2011 Prius IV dead as a door nail.

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by Starkie, May 13, 2012.

  1. Starkie

    Starkie Junior Member

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    My 2011 Prius IV dead as a door nail.
    It's not even 5 months old and only has 5200 miles on it.
    It was just in for a 5K comp service two weeks ago.
    Oil and filter was replace also.
    No trouble found.

    Car ran find last Monday and Tuesday.
    It sat since last Tuesday evening.
    Today is Sunday and it was totally dead.
    Not even the Smart Key worked.
    Had to manually unlock the drivers door with the key.
    Popped the hood and no obvious problem found.
    Considered checking the 12V batter in the trunk, but how do you open the hatch when it's dead?

    Called Toyota Roadside Assistance.
    Rescue guy showed up and jump started the cur via the fuse box in the hood.
    He then tried to tell me it needs to be driven every 2 days.
    None of my other cars need that.

    Anyway, the Rescue guy jump started it and started the gas engine.
    Then he stopped the gas engine.
    Then he turned it back on but did not start the engine.
    I turned it off, and then back on.
    The instrument panel lights flickered then died.
    Dead as a door nail again.
    I requested a flatbed tonight to take it to the dealer.
    They told me to expected it here in an hour.

    The Rescue said he has seen this problem before with lots of 2011 and 2012 Prius.
    Apparently they have to be driven every 2 days or this will happen.
    Sounds like a defect to me.

    Since the car was again inoperative, I requested a flatbed to take it to the dealer tonight.
    About an hour later, a flatbed arrived.
    But since the car was dead, he couldn't determine if it was in neutral.
    He advised me to call for another flatbed in the morning.
    And to request a dolly as well so that the car could be moved.
    He also told me I'd have to go to the dealer to fill out the paperwork.
    Rather than call from my office.
    So it looks like I'll have to take tomorrow, Monday, off for this.

    If this is a known problem with 2011 and 2012 then it seems like a defect.
    If so it appears Toyota may not be fessing up to it in an honest and responsible way.
    Isn't this why they got into so much trouble a couple of years ago?

    Perhaps something is causing the battery to drain over time.
    It's been warmer lately so perhaps it's related to the Solar Roof fan cooler which I leave on all the time?.
    I thought the whole idea of the Solar roof was to run the fan.
    Maybe it doesn't replenish the battery like it should?

    There is one more thing.
    Last Tuesday, as I was walking to the car, I hit the A/C button on the fob.
    When I got to the car, it was running with the A/C on.
    But I noticed all of the instrument panel lights were on too.
    Everything, red. yellow, the lot.
    I turned it off and then restarted it.
    It started fine and the trip home was normal (37 miles).
    Seems like a suspicious coincidence.

    Really disappointed with Toyota right now.
    In retrospect and based on what I was told today by the Rescue guy I don't think Toyota is being honest.
    I hope that's not true.
    It's what got them into trouble before.

    Has anyone else here had their 2011 or 2012 Prius do this?
    What happens if I go camping for a week out in the middle of nowhere?
    I'll park the car for a few days and not start it.
    Will it leave me stranded in the middle of Kings Canyon dead as a door nail?:confused:
     
  2. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    It's obviously not a known problem with the Gen III Prius because otherwise there'd be a busload of us reporting it.

    5,200 miles in 5 months is pretty normal, but tell us about your driving pattern. Are you doing primarily short trips? This on top of solar roof and pre-running the A/C after not driving it for 5 days may be stressing the 12V battery. If so, you may need a battery tender.

    See http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-iii...-2010-prius-wouldnt-start-up-today-again.html
    http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-iii...brid-system-then-car-has-repeatedly-died.html
     
  3. spiderman

    spiderman wretched

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    Sorry to hear about the difficulties. Be sure to contact the dealership with each issue and have them document it to keep a paper trail.
     
  4. Erikon

    Erikon Active Member

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    The 12 volt battery is most likely dead, it's smaller and less robust than the 12 volt batteries in standard cars since its just primarily used for initializing the electronics and some other systems on startup. The rescue guy was pretty clueless, once the car was jumped it should have been left on for at least a half hour so the traction battery could recharge the 12 volt to a usable point! If the battery is healthy it can sit for a couple of weeks or longer without trouble, but driving it regularly keeps everything charged up.
     
  5. Starkie

    Starkie Junior Member

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    Daily commute is 37 miles each way, one big hill, average MPH is about 30.

    Solar Roof and fan to keep interior cool has been on since day 1.
    It's been warmer lately so I think it comes on more often.
    Thought the reason for the Solar Roof was to power the fan to keep the interior cool?


    Only tried to pre-run the A/C from the fob that one time, last Tuesday.
    Car was driven Monday (74 miles roundtrip) and to work Tuesday (37 miles).
    It didn't sit for several days before last Tuesday.
    It did sit for several days after the return trip last Tuesday.

