Prius v in Automatic Car Wash

Discussion in 'Prius v Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Joshua Laymon, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. Joshua Laymon

    Joshua Laymon Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2014
    29
    43
    0
    Location:
    Eldon, MO
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Premium
    I just bought my 2014 Prius v 2 days ago. I have a membership to a local car wash that allows me to wash my car anytime I want. It is an automated conveyor belt type system that pulls your car through and washes and drys it until you pop out of the other end. The whole process usually takes less than 2 minutes, not including waiting in line to get into the tunnel. Being new to the Prius' operation I familiarized myself with how to get the car to stay in Neutral and then went into line. I started with less than half of a battery charge being indicated. By the time I was almost through I had noticed that the battery was draining but from my short experience with the car I thought the ICE would start with 2 bars remaining. It did not. Then the battery indicated started flashing red and the light with the P started flashing. I didn't know what to do but hope I made it out of the tunnel. I turned off the air, radio, and lights, hoping to conserve what juice I had left. Now my question is this. How do I keep this from being an issue? Is there a way to force the engine to run without pressing the brake, parking the car, or shifting it to drive (as none of those are options in the carwash). The only thing I can figure is make sure you start washing the car with a full charge but that seems a little over the top.

    Long story short...will the engine ever run in N and is there any way to force it to?
     
  2. Okinawa

    Okinawa Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2013
    1,333
    315
    0
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    While car is in neutral the battery will not charge. I run mine through a car wash just like you and have done so for years with no problems. Before you start through the car wash turn everything off that will cause battery drain, lights, radio, heater, air conditioner, etc. And you will have no problems. You are only in the car wash a couple of minutes with the car running in neutral. That's nothing.
     
  3. Joshua Laymon

    Joshua Laymon Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2014
    29
    43
    0
    Location:
    Eldon, MO
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Premium
    Thanks for the response. It may not have been an issue if I hadn't let the car sit in the lot at the carwash and run while I talked to them inside. I would have had more battery in that case. So would the car have just died there on me or would it have eventually turned on the engine? Just curious for any future occurrences, and other scenarios I come across.
     
  4. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    4,188
    2,231
    2
    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    You can let it run as long as you want in Park. The engine will start to replenish the battery as needed. However the HV battery could be relatively low just prior to an automatic engine start when you shift to Neutral to go through the car wash.
     
  5. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    15,432
    8,699
    90
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    It won't start the engine. If stopped, the engine cannot start while in N. If running, it won't stop in N (unless fuel runs dry), but it can't charge the traction battery either.

    Because the Prius drivetrain has no mechanical disconnect, the required Neutral disconnect is achieved by disabling the fields to motor/generators, allowing them to freewheel. No propulsion, no generation. This is a safety requirement.

    If you enter the car wash with a low traction battery, the most important thing to turn off is the A/C. If that is intolerable, then bypass the car wash, returning when the battery has a better charge.

    Forced charges are possible outside the carwash, but not inside.
     
    Dimon42 likes this.
  6. rdgrimes

    rdgrimes Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2013
    1,738
    436
    4
    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Advanced
    Or just skip the auto wash completely, its not very good for the finish. Treat your car to a gentle caress with a good wash mitt and some decent car wash juice. The results are superior by far, and it gives you the chance to regularly inspect for chips and dings that need touch-up.
     
    Mendel Leisk and scotchwhiskey like this.
  7. Okinawa

    Okinawa Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2013
    1,333
    315
    0
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    You are certainly correct but when you live in the Chicago area, unfortunately with these horrible winters you have to put it through a car wash. Terrible.
     
  8. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    12,347
    6,729
    2
    Location:
    Greenwood MS USA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    Before the car wash you can force charge in D with the brakes on, just press the accelerator and all the energy goes to the battery. Once in N it cannot charge, so always minimize time in N. Toyota is required by US law to have an N position, you are not required to use it.
     
  9. Eric "v"

    Eric "v" Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2014
    229
    43
    0
    Location:
    'Vegas, NV, Baby
    Vehicle:
    2013 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two
    FIRST:
    Putting your car through an "automatic" car wash means you don't know how harmful it will be (over time) to your car's clear coat finish. It will make it dull with many fine hairline scratches from the grit off other cars that is imbedded in the brushes/cloths.

    SECOND:
    >Wash your car yourself using quality products like Meguiar's or Mother's.

    >Never wash a car with dish washing detergent, only mild auto detergent that will not damage your wax finish.

    >Learn the loving and laborious job of the annual "clay bar" job to remove imbedded grit that accumulates over time, especially on the front of the car.

    You can still restore your car's finish with a good orbital buffer and some buffing compound. Then wash and wax.

    OR NOT...














    Learn to wash cars yourself using quality product
     
  10. Okinawa

    Okinawa Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2013
    1,333
    315
    0
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    I live in Chicago. Especially in the winter you have to put your car through an automatic car wash. Washing by hand is impossible.
     
  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    45,956
    32,817
    80
    Location:
    Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    There are some car washes where you drive in and stop. The machinery goes around the car; I'd stick to those: the Prius transaxle cannot be off and in neutral. And running, you can run the hybrid battery run down. Not sure of the ramifications, wouldn't want to find out the hard way.

    I haven't used an automatic car wash in decades, but then again the winters are a lot milder here.
     
  12. Eric "v"

    Eric "v" Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2014
    229
    43
    0
    Location:
    'Vegas, NV, Baby
    Vehicle:
    2013 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two
    Okinawa, remember, Chicago has a lot of very upper end cars that never see an automatic car wash. They take them to a hand wash. Yes, it may be $15. a shot at those places but it's worth it.
     
  13. Joe Fisher

    Joe Fisher Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2013
    43
    14
    0
    Location:
    Kalispell, Montana
    Vehicle:
    2015 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two
    I get having to wash the car, and I get not being able to do it by hand in the winter. Montana is the same situation. I use the car wash with the bay that you spray yourself.
    All I've ever gotten from the auto car washes I've done is the opportunity to walk around the car and see the spots that were missed.
     
  14. Okinawa

    Okinawa Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2013
    1,333
    315
    0
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    You can certainly do a better job by hand versus an automatic car wash. No doubt about that.
     
  15. Synthetic

    Synthetic Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2016
    35
    9
    0
    Location:
    El Paso
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Five
    Agree with avoiding automatic and public wand-style car washes. Two cases in point:
    1. Bought a 2006 Scion xB in 2009 which had alsways been run through an automatic car wash. The paint was not bad but the glass was etched by the detergents. Many small 1/4" circles all over the glass. Tried various glass cleaners on an experimental spot plus polishing compound but nothing has worked.
    2. The same Scion had installed a rear window "decal" advertising my company. I usually wash by hand in the driveway. About three years into the decal's life - it was fading slighly - took to a wand-style carwash and the detergent/power combination washed away the decal's printing. That is some strong soap!
     
    Mendel Leisk likes this.
Loading...