hybrid shop nearby if you are in the US.
     
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  3. Lucifer

    Lucifer Active Member

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    A new installed by Toyota pack will be around 2500$, and the factory certified installer will certainly fix any conflicting problems, pity to waste two years so frustrated.
     
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  4. prius530

    prius530 Junior Member

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    I'm in southern CA. I just called three local dealers and all wanted $3500 installed. I read that the Costco auto services can bring the cost down by 15% at approved dealers, but where can I get a new pack for $2500 installed from a dealer?
     
  5. Lucifer

    Lucifer Active Member

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    Seems Prius lowered the price to 1900$ for the pack and guessing 600 for labor, a search here will find the thread, the dealer involved and hopefully a deal can be reached.
     
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  6. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Question 1 -- Not that I ever heard of.
    Question 2 -- Probably a few.
    Question 3 -- The OEM replacement battery is the same as the original and should last as long although not many Prii have been on the road longe enough for the data we'd need to prove that logical assumption.
    Question 4 -- There's a current thread here about someone whose dealer would not take a Dorman remanufactured battery and it was suggested that they might take it if the cover wasn't painted orange. Jury's still out on that one, I think.
    Question 5 -- As long as you're reasonably handy, have the right tools, and follow the directions available in lots of Youtube videos, you should be able to do it yourself. I replaced my wife's '07 battery last May and it was a piece of cake. But I used to be an industrial electrician and also a mechanic.
    Question 6 -- That depends on your market and lots of other factors. You didn't fill in your location in your info. Lots of advice here varies depending on location.
     
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  7. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    They are in Southern California. Where is @sfv41901 and Hybrid Pit located? @Raytheeagle is usually quite handy helping people too.
     
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  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    buying a hybrid to save money is a fools errand. but you've been saving the world for the last 12 years.;)
     
  9. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    At only 140 k miles and in So Cal you are in the land of options:).

    Some things to consider:
    • If frustrated with failed packs and the car is in good shape, why not grid charge the pack?
    • If you are willing to grid charge, now the fun begins;)
    • Maybe some members in SoCal (like @JC91006 who has a Prolong set up) or @Avi's Advanced Automotive can help
    • Purchase your own Prolong setup and maintain it yourself:). While this is additional investment, you can ensure the battery is healthier and won’t strand you
    After seeing the results of a module swap and the Prolong setup for a member up here, that’s what I’d do if I’m your position ;).

    Keep us posted (y).
     
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  10. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    If you want a new pack, I'm sure I can get you one for $2500 installed or less (probably less). They went down $400 this year
     
  11. prius530

    prius530 Junior Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I will keep all this in mind. Just after my sad experience with the 4 previous packs covered under warranty, I've just noticed this latest pack, which is still under warranty and which I have vowed to replace before the dreaded red triangle if showing any signs of weakness such as loss of power or rapidly changing states of charge, is the strongest battery ever installed including the original OEM battery. It is still in the break-in period, but I am getting 48-49 mpg, the SOC meter is staying above 2/3rds blue to full green at all times, and the car has noticeably better acceleration! The 4 previous reman packs lost charge more rapidly before gaining it back, took a long time to stabilize mpg, and the FE never rose above the 42 mpg level before they died. The OEM battery mpg I recall hovered around 47-48 mpg at the beginning and then declined to 38-39 mpg when it died. The installer said they are using gen 3 modules to rebuild (some of?) these packs, so maybe they saved the best for last. However, I still need to keep an eye on this latest battery like a hawk, and in retrospect, I should've spent the extra $1000 for an OEM pack. This definitely was not worth the hassle of becoming a regular at the rent a car agency!
     
    #11 prius530, Jan 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
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  12. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    The rebuilder doesn't really know what he's doing, just replacing bad module one at time. Band aid repair. Who did you go to for this repair?
     
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  13. prius530

    prius530 Junior Member

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    The work was done by batteryfourprius. On the balance, the workers were nice, professional, and generally available next day at your home.
     
  14. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    At least his service was good, but professional skills in proper rebuilding is seriously lacking. But most in this industry are in it for the quick buck. Swap out the failed module, rinse and repeat over and over.
     
  15. 05PreeUs

    05PreeUs Active Member

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    Well, if you don't factor into the purchase price the cost of a new pack....

    Thus far, our Prius has saved the purchase price of it in avoided fuel that would have been used in the vehicle it replaced as my bride's daily driver. As a secondary benefit, the other vehicle's mileage also caught up with it's age, making it relatively more valuable at trade time.

    But, if you must rely on often unscrupulous repair shops (be they stealerships or otherwise), you are just as likely to spend MORE in maintenance and repair on a used Prius than less.
     
  16. Ja herman

    Ja herman New Member

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    I had a similar problem - the battery kept dying. The car through tons of trouble codes and you could really see the battery drain on hills and at highway speeds. It is a 2009 Prius w 225k miles. It turns out the prius design is very clever and well balanced. If for some reason the engine is low on power, it will not have enough to charge the battery and run the car. The car ran with poor power. I replaced the battery and thoroughly checked the original. The problem? Clogged catalytic converter! I loosened the connection before the cat and problem solved. I replaced the cat and saw the old one was plugged from debris and rust. Remember to recycle the old cat. I got a good chunk of money towards the new cat. I returned the new battery and have been running the original. Good luck
     
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  17. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    congrats and welcome, thanks for the good advice!(y)
     
  18. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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    Welcome to PriusChat!!

    Could you please elaborate on which battery you bought new, and who accepted it back for return (with or w/o the restocking fee).

    Bet others in NY and CA would be interested in the catalytic converter you ended up using, new / used, factory or aftermarket?

    Thanks for posting (y)
     
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  19. Ja herman

    Ja herman New Member

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    The battery that kept draining was the hybrid battery. Checked it thoroughly for cell voltage and it was fine but drained very quickly on hills. The replacement was a rebuilt one from a major supplier that allowed returns. I paid for shipping of ~$120 vs $1500 to keep the battery. As for the cat, the are OEM available from Toyota if you like. The key is to find the cause of dead hybrid battery which I found to be poor engine power. In the process of testing,I checked engine compression and every other thing under the sun. I was impressed to see all the specs were still in factory like new range.
     
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  20. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    The engine uses MG1 to start the engine and to charge the traction battery through the HV ECU. The engine power may not be the problem.
     
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