Can you still drive a Toyota Hybrid after you get the high voltage battery (hybrid battery) failure?
You do not have to buy a another hybrid (high voltage) battery just because your Toyota hybrid is getting older. You can stop worrying about it! Here is why?
From what we have observed there are three failure modes:
- Total failure of the battery. Rarely happens!
The engine will not turn over. Oddly enough this failure might be repairable because if can be caused by a broken sense wire in the battery pack. (ODB code P3030 - Click on the picture above to see the sense wires. There are tiny black arrows below the wires.) Toyota uses very small wires every two battery modules to sense the voltage and internal resistance in the pack. They break very easily but normally should not be exposed to any stress that will break them. It can also just be caused by the battery being too discharged. For example cranking the engine repeatedly when something is wrong with the engine. We can recharge such a battery in the Los Angeles Area.
- Too much voltage variation throughout the pack. (ODB code P3006)
This causes the red triangle of death but the car still drives decently. However, when a battery is in this condition it is only a matter of weeks or months before the next condition occurs. If you are driving and the engine suddenly starts speeding up and the brake light lights the next condition has occurred. But you can drive the car in this condition and the error code can come and go (red traingle turn off for a while) but this condition will degrade to the next one. In this condition the battery can be generating a lot of heat and if you want to get as much life from the pack as possible fix it as soon as possible.
- One or more battery cells have totally failed.
The computers stop using the battery altogether. In this state the car drives VERY BADLY (Engine always running rapidly, jerky starts, less power and high stress on the transmission.) We can not recommend you drive the car in this condition. In an emergency you can pull over and turn off the ignition and drive again but when you brake the car will go back into this condition. (So you have to leave a lot of distance in front of you so you rarely have to brake.) Toyota engineered the car well so it keeps on driving if at all possible. (Good engineering!) In this condition it is not a good idea.
For all three of the above conditions we can help you. Go to our Hybrid battery repair page.
You can also reduce your worry by installing a filter that prevents dirt from getting into your battery cooling system. This prevent overheating and premature battery failure. Toyota hybrids did not come with a filter till 2016 but we have them for the Prius 2004-2015 below.
You can also extend the life of your engine by cleaning out the piston rings.This will cause the engine oil to be cleaner (longer engine life) and reduce oil burn (longer catalytic converter life).Click here for more information and lots of pictures from inside engines.