    I don't need a battery tender for my other cars.
    They can sit for weeks without the 12V battery going flat.
    From what the Recue guy said, the Prius needs to be driven every 2 days.
    I am inclined to believe him since his job is to jumpstart cars.
    He did mention that he has only seen the problem on 2011 and 2012 models.
    He said the earlier models don't seem to have this problem.

    Yes, I'm afraid I may be looking at a Lemon Law claim.
    I hope not, but there seems to be feel of something smelly going on.
     
  6. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Bummer.

    At this point, I wouldn't stress about what "Rescue Guy" told you.

    Just let the Toyota technician try to diagnosis the problem.

    Keep in mind? The reason he is "Rescue Guy" is because he rescues people when their vehicles aren't working. So concievably every Prius he comes in contact with through his job is going to be having some problem. Not starting is probably a relatively common one.

    But that doesn't mean it's a flaw inherent to Prius.

    At this point you don't know what is causing your problem. I wouldn't stress over the diagnosis of the guy charged with starting or towing your vehicle in emergencies.
     
  7. Starkie

    Starkie Junior Member

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    Actually, the Rescue guy said exactly that.
    He told me to go drive it for 10 miles.
    But this is a brand new car!
    The 12 V battery should be healthy!

    The Rescue guy was very clear about seeing the problem with many 2011 and 2012 Prius'.
    He said he had only seen the problem on the 11's and 12's not with the 09's, 08's and earlier models.
    He volunteered this unsolicited opinion.

    I agree, it probably is the 12V battery that is the culprit.

    But Toyota needs to examine the car thoroughly.
    To determine why the 12V battery drains in less than a week.
    The car should be able to sit unused for well over a week.
    Without the battery draining completely.

    I hope they don't just recharge the 12V battery.
    Or just throw in a new 12V battery and hope that it's fixed.
    I need a reliable car to get to work and back.
    If the problem recurs, then I may have no choice but the Lemon Law.
     
  8. Erikon

    Erikon Active Member

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    There have been problems with the 12 volt reported here even on new cars, you don't really know what idiots have been doing with the car before you get it. Prep people at the port or dealer can damage the battery leaving it on in standby mode while they clean or install things and forget to turn it off. The dealer just recharges it and sells the car but the damage has already been done. Have the dealer replace the 12 volt under warranty and it'll be fine. You may want to replace it eventually with the Yellow Top that's reported to be more durable. But you really should have followed the guys advice, because just jumping the battery doesn't charge it.
     
  9. Starkie

    Starkie Junior Member

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    Thanks, I'll check on the Yellow Top (Optima, it's better but $169 is expensive).
    Sounds like the original 12V may be fubard anyway since it has now discharged completely.
    I know the thin, lead plates in some Jap batteries (Yuasha) will buckle on a full discharge.
    A replacement battery is the only reliable solution for that case.
    I'm fine with that as long as the car isn't trickle discharging to 0 over a few days.
    If it is, then the Toyota Techs need to idenfy the root cause and solve it.
    So I'll just have to wait and see what they find tomorrow and in the next few weeks.
     
  10. macman408

    macman408 Electron Guidance Counselor

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    There are occasional reports of this, but no, a Prius does not normally need to be driven every few days to keep the 12V battery charged. I rarely drive during the week, and it's not uncommon for me to go a week or two without using it. My parents left theirs for 6 weeks while on vacation.

    I did have my battery die once, shortly after I installed a ScanGauge. I think it may have turned on after I turned off the car, and then not turned off, but I don't really know why it died (I next used it about 5 or 6 days later). I jumped the car, left it running for a few hours to charge it, and have had no problems since - nearly 2 years later.

    Bottom line; get the 12V battery replaced, either yourself, or the dealer if you can convince them to. If it happens with a new battery (which is highly unlikely), then make the dealer find and fix the power drain.
     
  11. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    It may very well be your 12vlt battery.

    BUT the statement made by "Rescue Guy" that I would argue is simply NOT true is:-" Apparently they have to be driven every 2 days or this will happen."

    The Prius is not designed to HAVE to be driven every 2 days. I do not believe Toyota would design and sell in great numbers a vehicle that HAS to be driven every 2 days.

    If you have a defective or faulty 12 volt...that's the issue. But not something that would define Toyota as lying or not telling the truth. Trust me, Toyota would like your vehicle to sit for 2 days, and start without issue.

    The majority of owners can do this...since Toyota has not had the chance yet to diagnose the problem, I do not understand the contention that you feel they are not being honest?
     
