2013 Prius C had trouble starting due to cold weather…

Discussion in 'Prius c Technical Discussion' started by Mr. Man, Nov 23, 2021.

  1. Mr. Man

    Mr. Man Junior Member

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    I live in Chicago and for the past few weeks the weather has begun to get quite cold in the evenings, in the 30s or 20s recently. I was also here during last winter and this issue never occurred.

    Today the engine had some trouble starting, clearly the cold had affected the battery. All of the engine lights turned on, and the screen would turn on until I put any pressure on the brake, and then the system would immediately start to die.

    I start there for about 5-10 minutes and patiently tried to start the vehicle a few times, and eventually it did work, was able to get my groceries and return without incident.

    Provided that you don’t tell me the battery immediately has to be replaced……
    Are there any steps I can take to ensure this does not happen again? Something simple like starting and running the vehicle on a daily basis? (Please pardon my ignorance)
     
  2. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    That makes it sound as if your 12v battery (the much smaller and less expensive of the two) has had it.

    Get that battery tested.
     
  3. Mr. Man

    Mr. Man Junior Member

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    Thanks very much Leadfoot. I just asked for advice from person in service at Toyota dealership and he said this indicated the battery was pretty definitively dying and would need to be replaced. A test of the battery is obviously the next best move. Do you know if I need to go to a dealership for that, or if it would be cheaper elsewhere?
     
  4. Mr. Man

    Mr. Man Junior Member

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    Also in the meantime, should I go out there periodically and start the engine? To “warm it up” or “maintain the charge” or whatever? Would that be useful?
     
  5. Mr. Man

    Mr. Man Junior Member

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    Just spoke to a man at the Toyota dealership. Told me that the service for this vehicle is 320, and the battery replacement would run over 500. Also suggested it could possibly be IG2 relay failing and not battery, but regardless any inspection will be a minimum of 320 apparently.

    this is rough.
     
  6. Mr. Man

    Mr. Man Junior Member

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    He also said that there would not be a point in coming out and periodically starting the car, to hit it or anything, that it would simply result in the battery being slowly drained over time.
     
  7. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I think periodic starts might maybe help... but the benefit would be slim long shot; a lot depends on how long you stick around running/charging it etc. It rapidly becomes a complex exercise and I don't see any percentage in it to be honest.

    The battery part alone should be about $230 at a toyota dealer, installing it might be another $85-100 There's no point in paying them to diagnose anything if you are already certain the battery has failed. Tell them to sell you a battery and install it. Don't let them add any other inspection or service. Just don't.

    The battery in the 2013 model is common enough that you can get them other places, prices are likely to be a little lower away from Toyota. Wal-mart and O'Reilly would be good starting points. Good luck!

    A dealer may test a battery for free but some of these other stores will definitely do it; they are more eager to sell batteries. Downside: not every retail battery test is done with stringent quality control- use your judgement.
     
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  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    if it is original, just replace it. shop around at auto parts stores for a new one. if you need the car to be reliable in the meantime, you need a battery tender.
     
  9. Mr. Man

    Mr. Man Junior Member

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    You are extremely helpful as always, Leadfoot. Thank you! I’ll look into getting the work done as parsimoniously as possible.

    It’s sounding rather unequivocally like this is the issue, though - the battery is clearly dying, there’s no getting around it, it has to be replaced. Correct?
     
  10. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I really think your 12v battery is dead. I've been wrong before. Life is risk acted out. Enjoy it!
     
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  11. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    This is true.
    You should not start it unless you can run it for at least 30 minutes.
    It is MUCH better to connect a battery tender to the 12 V when you won't be doing at least a couple of 30 minute runs a week.
    Then..........if your 12 V battery is now more than 5 years old, start shopping for a new one.
    Many auto parts stores will test them for free......figuring that they will be selling a new one if it fails.
     
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  12. Mr. Man

    Mr. Man Junior Member

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    Thank you very much. I am not familiar with a battery tender, though I just looked it up. I presume it is something I hook up to the battery when I am not using the car to maintain a charge. And that this will prolong the life of the battery at least a little? Looks like prices range from $70-150.
     
  13. Mr. Man

    Mr. Man Junior Member

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    This is particularly fraud right now because I was planning on driving the car to the train station for my Thanksgiving visit tomorrow, and it will start to get cold in the evening right as I return, and the possibility exists that I can drive there but the car will not start for my return trip… Ridesharing is a bit expensive for me and on the other option is about an hour and a half of public transit…
     
  14. Mr. Man

    Mr. Man Junior Member

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    *particularly fraught, that is
     
  15. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Battery tender can help you squeeze out a little bit more time, but eventually won't help (maybe there already) and you can still get stranded.

    If you want to spend money on something other than directly solving the problem, get a portable jump pack. Once you charge it and learn how to use it, they can help you start the car when the battery has failed for any reason, not just old age. You can buy one in your neighborhood on thanksgiving day, they are common enough.

    I have an old AGM type unit and it works great. There is a whole new generation of smaller, lighter lithium powered models. I have not used one of those yet, no opinion to offer other than that I might not plan to store one in a hot car during summer.

    It is worth looking for one that features reverse polarity protection- there's a lot to protect in a Prius.
     
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  16. Mr. Man

    Mr. Man Junior Member

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    Realistically, can I expect to drive this car at least a few more times? Or should I literally just expect this thing to die anytime I try to use it?
     
  17. Mr. Man

    Mr. Man Junior Member

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    Thanks very much for the advice, I will look into that.
     
  18. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Neither of us have the correct instrumentation on hand to make that call with useful accuracy.

    It could work for months, and it might not see daybreak. That's how it is with old batteries. With experience and some testing you can refine that a lot, but it's going to be much cheaper and faster for you to get a new battery than to obtain meters and electrical skills.
     
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  19. Mr. Man

    Mr. Man Junior Member

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    Also do you know how much more life I can expect to get with a battery tender? A couple weeks, months..?
     
  20. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    It's a curve. It all depends on how much is already wrong with the battery. So it could get you an extra 6 months on one that has only started to fail, but also only give an extra 6 days to one that is mostly dead.

    Again, it very much depends on information you don't have and can't easily get.

    In your shoes I'd take one more shot at getting a proper replacement battery before the trip, and then take the el.
     
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