2015 Prius C - just had to get new battery..

Discussion in 'Prius c Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by TimoSpenter56, Feb 2, 2021.

  1. TimoSpenter56

    TimoSpenter56 New Member

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    Hello - first time on forum here. I just paid nearly $450 for a new battery for my 2015 Prius C, and wanted others opinion on if this was a right move or not, and looking for advise on how to maintain my battery going forth, given I only drive once or twice a week (10-20 miles per week) nowadays, working from home since March 2020.

    I bought my 2015 Prius C brand new in 2015 and had my first real problem today.. (Feb. 2021 today).. the car would not start and the check engine light was on. It turned back on when the car was jumped - it didn't take much, like 30 seconds and it was back up and running. I took it to the dealer to make sure everything is okay and they recommend the battery to be replaced. And so I did.. and paid nearly $450 for it :( The techs said the battery went bad because I haven't been driving the car often. Like I mentioned earlier, I only drive once or twice a week (10-20 miles per week) since March 2020. Does this sound right? I guess I don't understand the logic, because since there's way less usage and wear and tear, I expected less maintenance on my end. Also, I don't understand why the battery maintenance indicator didn't light up, and instead the check engine indicator lighted up?

    They recommended I buy a automated-battery charger to maintain the battery going forth. If this is true, is there any recommendation on what I should buy and how often do I need to do this? It seems I need a plug-in, but I live in a condo with outside parking...

    Has anyone had similar experience? Any suggestion, advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!

    1) 6 years old is the average life for the 12v battery

    2) prius like to be driven. the hybrid battery actually ages while sitting (chemical process)

    the 12v battery is under a constant drain from the electronics, and driving tops it back up.

    3) not having a place to plug in is a dilemma. the new battery will be able to withstand the draining better than the older battery, but it will shorten its life.

    4) winter is a battery killer. only thing i can think of is to drive a little more.
     
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  3. davecook89t

    davecook89t Senior Member

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    Do you have covered parking or no roof over your car? If the latter, a solar panel like this might work for you. Ideally you could place it on your hood and run the cable around the side of the hood to the front jump points (that's what I do), but you will have to trust that your neighbors will not steal it. (For a cost of less than $30, there is not a large potential loss). On one occasion, I put it on the dash of our car while we were parked at the airport for a couple of weeks and ran the cable between the door and door frame to the jump points. Even through the windshield, I got enough charge that the battery did not die over that time period. Of course, a plug in maintainer like this (which I also use when our cars are within reach of an electrical outlet) would be a better solution, but that does not appear to be an option in your case.
     
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  4. Tekken

    Tekken Member

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    Same here, my sister 2016 Prius C only 49K miles. 12v refused to start up the engine even 47 F in SoCal morning. I gave her my 2013 Prius battery, it's little bigger, but it fitted in and without any modification.

    FYI: the 12v battery start up your engine only cost $170, don't pay those dealer for $450 to replace it. Prius C has small 12v battery and only has 270 CCA. You can already get a charger and change the battery will last another year.
     
    #4 Tekken, Feb 2, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2021
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  5. TimoSpenter56

    TimoSpenter56 New Member

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    Only $170 for the battery? Wow. However, I have no skills or knowledge to install it myself... It sounds like I paid a hefty labor charge tho..

    Thank you. I feel a little better paying for a new battery, and your response aligns with the research I have done so far.
     
    #5 TimoSpenter56, Feb 2, 2021
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2021
  6. TimoSpenter56

    TimoSpenter56 New Member

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    Thank you for the solar panel suggestion. I have covered parking, but for the sake of the battery I can park uncovered to install the solar panel. I think putting the solar panel near the windshield may be the way to go... Any product recommendation that is most compatible for prius? How did you wire everything? If I do not have the confidence to do it myself, who should I even ask? The dealer? Any specialty place or trade person for this type of job?

    Sorry for many questions... I bought prius and the Toyota brand because of low maintenance, but because of the pandemic situation it's becoming high maintenance :-(
     
  7. TimoSpenter56

    TimoSpenter56 New Member

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    Another thought... will a 1 hour drive per week keep the battery full?
     
  8. davecook89t

    davecook89t Senior Member

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    The solar panel from Amazon I referenced is rated at 5 Watts, which is sufficient to keep my battery charged with several hours of unobstructed sunlight per day. In your case, I would probably recommend a panel with a higher rating, since the windshield and roof of your car would be expected to cut down on the solar power available to you, if you are to place the panel on your dashboard. The same company, AllPowers, sells a 7.5 W and a 10 W version, which are apparently about the same length (a little more than a foot) as the one I have, but are wider (instead of 5 inches like mine, up to about 9 inches wide). I believe that would still sit on your dash. Some may suggest a charge controller to keep your battery from being overcharged, but I do not believe that will be a problem with 10 W or less of power, especially since the panel would only be able to produce that much power for a relatively short time in perfect conditions. The AllPowers panels come with clamps, such as jumper cables would have. If you are unfamiliar with the place to attach them under the hood of your car, the following video shows you where to attach them:



    One hour per week might be enough, it would certainly help. In your situation, now that you know where the jump points are located, I would recommend buying a multi meter for $15 or $20 and checking your battery's voltage at the jump points every week or so. If you see the voltage dropping below about 12.5 V, you would either have to drive the car a little more often or find a better location for your solar panel.
     
