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Guide to Hybrid Car Battery Replacements - Part 1

Hybrid cars burst onto the auto scene in the late 1990s with the Toyota Prius.  Lauded for its high MPGs and low environmental impact, the Toyota Prius quickly because America’s best-selling car. Little has changed over the past decades.  The Prius continues to sell like hotcakes and the engineers at Toyota continue to innovate. Prius owners are a fiercely loyal bunch.  They love their car and do their best to take care of their investment.  But we’ve noticed that there’s one area where Prius owners may get confused due to a lot of conflicting, or just plain wrong, information out there: when they need to replace their hybrid car battery. Here is some information about how hybrid batteries work, how long they should last, potential problems, and how to deal with problems that may arise.

How Long Does a Hybrid Car Battery Last?

NiMH hybrid car battery

According to Toyota warranties, the battery should last about 10 years.  In most states the Toyota warranty is for 8 years or 100,000 miles.  In California the warranty is 10 years or 150,000 miles. However, according to a study done by Consumer Reports, some Prius batteries have lasted for over 200,000 miles with no loss of performance!  Of course, this is an exception not the rule, but it does demonstrate the hardiness of the Prius. If you go by the warranty timeframe, Gen 1 Prius drivers can expect to have some battery issues, if they haven’t already.  And if you drive a Gen 2 Prius, then it’s possible that battery issues are right around the corner. Here is a handy table to help you see if your battery might be at risk.

Prius battery replacement guide

The good news is your Gen 2 Prius battery could still be under warranty.  But don’t take our word for it; check out your paperwork! Barring the unforeseen, like an accident, your Gen 3 Prius battery shouldn’t need to be replaced, repaired, or reconditioned for several more years. But Gen 2 Prius owners need to be vigilant.  Watch out for the following signs that your hybrid car battery needs to be looked at by a professional.

You Might Have Hybrid Car Battery Problems If…

  • Decreased gas mileage.  Once you’ve been driving your Prius for a while, you should know the type of gas mileage to expect from your car.  If you start to notice that you have to fill your gas tank more often, or that your MPGs have decreased, you should get your battery tested.
  • Decreased power.  If your Prius has been feeling sluggish, like it just can’t find the get up and go to get up and go, you should get your battery tested.
  • Dashboard warnings.  When it comes to getting a warning light on your dashboard, take your Prius in immediately.  A dashboard light will only show up if there is a very serious problem that should be addressed quickly.

In part 2 of this series we will continue the car battery replacement discussion with what your options are once you realize your hybrid car battery needs to be fixed or replaced.  Stay tuned!

 

Lead photo Copyright: nitinut380 / 123RF Stock Photo

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