I don't have a hybrid mechanic in the area

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by kbdriver, Jan 3, 2023.

  1. kbdriver

    kbdriver New Member

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    I do not have a Toyota Prius mechanic in the area, and the mechanics who are not working for Toyota seem to be afraid to make the smallest repairs. My car was taken to the mechanic for a low 12V battery (the small battery) and the mechanic refused to work on it, citing that he believed he needed special equipment.

    I'm open to making certain repairs that can be made and only taking the car to a mechanic if I genuinely do not know what I'm doing. Ironically, the Prius is the first car I've actually felt comfortable attempting my own repairs with, because there are so many online tutorials about how to do it safely and correctly.

    Since I don't have an inexpensive mechanic I can take it to, though, it looks like I need to learn how to make little repairs myself. I've just now started to experience problems and the car has almost 200,000 miles on it. Right now, the small battery (12V battery) won't hold a charge. It charges with the help of a charger, but it runs down after a few hours of just sitting. The internet research I've done says that it's probably a bad 12V battery, and I think my first step in troubleshooting would be to change the battery, but for the record, is changing the 12V battery dangerous at all? It looks like a regular battery, but people have told me there's risk of electrical shock.

    My other option is to take it to the Toyota place in the next town and have them run diagnostics. It could be the battery but it could also be a wiring issue. What's the best option in this case? Drive to the next town and let them run $200 worth of diagnostics or replace the 12V battery (the small battery) myself and see if that was the issue?
     
  2. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    If you let us know what region in the US you live we can help you find someone to help you... But just saying your from the USA and giving no additional information is shooting yourself in the foot. As you already know, there's lots of awful mechanics that couldn't learn a new car design to work on even if they've been in mass production for two decades. The 12v battery is easy and safe to replace yourself. There's plenty of people who will walk your through any repair you need on here. And if you live near someone who helps people on here you'll be in an even better position. But good luck getting anyone to help if we don't even know what region you live in....
     
  3. kbdriver

    kbdriver New Member

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    My apologies. I was just trying to follow internet protocol about giving out too much information online. I'll try to revise my location information, but right now I live in Southwest Texas, close to Mexico. The only mechanics I know of who can work on my car are at the Toyota place in the next town, which would be okay, but they're more expensive. I'd like to find a good "mom and pop" place for big repairs, like if the big battery ever goes out, because maybe I'd have other options besides trading in the vehicle. I've found my Toyota Prius to be a reliable car since I've owned it. Like all Toyotas, it seems built to last, and I like that about the brand because a car is a pretty big purchase. You want it to last well past the amount of time it takes to pay for it.
     
    #3 kbdriver, Jan 4, 2023
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2023
  4. kbdriver

    kbdriver New Member

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    What I meant by "my area" in the original post, is that I don't have anyone in town. I'd have to go to the Toyota dealer in the next town, which isn't a big deal, but it's expensive and could be the difference between me electing to have the car repaired and just trading it in for something else if the repair is costly enough. Just getting the small battery changed there could cost over $500, for example.

    I guess to some, this is a small thing to complain about, but having to take a car to the dealership every time it's in need of minor repairs is not an ideal situation, although honestly this is the first time since I've owned the car that it's needed anything past general maintenance.

    Plus, I think I'm interested enough in Prius to want to become a licensed mechanic for them myself, but I don't really know if that's possible. I just know that I like the Toyota Prius for its reliability and don't feel intimidated by it because there are plenty of tutorials on how to make minor and major repairs, even though I've never attempted to make repairs.
     
    #4 kbdriver, Jan 4, 2023
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2023
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  5. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Thanks for clarifying... There's this group in San Antonio for big stuff that's beyond what you want to take on:
    http://hybridrepaircenter.com/

    But it sounds like you're a perfect candidate to learn how to do your own work via all the support you can get from PriusChat...

    Basically any repair you need to make to your car you do a google search on the repair name and keyword PriusChat and start reading then post comments in those threads if you have questions. Or start a new thread. This will mean your cost of repair will often be just 10% of what a Toyota Stealership charges for the same repair. And your ambition to be a mechanic yourself will mean the skill you learn on here could turn into a side hustle where people pay generously because you helped them make a repair way cheaper than a shop can do it for.

