the Valet's Curse killed my Prius?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by coyote2, Nov 29, 2019.

  1. coyote2

    coyote2 Junior Member

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    ** Full Subject **

    After the valet touched it, despite the frightening error code, it also needed a new battery, but that wasn't enough.

    ** Details **

    All was well until I handed the FOB to a (free Kaiser) valet to visit my Dad in the hospital. I drove a block then parked & shut it off. But then it wouldn't (after initially a lot of dash lights and some signs of life) do anything; everything was and stayed dark and dead.

    AAA said battery was just low; since I don't have a charger they offered to install a new battery for $200. Instead, 2 days before the holiday weekend since it was jumped I drove it 20 miles to Berkeley to Art's Automotive and just showed up without an appointment. Naturally they were fully booked, but I knew if they could they'd squeeze me in, and they did. Oh, and the moment I said "valet" they joked about how often a need for service starts with that word.

    The battery had a bad block so Art's Automotive replaced it. But they had also read a rare error code; just a few instances in the mid-west that needed (IIRC) complete electrical system replacement. (Yikes, sounds more expensive than I could afford or maybe even than a 2005 Prius is worth.) Our hope was that maybe the code was spuriously generated during the low battery event, and I was to be on the lookout for any electrical issues.

    So Thanksgiving morning I drove the same 20 miles, and back, to visit my dad. No issues. But a half hour after I got home I moved the car a block to another space. No issues until I got out and tried to lock it with the FOB button. It wouldn't. In fact the buttons on both of my FOBs have done nothing since even after replacing the batteries in each. Occasionally one of both of the outside door lock buttons and handle-unlock works, but not usually. Mostly I'm reduced to unlocking with the mini-key and putting a FOB in the slot.

    So I'd like to hope that maybe it's just only that whatever wirelessly connects to the FOBs got messed up during the low battery event. I'll call Art's again first thing Monday, but in the meantime I'm afraid to drive it lest there be an ongoing electrical system issue that would worsen and cost as much as I'm afraid it already will. Which I'm also simply worrying about.

    Any clues please, friends?
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    never let a valet take your car. i learned the hard way in san fran.
     
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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    buti'm confused. did you, or did you not have a new 12v installed? if not, do so.

    if so, check the connections and voltage
     
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  4. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    So the focus is all on the 12 volt battery, the hybrid battery's in the clear? Any thoughts on how/why the battery got drawn down. How old was it btw.
     
  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    tl;dr
    'battery had a bad block, so arts replaced it'
     
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  6. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Man it's a tough job being a valet these days, when a customer hand over their keys, they are somehow responsible for a failed 15 year old hybrid. Surely the 15 year old car was perfect and didn't have any problems before the valet got a hold of it.
     
  7. Classic Car Guy

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    I'm okay driving "The Loaner" on any valet :)

     
    #7 Classic Car Guy, Nov 29, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
  8. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Most confusing post.
     
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  9. coyote2

    coyote2 Junior Member

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    I had a breakthrough since Amazon delivered a fresh package of FOB batteries.

    Now one of my FOBs works perfectly. Which is kinda understandable since it's spent most of the last 15 years unused in a drawer...because for some reason it drains it's CR2032 in just weeks even in a drawer (IIRC I started a thread about this long ago).

    My other FOB, the one I've always used, OTOH does not work perfectly. It's Lock and Unlock buttons do nothing including not even lighting the FOB's red led. Plus the door handles and buttons only work intermittently.

    So perhaps all I need is to replace both FOBs (because I don't want my only working FOB to run through batteries fast...but it seems a little odd that this would happen at the same time the other stuff happened, so I remain worried..

    p.s.
    @bisco
    Yes, a new 12V was installed. (Sorry I see how my "The battery had a bad block so Art's Automotive replaced it" left ambiguous whether only a block was replaced.)

    @Mendal
    "hybrid battery's in the clear?"

    Yes.

    "Any thoughts on how/why the battery got drawn down.

    Apparently valets often think leaving the lights on forever, etc, is fine, imagining the main hybrid battery is the vehicle's only one.

