Towing warning

Discussion in 'Prius c Main Forum' started by Cybergooch, Jun 27, 2019.

  1. Cybergooch

    Cybergooch Junior Member

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    Hey all, I just wanted to give a heads up (I know there have been other threads on towing your Prius here on the forum.)
    I recently towed my 2014 Prius C on a U-Haul dolly so its front wheels were off the ground. From what I had read, this should have worked fine since only the rear wheels were on the ground. After arriving at my destination (tow was from Elko, Nevada to Bend, Oregon) the battery was quite dead and I couldn't start the car.

    Fortunately I had another vehicle at the location and was able to jump start the Prius. Just a note that despite my not having anything turned on, and vehicle was in neutral, it still drained the battery. Next time I tow it I'll use the type of trailer where all wheels are off the ground!
     
  2. dubit

    dubit Senior Member

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    Hmm, not sure what would have caused the battery to go dead. You state you had nothing turned on, but there had to be something. Towing the car with a dolly is not going to cause it to go dead. Why did you have it in Neutral? The drive wheels were off the ground! (unless you towed it backwards but I've never seen that done. lol)
     
  3. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    The only thing that would do that is to have the car in READY and in neutral or to have it in ignition on (ON) or accessory (ACC) mode.

    Regarding ON and ACC modes, the PiP manual says,
    I would think the c would be the same.

    Either way, the car doesn't care if it's being towed (assuming it's towed properly as you did). So it was on.
    It is physically impossible to have the vehicle in neutral and still be completely shut down without performing some major surgery to the transaxle. When you shut off the car, it goes to PARK and stays there till you turn it on. Leaving the car on and in neutral, you dodged a bullet in not also draining the hybrid battery.
     
  4. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    For the car to be in "Neutral", it has to to be completely "on", in what Toyota calls "Ready".

    Having the car completely on, and in Neutral, is known for depleting the hybrid battery. That's the scenario of pull-through car washes, which have also depleted the hybrid battery, in just a matter of minutes.

    There's no reason for it to be on when towed, with the front wheels off the ground; the car should be off, with the parking brake released.

    Which battery are you talking about, the hybrid or 12 volt? The car wash scenario has been known to deplete the hybrid battery, fwiw.
     
    #4 Mendel Leisk, Jun 28, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
  5. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    You can tow any Prius on a dolly.

    Accidentally leaving it on won't really hurt anything except for the aux (12v) battery, and presuming you don't goof things up when you de-fib your car afterwards, there really will not be any long term ill effects.
    IIRC, the car will not allow the traction battery to go below a 20% charge state, so the car protected itself as it was designed to do.

    A HEALTHY 12v battery won't be damaged by a gut punch like this unless you make a habit of it.
    HOWEVER (comma!) if your battery is getting on in years....say 4-5, OR if you've had to boost it more than a few times, then it might be time to proactively change it out.

    In modern cars, 12v batteries give very little warning before they go all the way bad.
     
  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    It might be OP meant "parking brake off" where it says "neutral", not sure.

    Leaving the car completely on (aka "ready") and in Neutral, I believe you can run the hybrid battery right down. There's been a few reports of this happening with tow-along car washes.
     
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  7. dubit

    dubit Senior Member

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    Totally off the subject.

    But in regards to this statement. I still laugh about this when I go to the car wash. I've never even seen it drop 1 bar and that's with the AC blasting. I even turn on the lights occasionally. So what is it that people say triggers the hybrid battery to go completely limp within the extremely short amount of time it takes for a car wash. I mean it's like 3 minutes. I'm guessing their hybrid battery must be crap to begin with if this is happening?
     
  8. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    Out here in California where the population is more concentrated, we wait more than 3 minutes at car wash locations;).

    When the battery runs down and the car is required to be in neutral to progress along the car wash path (in some setups), this is where the problem arises :cool:.

    I’ve seen lines at the local 5 Star Car Wash out onto the street, which is probably a 1/2 hour wait, and that’s just one of many in the area (y).
     
  9. Aaron Vitolins

    Aaron Vitolins Senior Member

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    Well I think the scenario is probably more like already having a low lower SOC, than waiting in like to go into the car wash with AC on, then you go in with two or almost one bar and pop it in nutrual. But still it does seem with shouldn't be a problem with a healthy battery. But I've read multiple people have this happen, even on a new Prius. So it is very real
     
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  10. dubit

    dubit Senior Member

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    So what does waiting in line have to do with it? Nobody waits in line with their car in "neutral". They either keep their foot on the brake pedal or put it in park. Even then, the engine will kick on to keep the battery charged to a minimum. It's when they roll thru that car wash in Neutral that it won't charge. But really - if their charge goes down so low while going thru a 3-6 minute car wash, then....

    Mine seriously has never moved even 1 bar.
     
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  11. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    While waiting (and it’s hot outside) people have the ac on. Guess what the ac does :whistle:?

    Now the hv battery is at a minimum level and now you go through the car wash in neutral with the ac still on (cause the outside temperature hasn’t changed) and now you get the bad news message that displays;).

    There are many posts on here about this phenomenon. Definitely not unique and something that since people who buy their first hybrid aren’t aware of some of the subtlety where they’re used to doing one thing and now that needs to change:cool:.

    They’re the usual ones who have the unfortunate experience :(.

    Hope that helps(y).
     
  12. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    ... which is the two bar minimum. So if the car decides that it is time to kick on the engine during those several minutes the car is in Neutral, then it soon becomes red-light-warning time.



    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  13. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    That's a little more than 3 minutes.

    Again, OP needs to come back and clarify. I'm guessing when he says "in Neutral", he meant to say "with the parking brake released".
     
  14. dubit

    dubit Senior Member

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    iono guys - I've ran thru the car wash so many times with the AC blasting and never even lost a bar. But you guys are right. Lots of posts about it here. I personally think their battery has issues if their vehicle is doing this. But that's my opinion and I've hijacked this thread long enough. So I hand it back over to the OP - who probably won't ever be back. lol
     
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  15. Cybergooch

    Cybergooch Junior Member

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    Hey all, thanks for the replies.

    Although I'm trying to be sure (memory a bit fuzzy now) I'd be willing to bet that I did indeed put it in Neutral.
    I know I double-checked the emergency brake to make sure it was off, but since I wasn't thinking in front-wheel-drive mode (which I should have been!) I probably convinced myself that it would be wrong to leave it in Park while trying to tow it.

    Now it sounds like that's exactly what I should have done!

    So to clarify if I need to use a dolly like that again, I should leave it in park and the rear wheels will still roll fine (as long as the emergency brake is soff?)
     
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  16. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Yep, that's exactly right.
     
  17. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    If you shut off the car (and you should do that for towing any vehicle), it will be in park. It puts itself in park when you shut it off. That's what makes it necessary to have the front wheels on the dolly. ;)
     
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