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Discussion Starter #1
I got stuck on ice this morning pointing down a driveway in my '02 Prius with 107,000 miles. Have never had any problem with car before. I was trying to back out and the wheels spun for a while. I pulled forward and then back a few times with no luck. Then the turtle came on, but only when I had the car in reverse. Once this happened reverse was gone, no tire rotation what-so-ever in reverse. Of course I paniced - was the car dead?

I pulled down the driveway and managed to turn the car around by pulling foward and then getting out and pushing it by hand to back it around. Drove home a few miles. When I got in my driveway I put it in reverse, no more turtle and it worked fine in reverse. So, what happened and what do I need to fix or do to prevent this from happening again?
 

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Not sure about later models, but your 2002 only uses only the electric motor for reverse (i.e., the ICE does not drive the wheels in reverse). If you backed up farther than normal, you probably depleted the charge in the high-voltage, hybrid battery. The "turtle" usually indicates that the hybrid battery is low, so driving in DRIVE for a little bit allowed the hybrid battery to charge back up. No damage done. However, knowing this, in the future, you may wish to limit the amount of driving or wheel spinning you do in reverse.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. That seems surprising as I was not spinning them that long, maybe a total of a minute or so. The battery always holds in the 50% to 75% range, although does go to 100% after prolonged downhill braking. I just paniced though, and did not look at what the state of charge was when this happened.
 

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I concur with Phoenix's assessment; this has happened to me, too. If you have to spin your tires to get unstuck, it's best to spin in "D", not "R". However, if you have no choice, and your battery gets low (you can hear that the tires just aren't spinning as fast as they were a minute ago), you can force it to charge like this:

1. foot on the brake
2. shifter in "D"
3. other foot on the gas pedal about halfway down

You'll hear the engine revving, and if you watch the battery icon, you'll see it slowly fill up again. After doing this for a minute or two, you can start spinning your tires again, and you'll hear them spinning much faster.

Douglas (2002 Silver, Wisconsin)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It wasn't a case of them spinning slowly, it was that they were not turning at all - that was the scarey part.
 
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