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We bought a 2002 Prius a couple of weeks ago, and accidentally left the headlights on overnight a few days ago. Now the car is needing a jump pretty much every day, even after driving it for over 20-30 minutes at a time, which on a normal car would recharge it enough to not need to jump the battery again after shutting the car off. So I have 3 questions:

1. Is there something we should be doing differently, or something we are doing wrong?
2. Is there some sort of portable battery we can keep in the triunk that we can use as the battery source for a jump?
3. Is there a way to make the car beep then you take the keys out and have the headlights on, like every other car does?

TIA!
 

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battery...

Sounds like a typical lead-acid battery issue: once a lead-acid battery is completely drained it rarely retains a 'good' charge. Even a 2-year-old battery will not recover from such an instance. I'd get out and buy a decent 12v gel-cell battery (Optima). I've own 2 for the past 11 years and NEVER once replaced them (sold the cars, kept the Optima for new car, etc.) Pretty expensive, but VERY worth the reliability and 11 years of service! Basically a new battery of any type/brand sounds like is in order. Happy Prius driving!
 

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Left Headlights On

Just curious; how did you leave the headlights on? I have a 2002 and the headlights go off when you open the driver's door. I would like to avoid this, too, if there is some unusual case where headlights can be left on accidentally.

Also, I have a large boat with deep cycle marine batteries. A couple of times, I have unintentionally let the batteries drain to zero in storage. They will sometimes recover if you leave them on a charger for several days (but be sure to check the water level when recharging; they will boil off and run dry). Overnight charging or driving may not be enough if the battery is completely dead.

Also, a good portable jump battery is available at Costco, Sears and other places for around $50, or a little more. Some models also have a portable air pump built-in.

Check these items:

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.as ... pnav=&cat=

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.as ... pnav=&cat=
 

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Re: battery...

finman said:
I'd get out and buy a decent 12v gel-cell battery (Optima).
I'd be curious as to "how expensive"; don't expect to be replacing ours anytime soon, but it would be good to know what to plan for. :)
 

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It has been reported elsewhere that if you allow the 12-v. battery to drain dead, you may have to replace it. It's a small battery, though, so should not be expensive.

I don't know if the Classic is the same, but on the '04 if you open the door after shutting off the power the headlights go off, but if you open the door before shutting off the power, the headlights do not go off.
 

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Daniel said:
I don't know if the Classic is the same, but on the '04 if you open the door after shutting off the power the headlights go off, but if you open the door before shutting off the power, the headlights do not go off.
Hmmm... thanks for mentioning that; I'll check my wife's 2003 when she gets home. She has a tendency to shut off car, take foot off brake, etc. AFTER she's opened the door (for whatever reason).
 

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you're due for a new 12v battery. your current one will apparently will not hold a charge anymore after being drained, and left like that for a while.

Assuming that you have a US Prius, the headlights have auto-off, only if you: turn the lights on, turn the car off, then open the DRIVER's door. (If you exit via the passenger's door, the lights do not go out. If you turn the lights on AFTER you turn the car off, the lights do not go out.) I know that UK classic Prius do not have auto-off headlights, just a buzzer to tell you the lights are on...)

You do not have to drive the Prius anywhere to recharge the 12v accessory battery. There is no traditional alternator in the Prius. The 12v accessory battery charges off of the HV traction battery whenever the car is in the READY state. (However, you might as well drive the Prius rather than have it idle in your driveway charging for better MPG and perhaps for local idling laws...)

Here are some suggestions for replacement 12v batteries for the classic Prius:
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/toy ... 072738257/
 

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[A newbie (typical of the result of experiencing a seemingly "strange" problem ).... Nonetheless, Welcome.]

Irrespective of whether specific harm to the battery is caused by an unusual drain of the battery by any manner, the original batteries in the classic prius 01-03 are notoriously bad. The seem to falter just after a year of usage. (note that the warranty on the battery is not a toyota warranty. Check the actual age of the battery for a manufacturer warranty.

Getting a different and better battery may not necessarily be as simple a matter as going to Kmart or Sears. To apparenty FIXIT, toyota has designed a replacement mounting system for the classic prius to house a larger replacement battery. You would likely need to get that kit to allow a larger/different and better battery to be properly secured in the vehicle.
 

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Simple testing of the charging system is in order here first.
First test :arrow: Press the on Start button, and then turn on the headlights. The headlights should be bright. Next press the start button, to turn off the engine, but leave the headlights on. When the car powers down you see the headlights dim down about 5 to 25% in intensity. This is normal. This proves that the power converter, that charges the 12 volt battery is working. Now if the headlights do not dim at all could point to a faulty charging system. If the headlights instantly dim down may point to a bad battery connection, or shorted battery cell. If you leave the head lights on for a while, like 5 minutes or less. Then they start to dim down would indicate that the battery has no charge depth (The battery can not store much energy).