  12. massparanoia

    massparanoia Active Member

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    Car is built by humans, parts made by humans, repaired by humans. Humans are far from perfect. Your 12v battery might have been the 1 in a million that made it thru the battery manufacturers QC process, and into your car.

    Get it fixed under warranty, drive and enjoy.
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. Starkie

    Starkie Junior Member

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    Agreed. Thanks.

    So IF there is a problem with 2011 and 2012 Prii 12V batteries as the Recue guy asserted,
    then IF that is true, there would be quite a few owners reporting the same or similar problems.
    So IF that is the case, then that would seem to suggest a lack of honesty.

    Don't worry, I'll get to the bottom of this.
    I hope they will replace the 12V battery under warranty.
    I really don't want an extended fight with them over a $169 battery.
    But I'm afraid they may so the $29,000 investment I made may need to be traded if they do.
    I know that sounds a bit pedantic, but cars dealers are what they are.
     
  14. SuperchargedMR2

    SuperchargedMR2 Diehard Rams Fan

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    I wouldn't over think this. Batteries have a higher failure rate then most people realize. If it was ever stressed along the way before you bought the car it could have damaged the battery. Have the dealer replace the battery & check to make sure there is not a drain going on. I'll bet there is not and all will be fine. I have never had an issue with my 10 & it has sat in the garage fro more then 10 days when we were on vacation. Came home & it started right up.

    The rescue guy is clueless. He is only saying what he recalls & most of these guys sound like they know what they are talking about when they know very little. After all, he fooled you didn't he? :lol:
     
  15. Starkie

    Starkie Junior Member

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    Thanks.

    Just have to wonder why the problem was not detected during the 5K miles complimentary service just two weeks ago?

    Don't they check the voltage of the 12V battery?

    Is not diagnostic code stored to indicate a marginal 12V battery?

    Having to go back to the dealer again, so soon after they checked everything, on a Monday morning no less, which is typically the worst day for visiting a dealer service department, is really inconvenient. Hope it doesn't become a habit.

    I wouldn't say he fooled me.
    He said what he said.
    Presumably he has more experience rescuing cars than either of us. :cool:
     
  16. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    If indeed the 12 volt battery was dead, you may well find that it never really recovers.

    The Optima Yellowtop is much more resistant to not recovering from being dead.

    I hope you find what is killing the battery, car imperfection or operator error.

    (Your battery was not dead two weeks ago, it worked until tuesday)
     
  17. massparanoia

    massparanoia Active Member

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    As far as I know, 5k service consists of little more than tire rotation and filling up the washer fluid. My dealer didn't even set the tire pressures right. 42 rear and 36 front.

    If you find a dealer that tests the 12v battery every 5k let me know so I can ship mine there for service too.
     
  18. Starkie

    Starkie Junior Member

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    Sounds like they rotated the wheels but didn't reset the pressure.
    They did the same on my car also.
    I had taken it in with 40 front and 38 rear.
    Sure enough, I got it back with 38 front and 40 rear.
    Easy to fix and yes, I double checked the oil level too

    So no diagnostic for a low battery?
    Usually, most cars store a code and may even illuminate a warning.
    Maybe, the Prius power-up diagnostics don't check/report a low battery?.
    Maybe the dealer doesn't check for codes stored in the PCM via the OBD-II port either?

    If that is the case, then I would expect them to replace the 12V battery.
    And yes, I do hope the root cause of the battery drain is found and solved, whatever it is.
    The battery obviously wasn't dead two weeks ago, but it was apparently living on borrowed time back then. If that is the case, then something should have shown up on the diagnostics, but apparently the service did not run any and the normal power-on diagnostics failed to detect it either, except for maybe that Tuesday afternoon event I mentioned where turning on the A/C via the fob caused a Christmas tree.
     
  19. Erikon

    Erikon Active Member

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    That time you saw all the yellow and red lights on the dash may have thrown a code, but unless you tell the dealer they won't check squat!
     
  20. Starkie

    Starkie Junior Member

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    Good point. But that event was just last Tuesday. That was a week after the service. Since the PCM has not been reset, then if there is a code stored, it should still be there right now, regardless of the state of charge (or rather the lack of it) in the 12V battery. So tomorrow, I will ask them to check for codes when I take the car on a flatbed to the dealer.

    Thanks for the help everyone, I appreciate it.
    Tomorrow, we will find out what is going on with this car.

    One question that remains unanswered:
    How do you open the hatch to remove the 12V battery for charging if the 12V battery is dead? The car needs to have power in order for the hatch to be opened, apparently.

    It seems the hatch has no manual interface.
    So it is necessary to jump start the car from the relay box in the front.
    Or is there another way to open the hatch?

    I've seen manual hatch interfaces on other cars.
    For example, our Sky Redline requires removal of the rear wheel and inner fender to gain access to the emergency trunk release.
     
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