How to repair your Prius battery.
John Goreham's picture

Don't Buy A New Toyota Prius Hybrid Battery - Have It Repaired Instead

Coast to Coast, there are Toyota Prius hybrid battery repair options available to you. Here's what they can do for you.
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Toyota's Prius is known to go well past 250,000 miles without battery issues. If you own a Toyota Prius Hybrid you may find that at some point well into its natural life the battery needs a little bit of TLC. If your car is under the hybrid warranty, the place to go is your local Toyota dealer. They will correct the problem and have you back on the road quickly and at no cost to you. However, if your Prius hybrid has a battery issue and it is past its warranty, you don't want to head to the dealer. Rather, you need to more cost-effectively deal with the issue. Toyota's solution is to replace the battery at a very high cost. However, in many or most cases, the battery is repairable, and at a very affordable price. Single hundreds of dollars rather than multiple thousands of dollars.

prius battery repair station

Toyota Prius Hybrid Battery Failure
If your Prius is giving you a warning that the hybrid battery has failed, you may panic and assume the cost will be more than the value of the car, or that it may be a cost so high you cannot afford to deal with it. This is usually not the case. Also, the car is drivable in most cases. We can't comment on whether the vehicle is safe to drive long distances, or exactly how much performance will be degraded, but you can certainly get home. How do we know? We spoke to a ride-share driver with over 1 million miles logged in multiple 250K+ mile hybrids. He told us that he has driven Prius cars with failed batteries on numerous occasions.

Toyota Prius Battery Failure - What Happens
Inside a hybrid battery from Toyota, there are many individual battery cells all working along together happily. When they fail, it is typically because one or more cells are no longer able to sustain the power that they are required to. In other words, they fail. The good news is that they can be replaced. The bad news is that this is not a job that can be done by every owner. Many owners who are comfortable with electronics and basic car repair do fix the battery themselves with Prius hybrid battery cells they buy online. The cells are usually under $50 each. There are endless Youtube videos from these folks that show you what they did and how you can also repair your Prius Hybrid battery.

Prius battery repair

How Can You Get A Prius Hybrid Battery Repaired?
If you don't want to pull your own car apart and try your best to repair it yourself, we certainly understand. Many jobs are best left to those with the tools, time, and experience to handle it efficiently and quickly. Luckily, there is a growing network of shops that will do the work. We could list them out for you, but unfortunately, that list would age quickly and be inaccurate. Plus, we don't know the shops or how they are rated.

Instead, we suggest owners try the Prius Owners Group on Facebook. The group has multiple members who have had batteries repaired and there may be one in your area. Like Len Maka's shop in Orange County, California. Or Pleasant Street Auto in Norwood Mass. You can check their Google reviews and maybe ask a FB club member how they made out with the repair on their Prius Hybrid Battery. Another option is to buy a reconditioned battery. For more on that topic, please see our prior story.

If you repair Prius hybrid batteries, or if you have had good luck with a repair done by a shop near you, why not post the name in our comments section below? You may well help a fellow owner out of a jam.

Watch Make A Toyota Prius Hybrid Battery Last Past 350,000 Miles Performing Your Own Replacement and Subscribe to Torque News Youtube Channel for Auto Industry Daily News Analysis.

John Goreham tweets at @johngoreham. Please send him news tips and follow us at @TorqueNewsAuto. See you in the next story titled "Bolt, Leaf, and Tesla Owners Take Note: AAA Temporarily Suspends Emergency Battery Electric Vehicle Charging Program."

Image Notes: Prius Battery Images courtesy of John Caleb Warren's Youtube Video (see link in story) and Len Maka.


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Comments

My Prius Nickel Metal Hydride battery in my 2010 Prius failed after 130,000 miles and I looked into having it reconditioned or repaired. I found a goverment report that stated the expected life of these batteries was 160,000 miles and because I had spent a lot of extra time in my car doing business on my phone while it was running I decided the best option was to replace it with a new one. It cost $3,200.00 after getting a $1,200 core rebate. Now I can expect another 160,000 miles of normal driving instead of it failing again after replacing the one cell that failed first. I think the bandaid approach will cost more in the long run because all cells will fail soon if close to the 160,000 mile expected life of the drive battery.
I don't necessarily disagree with you. Since it helps if we both use the same numbers, I'll just use yours without verifying them. If the average lifetime is 160k miles, that is the expected lifetime until the first cell failure. Generally nimh cells last 500-100 charges. That's a large window. Considering that the Prius battery has many cells (168 total in 28 groups of 6) you're likely to get your first failed cell early in the failure window. So that 160k miles is likely the beginning of the typical failure window, placing the upper somewhere nearer 300k miles. This leads me to conclude that it makes sense to replace the first few cells. I'll probably repair 3 failed cells (replaceable in groups of 6) before replacing the pack due to the failure window. Alternately you could replace each of the individual batteries in the pack, likely for less than a full replacement pack. I'll probably replace my entire car right around 220k miles, since the car will likely be worth less than the replacement cost.
This is the most I’ll informed article I’ve ever read on this subject. Do you have any actual experience with Prius batteries? Rebuild it yourself? You have to balance the packs! For 2006-2009 Prius models you can buy a new pack that will last 10 years for about $2000. Getting a rebuilt one or rebuilding only lasts about 2 years and costs a grand. Anyone who goes to a Toyota dealership for this is crazy. The dealership is way too expensive. This is the 2nd article I’ve read here that is words that are just put together but have little bearin in reality.
Yes, we here at TN do have experience with rebuilt Prius batteries. Two of us are owners. Contributor Jesse Rudavsky is our main resource for long-term Prius issues and repairs. His Prius with over 352K miles had a first cell failure at about 258K. Jesse is not a mechanic and has performed the battery repairs himself. He is driving his Prius as I type this. We also communicated with battery repair professionals (one on each coast) who routinely repair batteries for under $400 and warranty them following the repair. Third, we spoke to a dealership specializing in used Prius cars in Mass. They regularly have batteries repaired at low cost with great results. How much more real can we make it? You can join the dialogue at the FB Prius Owners Club. The link at the end of the third paragraph has instruction on battery balancing.
I am the original owner of a 2004 Prius with over 193,000 miles. It is my daily use car. I have had ZERO problems with the main battery. Last week the car was at the dealer for repair of an unrelated problem & I asked them to test the battery as well. NO problem with it. I have had a long career in calibration of electronic test I measuring equipment. So for me, the credibility of this article was immediately suspect because of the lead photo showing a $6.00 (or free with coupon) multimeter from Harbor Freight being used. Any measurements in a commercial environment should be made with a high quality CALIBRATED meter.
Scroll down to the second image which shows a battery connected to a laptop if you prefer an image of a battery repair professional. Our story includes examples of professional and also non-pro owners repairing the batteries. I worked for Honeywell's Vulcain instrumentation division as well as Thermo-Fisher Scientific for a decade. The funny thing about those cheap meters is that they produce the same readings as the pricey ones (in my experience). But feel free to pay more to read 7 volts if you like.