    @JC91006
    I think you turned out to be right, since it seems the valet's ignorance merely precipitated an issue with the 12V and FOB. I liked your comment, I know it had to be a bit rude to be both funny and correct.
     
  10. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    OK that's some rare gold right there.

    Congrats on getting your car in better working order, thanks to team Priuschat for snarking its way to the troof,
     
  11. coyote2

    coyote2 Junior Member

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    I love this place, Leadfoot!

    Oh, and honestly the FOB issue couldn't be related to anything the valet did! (I doubt the car could wirelessly hurt a FOB.) The FOB going bad simultaneously was I think just the Universe's way of challenging my troubleshooting ability by making more than one problem occur at the same time. (Testing results are so weird when that happens, and why does it happen so often to me; it makes maintaining computer hardware a nightmare.)
     
  12. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    On your fob that's not working completely at 100%, you may have a stuck button. Press all the buttons and see if they call click properly when you press down. If it's not clicking, then it's stuck. You'll need something like a razor blade or similar sharp edge to free the stuck button.
     
  13. Classic Car Guy

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    Good to know that these buttons tends to bottom out. Never know that might happen to me. I normally have my fob on a pouch bag. Since when I changed my bag lately I have been getting interference with the remote. I tend to push the lock button (in the car) more than once. Same thing with the spare fob.
     
  14. coyote2

    coyote2 Junior Member

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    @JC9106
    Thank you so much for the smart suggestion!

    But dangit, while the buttons all click just as audibly as on the other AOK FOB, but (even after peeling open that rubbery facing and jiggling them) the buttons still do nothing. But it was fun seeing under the rubbery facing!
     
  15. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    since you have a proper working fob, I would use that to try and reprogram the non working fob. The "chicken dance" method may be able to fix that non working fob (assuming the batteries are good)
     
  16. coyote2

    coyote2 Junior Member

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    Brand new freshly purchased batteries but no luck.

    I was so hopeful that I wouldn't have to lay out more money, but it was very fun to try. About 20 times. (I'm really bad at learning dances, but it got easy.) What a crazy dance! I'm amazed and impressed that Toyota invented such a thing so that it helps others.

    Thank you very much for the help, JC91006. I guess I'll ask Art's to solve it so I don't have to pay the dealer.
     
  17. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Just remember you can buy a new key fob and program it yourself using the chicken dance method . If you have AAA plus or premier membership, they'll reimburse you for some of the new keyfob cost (you just have to provide a receipt). So research and see what is the cheapest option, if Art's will do it, just make sure the receipt says (new key) for AAA to reimburse you for the cost.
     
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  18. coyote2

    coyote2 Junior Member

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    OMG I didn't think of this, thank you very much JC91006, I owe you bigtime!

    I nearly upgraded my AAA last week, maybe I'll take this opportunity to!

    I tried to but didn't find a thread on priuschat suggesting a cheapest option, but while trying I learned I needed one with the same silver logo, and found some sold by Toyota dealers ($167 on Amazon, $150 on eBay). And one for $145 on eBay by a locksmith, the listing warning that it can only be programmed by a locksmith (which seems odd).

    I guess I can still use my old tiny emergency key in the new one instead of getting the blank cut?

    Speaking of which, I have carpal tunnel so the tiny key was painful for me this week. Can I just take my old key to a locksmith and get a normal size actual key cut so I can minimize tiny key use in the future?
     
  19. coyote2

    coyote2 Junior Member

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    Wait, problem solved!

    Art's guessed right before I even brought it in: they popped off the red Panic button and all is well now. I couldn't notice but it was slightly inset, and apparently this caused the issue.

    They also guessed that this might be why my other FOB battery drains so fast.

    So they suggested and I'd like to just leave both red buttons off; I forgot the Panic button was even there. But I don't want rain getting in there: any ideas how to cover the holes?

    So all my issues appear solved except I'm still wondering:
    Can I just take my old mini keys to a locksmith and get a normal size actual key cut so I can minimize tiny key use in the future?
     
  20. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    if your fobs are working, i've never used the key, except to test it once in a while, so i dont get stuck in an emergency
     
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