What is killing all my Hybrid Batteries?! 3 batteries have failed.

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Sabrinaraccoon, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. Sabrinaraccoon

    Sabrinaraccoon New Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    I have not been able to find anything similar to this situation anywhere on here, or online period, so I wanted to put my problem out there and see what you guys think.

    I purchased a 2007 Prius with 150,000 miles on it for a deal. It was cheap because the hybrid battery had died and they replaced it with a used battery still in working condition that had only been run for 60k miles on another car. Knowing that there may be something fishy with this replacement battery, I bought the car, with the expectation that I may need to buy a new battery eventually.

    The car ran great for many months, and a ton of miles, but we suddenly got the red triangle of death in early September. After a mechanic went over the car repeatedly (also fixing a broken wire that runs the engine water pump that did not solve the problem) he determined that I would need a new hybrid battery.

    So we got a "new" refurbished battery put in, that seemed to solve all the problems, and had run so wonderfully up until last week. It started to drop down to one purple bar when first starting the car, and then extremely quickly fill back up to a 100% charge, and then dropping down extremely quick again. Very unusual behavior, definitely not normal.

    This morning, we got the red triangle, VSC light, the red circle with exclamation point, the check engine light, and the hybrid failure light on the screen. All the same lights that lit up like they did previously when the cars 2nd battery had failed.

    The only other thing wrong with the car that we know of is the engine water pump is leaking a small amount of coolant. However, we were told this is not an issue we need to fix right away and shouldn't be effecting the battery.

    Since my refurbished battery is still well under warranty, we should be able to get a another battery. But this will be the car's 4th hybrid battery! What gives?
     
  2. sillylilwabbit

    sillylilwabbit Active Member

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    You haven't tried a genuine OEM Toyota battery yet... Could be the problem.

    Used, refurb, etc = unknown history


    iPhone ?
     
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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    exactly. what you are experiencing is not out of the ordinary. in fact, it's quite common.

    you have a few options:

    1) as mentioned by slw above, buy a new battery from a toyota dealer. $~2,000. plus installation.

    2) buy a dorman rebuilt battery from an auto parts store that can reliably get you a warranty replacement because thy do fail. ~$1,500. plus installation.

    3) buy a salvage battery from a car of known mileage, still a risk. prices vary.

    4) buy a rebuilt battery from a fly by night, that's what you're dealing with now.

    5) buy the equipment necessary to repair your own battery.

    6) all the best!(y)
     
    #3 bisco, Nov 11, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2015
  4. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    We generally recommend new Toyota replacement batts if you are trying to solve the problem for the long term. The gold standard repair shop is called Luscious Garage in CA, and some years ago they stopped using refurb batts.
     
  5. Sabrinaraccoon

    Sabrinaraccoon New Member

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    Thanks for the input guys!

    Right now we have a Dorman rebuilt battery in the car, it is the one that only lasted a month and had failed. It was highly recommend to us, so we went with it, and it was much cheaper than a new OEM battery. Since it has a 3 year warranty, and unlimited mile coverage, we are covered for getting a new one. However, now it seems like I will be getting a new battery every couple months at the rate we are going here.

    Could there be nothing else wrong in the car that could be ruining all these batteries?

    Could the batteries be fine, but something is wrong with whats reading the battery?
     
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  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    nope. classic battery story. they're all over these boards. it's impossible to rebuild a battery and guarantee it will work in the long run. all the cells that weren't replaced are old, and you're most likely gonna keep getting failures.

    it's not like they take your battery case, and put all new cells in. they replace the bad ones, and then, at some point, another few go bad. sometimes, putting good cells with old can cause more failures.

    doorman does about as good a job as any, any they still have a decent failure rate.

    pop into luscious garage some time and ask carolyn why she doesn't use rebuts anymore. she'll give you her reasons, no charge.;)
     
    #6 bisco, Nov 11, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2015
  7. sillylilwabbit

    sillylilwabbit Active Member

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    I know plug in prius are covered under the 15 year or $150k mile factory warranty on the battery, but yours might be as well.

    I don't know about the regular prius. You might want to check.



