Jump Starting a Prius Can Be Very Challenging

I was parked at a restaurant, and was ready to drive home.  Press the brake pad, hit the Power button, and all displays light up on the console (it’s not supposed to do that), and the car won’t start.  I thought maybe I had a door ajar, draining the battery.  I checked all of that, and nope … so try a bunch of things, for a good 45 minutes, and nothing.

Bring out the owner’s manual … jump starting the Prius.  Well, this was interesting.  First, where is the battery (aside from the big one in the trunk that you cannot access).  There is a battery terminal, nestled inside the fuse box.  Well that’s good, but they position it in the hood where it’s hard to pry it open.  Finally get it open, and the battery terminal is recessed, in such a way, that it is challenging to get the alligator clips on the jumper cable to clamp onto the bolt.

After jimmying it for about 15 minutes, we finally get it jumped.  Radio turns on, so woohoo.  Oh, but wait … the engine still doesn’t turn.  We go through the same thing one more time, and still, nothing.  We got to the point where we may need to call the tow company in the morning.  We removed the jumper cables, and get ready for the ride.  I try one more desperation attempt, hear the radio, then go in reverse, and the engine turns.  Yes … don’t anyone make any sudden moves!!!!  Well, that was nerve racking!  With a hybrid, you’re not sure if the engine should turn on right away, because it is a hybrid.

Then, yet another message … I get a warning saying that my “P” lock mechanism is not in place, but yet I am able to move.  Screw it … I’m 3 miles from home, I can drive it, so I’m just going to drive with that big warning message.  I made it home, and that’s all that counts.

I shut my engine off, then start it again.  The engine starts, no warning message about the “P” lock mechanism … The computer was probably all confused from the original problem.

Hybrid’s and troubleshooting it, from a consumer perspective, is really different, and can be very stressful.  Now let’s monitor this for a few days.  Wow.

2 thoughts on “Jump Starting a Prius Can Be Very Challenging

  1. Rachel M

    When I first saw your post title I thought you had jumped over a Prius on your bicycle 🙂

    We’re members of a car club here and there are a quite a few electric cars. The first time we booked one of the electric cars it took us about 15 minutes to figure out how to start it 🙂

    1. sevencyclist Post author

      Ha ha … I guess I should have Titled it “Jump Starting …” I whipped that out really quickly, a little past midnight, so my sleepiness probably got introduced there 🙂


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