Had a scare today..

Discussion in 'Prius c Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by steveoknievo, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. steveoknievo

    steveoknievo Member

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    Took my C to the local drive through car wash as it was pretty crusty looking from all of the rain we've had lately. I had my A/C on as its a nice and warm sunny Florida day. Pulled inside and put my C in Neutral to go through the wash and half way through my car started beeping like mad and flashing the "!" in a triangle symbol and on the small screen it said something to the effect of "Cannot charge traction battery when car is in 'N'." My HVAC system drained down the traction battery and since the car was in neutral the engine couldn't keep it above the minimum SOC level. Turned the air off and anxiously waited for the car wash to hurry up so I could put it in drive. After I put the car in drive the SOC read 1 blue bar and took FOREVER to charge back (or perhaps it just seemed that way because I was freaking out..)

    After what seemed like years later it did catch up and kick off as they towel dried my car. Called my local stealership service department and they guy said no need to worry and that as long as the triangle symbol was yellow and not red it would be ok, and that if it went red THEN I'd have had a problem.

    I don't trust stealership service departments and was hoping you guys could reassure me that its ok and won't be damaged in the long run from this? :,(

    Just one of those things where I knew that using the AC would drain the battery, and I also knew that putting the car in Neutral would prohibit charging of the battery, but it never really occured to me that this could be a potential issue since the only time I'm EVER in neutral for a significant period of time is when I'm in a carwash..
     
  2. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    It's fine. 20% is low, but no where near as low as what some owners do after running out of gas but continuing to drive with only electricity.
     
  3. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    Lesson one Do not use car washes that require your Prius to be in N.

    If it had been unable to start the engine, then it would have needed a tow to the dealership and they need to request the proper battery charger from Toyota Regional. Lots of time and money.

    Since it did start, it was not down to a dangerous level. (As you may have noticed, the Prius is WAY more sluggish, this can be a short term danger if you expect the normal level of acceleration)

    Toyota is legally required to have an N gear in the US, but it is almost never a good idea to use it.
     
  4. steveoknievo

    steveoknievo Member

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    I'm just worried that I may have shortened the life of the battery or something to that effect. I guess I'll never really know until/if it happens (hopefully the battery won't die under my ownership!). Just one of those quirks that come along with a hybrid car I suppose. Glad that 10yr/100k warranty is offered..
     
  5. vskid3

    vskid3 Active Member

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    Doing it once or twice shouldn't make any noticeable difference in the battery's life. The warnings and cutoffs there there to hopefully prevent damage, not to tell you that its already been done.
     
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  6. TheEnglishman

    TheEnglishman Member

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    I wish there was a car wash where you could walk through an A/C'd tunnel and watch your car getting washed. It's bad in ANY car to leave the A/C on through a car wash, as there isn't a good amount of air flowing over the compressor. :(
     
  7. steveoknievo

    steveoknievo Member

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    I do feel better about it now. I broke out the manual and it indicates that the battery will auto shutdown before damage occurs. That tells me that while it may not be good for it, it didn't damage it. One thing I've learned from this; avoid neutral at all costs. Hopefully this will help to alert others of such a mistake in the future with their hybrid cars!

    Still though.. The thought of my inadvertently damaging my first new car because of something as stupid as a car wash will haunt me for awhile. Until I do something else stupid I suppose. Then again if the worst thing I do to the car is run the ac in a car wash I guess it's not all that bad..
     
  8. TheEnglishman

    TheEnglishman Member

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    Since my second-hand car is a Chrysler, it is federal law that I hold a triple-A card. I wonder if they would be able to 'recharge' a hybrid battery...
     
  9. steveoknievo

    steveoknievo Member

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    Don't believe so. I think it's something the Toyota dealer would have to borrow from regional Toyota. As I understand it its 270 some odd volt charger that's needed.. Pulling the car to engage regen braking to charge wouldn't work either (would actually really harm the car too). Knowing these things is part of why I got so upset while the ordeal was happening.
     
  10. kingnba6

    kingnba6 Active Member

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    i just learned something new. and to the OP, i hope that the battery doesnt get prematurely worn.
     
  11. Mr Gee

    Mr Gee Member

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    This is an interesting observation although I would have thought Mr Toyota must have considered this scenario in their system design.

    Having said that, I have sat through many car washes with the car in Neutral and air-con/heater on and the engine has kicked in when the charge has dropped a few bars. This is also the same when I have the car in Park.
     
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  12. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    In Park the engine can start to recharge the big battery, in Neutral it can't.
     
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  13. Jake123

    Jake123 Junior Member

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    Couldn't you put it in N, then turn off the car?
     
  14. steveoknievo

    steveoknievo Member

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    Not if you want air conditioning!;)
     
  15. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    At least with the standard Prius, when you turn it off it automatically goes into Park.
     
  16. RocMills

    RocMills Active Member

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    Just an aside here... if the car is going through the wash, why would you have the a/c on in the first place? Every car wash I've been through takes only a few minutes, and even here in the 117 degree heat, it seems one could survive a few moments without needing the a/c. I'm not criticizing, I guess I'm asking where the heck do you live (that it's so hot) and what sort of car wash, or wash time, do you use? No offense intended, just curious. :)
     
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  17. steveoknievo

    steveoknievo Member

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    No offense taken. Ultimately what had happened was I was driving to the car wash, AC on, and ultimately I never thought to turn it off while I was going through. It just didnt occur to me to shut it off, I wasn't expecting anything like what had happened to actually occur. To answer your question though I'm in Florida and its not so much the heat that's bad, it's the humidity that kills. We've had lots of rain and its been so miserable out!
     
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  18. RocMills

    RocMills Active Member

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    Gotcha! And I have to agree, it isn't the heat which makes me reach for the a/c, it's those rare humid days even we get (especially lately).
     
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