Second test :arrow: Would be to check the actual voltage on the battery terminals with a volt meter. A typicale battery will have about 13 volts on it. When charging this voltage may climb upto about 14 volts. So when a load is place on the battery it may drop to about 12 volts.

When replacing the battery look for one that has a large Amp Hour number. The aH (Amp hour) is storage capacity of the battery. This is not to be confused with cold cranking amps.

:idea: A battery that has a rating of 75 ah has more storage capacity then a battery that is rated at 50 ah.
 

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optima...

I haven't shopped an Optima or any other gel-cell battery in awhile (like 11 years, they really are long-lasting), but I think I've seen them for $130-160. Not sure of the Prius 12 v battery (either classic or '04) if there is an Optima replacement. The Prius '04 12 V battery is smaller than a conventional car battery. Drive fun, drive clean, drive Prius!
 

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Optima Battery

I think I saw Optima batteries at Costco for $99, or maybe a little more; but they are really overkill for a 12v replacement for the Prius. I looked at a recent Boat & RV show, and I don't Optima makes any small batteries for light-load applications.

Batteries Plus has a big selection and might be a good place to research alternatives. I have had good luck finding batteries for about everything there, though they are usually not the cheapest source.
 

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Re: carefull must put same battery

george beberian said:
can blow up car battery in trunk be carefull post or smaller and like the blimp the smell of the after market battery can blow up
HUH???? Translation to English please :?
 

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The battery in the 2004 Prius looks like it is made by GS Battery.

I looked around on their Web site and it seems the battery is a #NS40Z.
Be carefull because their are four versions of the battery with small and large battery post, and the polarity of the battery post swapped. And only one is the right one.

http://www.gsbattery.com
 

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FIXIT said:
the original batteries in the classic prius 01-03 are notoriously bad. The seem to falter just after a year of usage.
Hmmm... maybe we're lucky then; we're at 19 months on my wife's 2003 with no issues. :)
 

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Prius 12v Battery

I've got 25 months on our 2002 with no problems.

By the way, the Optima battery is completely sealed (no outgassing), and it can be mounted in any position, like on its side or upside down.
 

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Some comments after reading this thread. I have researched replacement batteries for the Classic Prius with the idea in mnd to find a less expensive alternative to the dealer areplacement, considering that 12 volt storage batteries inevitably fail and a replacement OEM battery costs about $275 if you can get one. Many dealers are upgrading with a heftier battery which requires replacing the original battery holder with a large one. This job costs over $300. Too much in my opinion.

Several issues narrow the search. First, unlike the 20th century days of the VW Beetle, batteries inside the car (like in the Prius and Mazda Miata for instance) now seem to require two safety features. First, the battery needs to have dry electrolyte. Most conventional 12 volt batteries contain liquid sulfuric acid which is not deemed a good idea inside the car. Second, the battery needs to be vented to outside the car, as overcharging produces explosive hydrogen gas which may under certain circumstances discharge inside the car, again a 21st century safety issue.

Now there are several dry 12 volt batteries around (AGM technology). But there is another constraint. In order to fit most batteries in the small space provided by the Prius requires "major surgery". For folks who don't want to hack up their Prius trunk this limits options.

And finally, Toyota has seen fit to use diminutive battery posts with the original Prius battery. Hence all batteries I looked at would not fit the Prius as they used standard size battery posts.

What to do? Anyone interested in a do-it-yourself battery change costing about $100 may be interested in my site:
http://home.comcast.net/~dldorrance/battery.html

Dave '01 Prius
 

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Some comments after reading this thread. I have researched replacement batteries for the Classic Prius with the idea in mnd to find a less expensive alternative to the dealer areplacement, considering that 12 volt storage batteries inevitably fail and a replacement OEM battery costs about $275 if you can get one. Many dealers are upgrading with a heftier battery which requires replacing the original battery holder with a large one. This job costs over $300. Too much in my opinion.

Dave '01 Prius
I wish I'd known that last week. We came home after a week's vacation and found our '02 Prius battery quite dead. No response at all to turning the key, not even a flicker of a light on the dash. We had the dealer come with a tow. He told my husband to drive it around for half an hour, but since the dash indicated there was no gas in it, my husband wasn't willing to try that. He was worried it wouldn't start again if he managed to get it to the gas station 1/2 mile away. He didn't know I'd filled it the day before our vacation. There was so little charge it wasn't even registering there was plenty of gas.

Anyway, he had them tow it to the dealer to check it out. They told us we needed a new battery and a new "battery kit" - total $400, plus the tow. We went ahead and did it, because we didn't know we had a choice.

We have 42,000 miles on it. We replaced the front brakes and catalytic converter a few months ago ($500). Mileage hasn't been the same since, low 40s mostly. But, we're experiencing winter (Massachusetts), and our commute has more highway and less stop/go. Still, we're wondering if it's time to upgrade to a 2005.
 
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