When it comes to owning a Prius, many of us (me included) sometimes forget we have "other maintenance" to do on our cars. One of those things is cleaning out the hybrid battery fan.
In this article, I want to give you a quick run-through of why cleaning is essential and describe to you the process of how to do it.
The Reason Cleaning The Fan Is Important
Nickel Metal Hydride is a great battery, but it does have weaknesses. It is only about 70% efficient compared to Lithium. That means the battery as it is being used runs hot and needs cooling to have any life use.
The way Toyota has been cooling their battery systems is with air ducting and a fan. While this method is suitable when the vehicle is new, as it ages, some problems can occur when the fan is dirty.
Dirt, pet hair, and other goodies can get stashed away in the fan blades over time. The more junk that piles up, the lower the airflow to the battery. When the fan cannot be cool the battery adequately, the NiMH modules start to show their age.
Insufficient cooling can kill off a battery early, and cleaning the fan is part of proper care.
How To Clean The Battery
Cleaning the fan is more accessible than most think. You will need to remove some panels to gain access to a Gen 2 Prius. You will remove the trim from the latch area. Start on one side and pull straight up; it will come out.
Next, take out the cargo bin and 12v battery cover. After that, remove the side panel trim to expose the fan. It is right being the panel and very accessible from there.
Take the fan out, and clean the fins on the fan; once you finish, put everything back in reverse order.
I will do a YouTube video on this for people who need the visual. Please allow time for that, and if you need help in the meantime, find me on social media.
Cleaning the battery fan is very important and pretty simple. If you are somewhat handy and want to save a bunch of money, you can certainly do it yourself.
You will need a Phillips screwdriver number 2, a 10mm deep socket ratchet, something to clean the fan with, and about 45 min to an hour for the process.
Just remember, a cool battery is a happy battery. Thank you all for reading, and I look forward to seeing you in the following article.
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.