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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday AM, I went out to my car to retrieve the CD's from the changer. (Loading up the iPod)

A few hours later, when I got in the car to go to the store for last-minute Thanksgiving fixins', all the warning lights came on, and it wouldn't start.

I assume I left the car on in ACC mode after I unloaded the changer (even though I SWEAR I turned it off, but nevermind...).

I'm going to try to jump start it (directions are in the manual, I hope), but is the battery now more or less toast, or will it charge back up OK?
Also, when I get it going again (assuming the battery is the problem (Lord, let that just be the problem...)), will I have to leave it running or drive around for a good while in order to charge it back up enough, or will a few minutes be sufficient?

Lastly, if I do need a new battery, where have people been buying them?

Thanks, and I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. I'm now thinking fondly of leftovers. To the fridge!
 

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Jump start procedure is in the "in case of emergency" section of the owner's manual.

Since the 12v battery is an odd type, typically you'd need to go to your Toyota dealer. If you have a Classic Prius, you'll probably want the upgraded one with fit kit. There are some other solutions out there (Miata battery, for example).

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/toy ... 072738257/

In a traditional car, you'd have to drive around for a while after a jumpstart to get your 12v recharged, because the alternator is run off of the gasoline engine. In a Prius, which doesn't have an alternator, you just have to leave the car in READY to charge the 12v battery off of the big hybrid traction battery. (But, if your car is on, you might as well drive it somewhere...) A good 30min drive somewhere should do the trick.

As to whether your 12v is toast or not, depends on how quickly you get it jumpstarted after realizing it's run down, the temperature when it is run down, and probably the state of the moon too. ;) You may be fine, or you may have a shorter time of sitting unused before it goes dead on its own... So you might want to prepare ahead, by asking Santa to get you a small portable 12v jumpstart battery to carry around with you.

(My mother's 2002 was run down by a door left open overnight (dome light on) a couple of months ago... She went to use it Thanksgiving eve, and it wouldn't start after sitting unused for a week. Last I spoke with her she was making an appointment with her dealer for a replacement battery, and would just call AAA for a jumpstart to get it there. Thankfully she has a 2nd vehicle for the time being...)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Michelle.

Wouldja believe I tried to start the car shortly after I typed my initial message, and it fired right up?!

I guess the battery just needed a little time to recover.

At any rate, all is well. (I hope...)

I'm especially grateful that it started without assistance, because I realized that it would be really hard to jump start since it was parked nose-in in my one-car garage. Jumping it would have required some really long jumper cables, or worse, a tow-out by AAA, since getting the car in Neutral would be impossible without the ability to turn it on.

I suppose I should still go to Sears or my dealer to put the battery on a tester to see if it's still healthy.
 

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you could also jumpstart your Prius by directly jumping at the 12v battery itself. Only problem is that you have to clean out your cargo area and dig your way down to the battery itself... so no need for that tow.

(Usually AAA will have a portable jumpstart battery that they could carry to your car anyways, so you wouldn't need those long jumper cables to reach the jumpstart points in the fusebox under your NHW20's hood.)

Note that the NHW11 doesn't have those jumpstart points under the hood, and you need direct access to battery in the trunk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
mrv said:
you could also jumpstart your Prius by directly jumping at the 12v battery itself.
Really? I also called my dealer's service desk for advice, and they said NOT to jump directly from the battery itself, and only to do it from the terminals under they hood. They were the ones who said I should call AAA and have them jack the car up to pull it out of the garage to get at the hood terminals. I guess neither they nor I realized AAA would probably have a portable jumpstart battery which would make the whole tow-the-car-out hassle moot.

Says something about Toyota Service that I trust the advice of some people here (you included) more than them!
 

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And I believe MRV is correct about jumping directly at the battery. Have seen several posts here about this method and it works just as well and safely as with a standard car battery as long as you are carefull. (Battery gases ect: lookout)
This situation comes up repeatably. Makes you wonder what Toyota has against a small standard normal 12V car battery installation. There is gobs of room back there and lot's of vented 12 volts and gell batteries on the market. (All of them less than half the price of the Toyota replacement. And all of them will keep the dome lights lit and the accessary switch armed for several days without going dead.)
 

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When your warning lights came on, how was the dome light? If it was bright, then your battery may have been fine. Perhaps you didn't press hard enough on the brake pedal and went into Ig-On instead of READY?
Usually pressing the brake pedal in prep to go to READY would engage the accumulator pump, which would kill whatever residual might be left in the 12V battery. It is possible though to press just hard enough to activate the brake switch, but not engage the pump.

If you have just enough juice in the battery, you can go to neutral from Ig-On.
 

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DO NOT let anyone "load test" the Prius 12 V battery. It's not a high current starter battery. Load testers put a high current load across the battery, and this could damage the Prius battery. That is, shorten its' life.

If you want to "jump start" the car and it's trapped in the garage, even a smaller gauge wire is sufficient. Only a few amps is required (to close a relay and activate electronics). Probably #14 wire would be fine even for 20'.
 

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the bigger problem with jumpstarting directly at the battery on the NHW20, is that the rear hatch's door latch is electric (so you can't open it from the outside without the car having power). There is an emergency release latch, but that is inside of the car, in the cargo area, located below the top carpeted layer... So, you'd have to use your mechanical key to open the driver's door, crawl into the back, take everything out of the cargo area via the back seat, then pull up the floor to reach the emergency manual rear hatch release... Then get out of the car, pull up more of the rear cargo area, and then find the 12v battery on the spare tire level. A lot of work! No wonder they put the jump start points under the hood. (a lot less confusion for the tow truck operator as well...)

(The NHW11's trunk was opened by the mechanical key or the pull lever under the driver's seat - didn't need power, so the 12v was mostly easy to reach in the trunk... you would just need a long thin pointy thing (like a pencil or a screwdriver) to pop out the carpet clips to take the cover off. And that red "hat" of a plastic cover over the battery terminals can just be pushed out of the way. I've jumpstarted my 2001 many times, thanks to my not driving it for over a month killing the 12v battery...)
 
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