Category Archives: car problem

Prius Dead? Is this it?

Yes, I bike a lot … even in the rain, I prefer to ride my bike to work, do errands, etc … So it came as a surprise to me, when I did decide to drive my Prius, it just wouldn’t start.  It was completely dead.  Not only did my keyless remote not work, but power locks, dash display, clock, everything … no power, nothing.

Uh oh … WTF do I do now?  I couldn’t even put this in neutral.  The trunk … the door doesn’t even have a keyhole to manually unlock it.  Damn!

Actually, it’s been like this for a couple of weeks, but I never really did anything about it.  I mean, why should I … I bike everywhere anyways, and I really don’t miss it.  Well, since I do have to make a trip down to LA, I figure I need to get this taken care of.

I make several calls (not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 calls), just trying to ask a simple question … is my Prius dead, with no possibility of resuscitation?  Every time, they forward me to a service manager, only to get voicemail.  So I decide to not ask a question, just tell them my car is dead, and need to have it looked at.  So the person who answered says they can have a tow truck come by, tow it to the dealer.  I thought, great … appointment at 2 pm.

So the next day, I take off early, to await the tow.  2:15 pm comes by, and nothing.  So I call the dealer again … they forward me to a service manager, and voicemail again.  Damn it … one more call, and the guy says, we don’t do that.  We give you a number, you call them, and you arrange for the tow.  Well, it would have been nice if someone had told me that in the first place.

I could have raised my voice, really ranted on the phone, but being in customer service, I couldn’t find myself doing that.  I feel for them, so I didn’t make as much of a big deal as most people would.

Well the good thing is, I finally got it towed, they diagnosed the problem as a dead auxiliary battery, but the rest of the car is in good shape.  Whew .. so replace the battery, and all should be good.  What is the auxiliary battery?  It’s like a normal car battery, located in the trunk, by the spare tire.  Well damn, that’s all?  The hybrid battery is still good.

I guess I should drive the car a little more … maybe I’ll just drive it to move parking spots, but it’s good to know I won’t have to go car shopping … at least not yet.  I’d rather do bike shopping.

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.

Can’t Turn My Prius On!

Well, this was an unpleasant surprise.  I was trying to put something in the trunk of my Prius, but it wouldn’t open.  Then, I heard a bunch of beeping … weird.  I was able to open my driver side door with the keyless remote, but it wouldn’t unlock the other doors, or the trunk.  Then, I try starting the car, but the dashboard would flicker a whole bunch of warning symbols, that it normally doesn’t.  WTF!!!!

I press start a few times, and still nothing … eventually I got it to turn on.  Since it’s a hybrid, the engine doesn’t start up when you turn it on.  Eventually, I was able to get it to turn on.  Once I’m able to get it to turn on, then everything is ok.  It’s not an engine starting problem, but the car turning on.

A few google searches later, it looks like some auxiliary battery was drained … strange though after a few attempts, I was able to get it going.  It’s possible that one of my doors wasn’t not completely closed, and it may have drained some power.

Well, that was scary.  We’ll see how it goes in the morning, as I have a drive to LA to do.  I guess if I still have that problem, I may have to postpone my trip.  I’ll sure be crossing my fingers on my sleep tonight.

Update; No problems turning on the Prius in the morning. I must have had a door not completely closed or something like that.