    For your 12v battery I recommend these: https://www.ebay.com/itm/141206981871

    You'll also want to be able to connect your phone to your car so you can use diagnostic apps like Dr. Prius and others with one of these: https://www.ebay.com/itm/265484403768
     
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  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    The 12v is pretty simple. You can get a volt meter, or take it to auto zone for a free load test.
    If you need to replace it, it’s a simple process, and there are you tube instructions available
     
  7. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    I would follow Priuscamper's advice. Start with the repair center he mentioned. And yes, there are plenty in here that can walk you through most of the repairs. You might be able to have one of us be by the phone to answer questions if needed. Personally, When I first bought my 2015, I felt challenged to do any repairs on it. And all my friends told me the main battery would die in 5 years and cost $10,000 to replace. It's been over 7 years and I plan on getting one this year. After going in here at Priuschat, I was able to find that the price for a new main battery can range from $1,800 to $2,800.......a far cry from $10,000!!

    I replaced my 12v battery on my own, its pretty simple. I change my own oil and oil filter. I installed the spin-on oil filter assembly. All other stuff I took it to Hybridpit because they are local for me.

    Continue to reach out to us, you will get darn good advice!!
     
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  8. kbdriver

    kbdriver New Member

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    I'm assuming the 12V battery is dead. It refused to start again today, but this time we couldn't even get the battery charged with a battery charger. It's either the charger or the battery, and I'm betting it's the 12V battery. I think I have no choice but to try to change it myself since the car won't even start. I just hope that's the problem and not something big. A 12V battery will cost around $300.
     
  9. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    if you want to be sure, auto zone will load test it for free, and there are aftermarket batteries available
     
  10. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Depending on where you are, prices are less for a Toyota battery.
    If you are a veteran, the could give you a 10% discount.
    It's easy to change the battery. They hard part is removing all the rugs and covers to get to it. :)

     
  11. kbdriver

    kbdriver New Member

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    I'm an absolute novice when it comes to some of this. How would I open the hatchback since there's now no power going to the car? I thought I could use the key, but it wouldn't work. It's probably an easy fix that I'm overlooking, but I'll have to Google for it.

    Edit: I Googled for it and found it. The 12V battery is out. We're in the process of looking for a replacement.
     
    #11 kbdriver, Jan 19, 2023
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2023
  12. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Get the Toyota battery. It's the best one for the car. It lasted a long time.
    Just make sure you put it on a 4amp or less charger for 6 or so hours to bring it up
    to a full charge. Dealerships, or auto stores, do not keep a charge on batteries.

    Plus, you won't have to do any modifications to get an aftermarket battery to work.

     
  13. kbdriver

    kbdriver New Member

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    Okay, the small battery has been changed, and the car appears to be operating normally. One of my relatives changed it, as there was some corrosion on the battery that kept it from being taken out as smoothly as on the instructional video, or at least it appeared that way.
     
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  14. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Good to go! What brand battery did you get?

     
  15. SB6

    SB6 Member

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    Is corrosion on the 12V battery typical, even with it being in the trunk rather than exposed under the hood? I don't think I've ever seen corrosion on mine, but I don't live in a rust-prone area.

    Also, not sure which method you found to open the trunk with a dead 12V battery, but I just confirmed myself that jumping from under the hood allows you to open the trunk normally, rather than having to crawl into the trunk and use the latch from inside.

    Another thing I always tell people now is to check your dead 12V battery for warranty. You may be surprised at how long the warranty is on some of them. The Toyota Truestart battery has a 7 year warranty, with the first 2 (iirc) years full warranty, and the rest being prorated. The warranty also restarts upon warranty replacement, at least if you replace it during the pro-rated warranty period. Not sure about the full warranty period.
     
    #15 SB6, Jan 25, 2023 at 11:08 AM
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2023 at 1:56 PM
  16. Todd Bonzalez

    Todd Bonzalez Member

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    My 12V battery was almost fully submerged in water thanks to a leak behind the tail light. The terminals were badly corroded.

    It happens alright.
     
  17. CR94

    CR94 Senior Member

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    ?? Not really. Unless there's cargo in the way, that part's a 30-second chore, and I'm slow.
     
    #17 CR94, Jan 25, 2023 at 12:55 PM
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2023 at 2:52 PM
  18. SB6

    SB6 Member

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    The hardest part, for me, is trying and failing to avoid all the hoses and cables there while dropping the battery back in
     
  19. MikeDee

    MikeDee Senior Member

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    When I changed my OEM battery, there was no corrosion. I thought it was a pretty easy job.
     
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