  9. PriusII&C

    PriusII&C Member

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    I think you don't have to drive the car. Just leave it in "ready" mode, the 12v battery will be charged by your HV battery.

    If money is tight, you can get a cheap multimeter either from Amazon or Harbor Freight. There was one on sale several days ago at Harbor Freight for $3.99.
     
    #9 PriusII&C, Feb 3, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2021
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  10. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    NO, likely not.
    BUT.....it won't do any real damage until the battery gets "old", like 3 years or more......and hopefully you will be driving more by then.

    Notes: 5 years is probably about average life for car batteries these days so you didn't do bad there.

    You got a ROYAL SCREWING on the price of the replacement though.
     
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  11. TimoSpenter56

    TimoSpenter56 New Member

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    Thanks, I quick google search says my battery life is 8-10 years so I guess that's the second battery in prius. Good to know the 12V battery replacement was appropriate timing.

    Do most people buy the battery and replace it themselves? The prius C placement of the battery seems like a hassle so i wouldn't mind paying someone $100 for the labor.. not sure what the average labor cost would be?

    Is there a way to install this so I don't have to use the clamp = keep the hood open to charge, because I don't trust neighbors? My living situation is really limiting my options here, I know. Also I need to take this off the car every time I drive?
     
    #11 TimoSpenter56, Feb 3, 2021
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2021
  12. davecook89t

    davecook89t Senior Member

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    The hood can be closed completely. The wire is much thinner than a typical jumper cable because it will never need to carry as much as even 1 Amp, so it will fit comfortably in the gap between the hood and the fender and the gap between the door and the door frame. The clamps can be detached from the wire attached to the solar panel. On our Gen 4, since the battery is under the hood, I just leave the clamps attached to the battery. On our Gen 2, with the battery in the back of the car, I must remove the clamps every time, otherwise I would not be able to close the cover on the fuse box that also contains the positive jump point. I believe it wouldn't be that difficult to replace the clamps with ring terminals, which would be permanently attached to the jump points. (The Gen 2 is usually the car attached to the battery maintainer from Harbor Freight that I referenced, and it came with a wire that ends in ring terminals, which are permanently attached to the jump points). With such a setup, you could simply unplug the solar panel from the wire connected to the ring terminals, when you were going to drive the car, only opening the hood to coil that wire to keep it out of the way of the fan.
     
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  13. TimoSpenter56

    TimoSpenter56 New Member

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    Thank you for the detailed information!
     
  14. RobAustin

    RobAustin Member

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  15. PriusII&C

    PriusII&C Member

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    Not sure where the 12v battery is located in a 2015. If it is similar to a 2012, the battery is located under the rear seat. In that case, you don't need to find a way for the wire to go out of the cabin of the car.
     
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  16. davecook89t

    davecook89t Senior Member

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    That thought had occurred to me, and possibly I am mistaken, but I think using the under hood jump points is safer. Hooking up unfused wires directly to the battery seems like it would create a greater risk for a short and possibly a fire.
     
  17. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    Most of the electronics from HF is JUNK.
    I don't care how long you have used it with no problems, it is still JUNK.

    Spend a few more dollars and get a good reliable name brand battery tender.
     
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  18. jimnjo

    jimnjo Member

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    I am in almost exactly the same situation, with a 2015 that has not been driven more than once or rarely twice a week in the last year, mostly short distances. But really, most winters lately have seen the car unused for 5-10 days at a time without a problem. The car was dead last week, after a cold night (in an unheated garage). 12 volt battery was the obvious culprit and after a quick jump we were off. But later I tested the battery at just under 12v (!). So it is toast, but rather than replace right away I hope to limp along to my spring oil change. A simple battery tender was able to boost it from that very low voltage to over 13 volts over several days and I have it set up to easily plug in. Just over zero last night and started fine.

    Some kind of solar maintainer is intriguing, and may set something up if we find ourselves in the same situation with an aging battery 4 or 5 years from now.
     
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  19. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    IF.....you are measuring that 13 with the tender connected, that is NOT the battery voltage but the charging voltage.
    13.3 is a fairly common "float" voltage once the battery is fully charged.

    IF.....you measured that immediately after disconnecting the charger, then it is a "surface charge" and isn't a good reading either.
    Let it sit for a couple of hours with the charger disconnected. If it still is 12.6 or more, you should be good for a while yet.
     
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  20. KevinD

    KevinD New Member

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    FYI, just replaced my original 12v start battery in a 2012 C with 130k miles. 2012's do not have the jumper point in the fuse box, I believe they started installing them in 2013, I had to remove the small cover located on the passenger side rear seat. Three plastic body clips, which have the pop up center are removed and the cover comes off to expose the side and terminals of the battery. This is how I accessed the battery to use a jump box to start the car. Battery no load voltage was 12V and probably could have a little longer. Bought a battery from a dealer for $130 and installed myself in 30 minutes.
     
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