Yellow vs Red Triangle... is my battery cooked?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by Luckykat32, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. Luckykat32

    Luckykat32 Junior Member

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    A little background on my car: 2010, 233k miles! No major issues throughout, except I replaced the front passenger wheel bearing at around 90k. In the past 6 months I've done most of the major maintenance, as suggested by this site... 3rd set of spark plugs, new PCV, new 12v battery, cleaned EGR, TB, & IM, replaced gaskets, changed all 4 coils, K&N washable air filter, drained coolants, and 4k miles ago, I installed an OCC, which has been working well. I've never had any leaks or low oil. My mileage has slowly creeped down to low to mid 40s, but I'm happy because of the high mileage.

    I have 6 QUESTIONS below that I'm looking to answer in one way or another, if anyone can help...I've read A LOT of threads on here & couldn't come up with the answers I was looking for, but links are appreciated if I missed something.

    1) About 2 weeks ago, the YELLOW (not red) triangle of death appeared, so I went to the autoparts store, since I dont have a reader & it was code P0A38 (check hybrid system). The code showed 3 times... DOES THAT MEAN 3 CELLS ARE BAD?

    2) I also had it double checked at a friend of a friends garage with a better reader & it showed the same code & also showed each cell's read out & they were all right around 15.99 to a little over 16v...ISNT THAT WHAT THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO READ? COULD THE CODE COME ON ACCIDENTALLY FOR ANOTHER REASON?

    3) Also, because I cannot find it addressed here or anywhere on the internet, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE RED & YELLOW TRIANGLE OF DEATH?

    4) IS THERE ANY CHANCE THAT MY HYBRID BATTERY FAN COULD BE DIRTY/BLOCKED & THAT WOULD CAUSE THAT CODE, or AM I OUT OF LUCK & HAVE TO REPLACE THE HYBRID BATTERY?

    5) I know replacing the individual cells is not too expensive...IS IT WORTH REPLACING A FEW TO GET THE TRIANGLE TO GO AWAY FOR A HIGHER RESALE VALUE?

    6) DOES ANYONE KNOW THE VALUE OF A HIGH MILEAGE PRIUS WITH THE TRIANGLE OF DEATH/CHECK ENGINE LIGHT ON?

    ANY help would be appreciated, as I think I'm going to just buy a newer prius because of the high mileage, but if I can get another year or 2 out of her without spending 2k on a new hybrid battery, I'd obviously prefer it.
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    clean the fan and grille. the hybrid battery needs to be tested under load. get tech stream or go to a dealer.
     
  3. Al Bundy

    Al Bundy Member

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    have the 12 volt battery checked, when it starts getting weak it can throw all kinds of strange codes.. dont use a volt meter as it dosent test the battery under load...
    as to value, A car its worth what someone is willing to pay for it. take KBB bottom value than deduct repairs and damage.
    if all your voltages are 15 plus you most likely dont have a battery issue..
    it can be other things in the HV system causing the red triangle to come on
    you might have to spend $100 at the dealer for a proper diagnostic if the 12 volt battery is good
     
    #3 Al Bundy, Oct 17, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2018
  4. Luckykat32

    Luckykat32 Junior Member

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    Thanks for the tips...any others are also appreciated.

    I forgot to add that with the yellow triangle being on, the car runs fine and I have been still driving it short distances daily, but the ICE never shuts down. ...crazy enough in still getting mid to high 30s in mpg.
     
  5. Luckykat32

    Luckykat32 Junior Member

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    AL,
    Thanks for the note. I replaced the 12v battery about a month ago....do you think it's still possible that it could go bad?

    Also, do you know the difference between the yellow triangle (what my car is showing) and the red triangle?

     
  6. cnc97

    cnc97 Senior Member

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    In a few minute search, I found that this code could refer to MG2 temp sensor. The sub code is important. The information I found shows that the motor gen assembly should be replaced. You need a “hybrid aware” scanner to read the code.

    As an auto parts store employee, I don’t have much faith in the ability of our scanner to read any “hybrid specific” codes.
     
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  7. FuelMiser

    FuelMiser Active Member

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    RED Triangle: This is a warning against something which, if ignored, may cause death or serious injury to people. You are informed about what you must or must not do in order to reduce the risk of death or serious injury to yourself and others.

    YELLOW Triangle: This is a warning against something which, if ignored, may cause damage to the vehicle or its equipment. You are informed about what you must or must not do in order to avoid or reduce the risk of damage to your Toyota and its equipment.
     
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  8. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    The difference is that in the Gen 3 instrument cluster, the triangle light is colored yellow.

    It is telling you that there is some one of a couple hundred possible issues being detected, some possibly involving the battery or others possibly not, and that reading the trouble codes with Techstream would be a good idea, in order to begin working out what might be wrong with the car.

    -Chap
     
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  9. Al Bundy

    Al Bundy Member

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    i have a gen 2 so Im not sure about a yellow triangle ... I dont think mine goes yellow its off or red.. have you checked the owners manual or on line for a picture of your dash lights and what they mean? it never hurts to check the 12 volt before investing money into repairs the car might not need.
     
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  10. Luckykat32

    Luckykat32 Junior Member

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    When I had my car hooked up to a scanner at an independent garage, the hybrid cells were in ALL in the high 15 volts, so I have a hard time believing that my hybrid battery is done. My 12v battery is only about a month old, but I'm going to get it tested & see what happens.

    Any other suggestions to check for while I'm digging?
     
  11. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    Did you Google that code?
    P0A38 subcode 257 generator sensor circuit low
    Did you read through this PDF about testing the motor. Link to download https://goo.gl/cYL317
    The very beginning of it talks about the motor...
    "The motor temperature sensor No. 2 detects the temperature of the transaxle fluid." And then details procedure for testing.

    Pay to have it properly diagnosed at a location that uses Techstream and/or can read the subcodes.
    This could be at the dealership, an independent garage, or at home yourself.

    For using Techstream at home it is likely easiest if you buy Techstream software bundles with minivci or similar cable. Easiest if you run it on an old Windows XP laptop.

    1) the code showing three times does not mean there are three bad blocks.

    2) standing voltage can quickly show a shorted block, but it is better if you fill the battery up and drain it to see additional behavior of when battery is full/filling and empty/draining.

    3) someone else answered.

    4) if you haven't cleaned your fan, go ahead and do it. But it won't help with an overheated motor/tranaxle.

    5) If you try to cheat people by not disclosing that your battery is failing that is not cool. But replacing a few modules and then being 100% transparent about your basically dying car is cool. Too often I've seen unscrupulous folks hide the defect of their car and sell it without disclosing. This is just bad karma and makes the world a crappier place. Why? Why would people do that?

    6) Think about what you would pay for a high mileage car that needs a $2,000-$3,000 repair. Basically not much. Scrap value plus $100. So somewhere between $200 and $500.
     
    #11 ericbecky, Oct 19, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
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  12. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    If the voltage is too high, that's not good either. You need to get Techstream and test the battery.
     
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