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  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    10 year, 150k miles in california, for all prius, but not on the second, third or fourth battery.:)
     
  9. Sabrinaraccoon

    Sabrinaraccoon New Member

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    It is a 10 year, 150k mile warranty. When I purchased the car, it was at 152000. When I took the car into Luscious Garage to get it checked out right after I purchased it, they confirmed that my warranty had expired since we are over 150,000. Otherwise, I guess I would have been able to get the water pump fixed and the battery replaced for free. I believe this is why It was being sold cheaper. It was out of warranty, and having issues with its batter and water pump.

    Thanks for the suggestion though, wish I was still under 150k !!
     
  10. Sabrinaraccoon

    Sabrinaraccoon New Member

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    Hahaha.

    I'm trying to find the humor in this car. I love it A LOT, and I really want it to keep going. But its been having issues for sure.
     
  11. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    At 152k miles, many have requested a good will warranty from Toyota and gotten the battery replaced for free. Toyota has been pretty nice about helping people that's right outside of warranty.

    since you did buy a Dorman, just get a replacement. Hopefully the next one will last longer.
     
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  12. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    I'm with most of what the above had said. Getting a new, OEM battery should cover all your issues. Putting it all in the simplest of terms, its like if your batteries in your flashlight go out, and you find someone who can open them up and reseal them with fresh insides for 1/4 the price. It's just safer to buy brand new ones. When it comes to electrical battery replacement, all has to be new, sealed as new from the beginning. Ohm resistance would stay consistant under hard conditions. I'm no electrical genius, but I'm guessing that the replacement batteries aren't handling the load your car requires on a consistant basis, thus the easy burn out of one cell after another. I know, wish you would have thought of this when you bought it. Not to worry, most of us here in this forum have gone thru our share of bad car purchases that we wish we never did (saturn ION is one for me!!). But, it would have been to your benefit to ask the seller to raise the price to include a new OEM battery. Oh the woes of hindsight...:(
     
  13. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    ...how many miles do you have on it now?
    We would have had you call Toyota even though it is over warranty they've been quite helpful.
     
  14. Sabrinaraccoon

    Sabrinaraccoon New Member

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    The car is now over 167,000 miles at this point. Which I assumed was too many miles for Toyota to have any goodwill. Maybe I can call and talk to them about my options.

    However (unless Toyota can give me some sort of unlikely sweet deal) we will be getting a new Dorman battery Im sure, because it will be free. Put it in and cross our fingers I guess! But it might not hurt to see what Toyota has to say.

    When I first bought the car, they had already replaced the battery at the time I purchased it. The used battery wasn't my decision really, and I was half expecting to replace it anyway. My regret now is that I was given utmost confidence in this Dorman refurbished battery, and I wish I just knew to spend the extra money and go OEM. Oh well! It is what it is.
     
  15. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    You cannot ask Toyota for a goodwill warranty now, you already have Dorman battery in there. Your best option now is the one with Dorman warranty
     
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  16. Sabrinaraccoon

    Sabrinaraccoon New Member

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    Aha, yes, that makes sense.

    I drive the car a lot, as I have a long commute. It is getting driven at least 300 miles per week. In terms of weight, the car has no extras (top rack, huge subwoofer or even an extra tire) and I keep it empty. Mechanically, could the fact that the water pump is leaking add to the extra "load" on the car. What could this hypothetical "load" be? That the car is just getting older? It has new tires, 4 new struts. Still getting 50mpgs when a battery is working.
     
  17. dpeverhart

    dpeverhart Member

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    Sorry if I missed it but did you mention the codes? There's a lot of reasons you could have the red triangle and it could be that it's not the hybrid battery at all.
     
  18. Sabrinaraccoon

    Sabrinaraccoon New Member

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    True, who knows, It could be something else. But my mechanic seems to think its the battery again, and from what I read, it seems like all signs point to the batter failure. Here's to hoping its the gas cap!

    I cannot get the car into my guy until Monday, so he will be able to read the codes then. As of now, all I know it is that the dash has lit up in the exact same way that the battery failed last time. And a week before the dash lit up, the battery was acting very strange. Dropping and raising in a manic manner, very quickly and irrationally.
     
  19. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    how much does he charge to swap batteries? unfortunately, there is rarely any humor in a 150,000 mile car.
     
  20. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Since you have a long commute, I suggest that you have the traction battery replaced under the Dorman warranty - assuming that is at fault (which seems likely from your description of the symptoms) and also have the leaking coolant pump replaced now. That pump leak is unrelated to the traction battery needing to be replaced.
     
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