If you have not seen gas prices lately, let me tell you, they are out of control. Losing a hybrid battery on your Prius can have severe repercussions on your wallet.
I met with an electronics specialist over the weekend and learned a few things about our hybrid batteries. I want to share what I learned and what you can do to help keep your battery in tip-top shape.
What Hurts Hybrid Batteries?
If you have never looked into your hybrid battery, you are in for a treat. It is an intricate web of nuts, bolts, wires, and terminals.
With NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride), the terminals leak at the connections and cause corrosion, or as I like to call it, electron barriers.
Corrosion is a natural way of causing problems for us in multiple ways. With hybrid batteries, it will act as a resistor and inhibit the flow of electrons. If the corrosion is significant enough, it can set trouble codes and cause premature wear on a NiMH battery.
Now that you know what corrosion can do, what do you do to keep it from happening?
The First Way To Help Your Battery
One thing you can do is dump your old NiMH battery in favor of the new lithium version that does not leak. If you would like to know more about that, find me on Twitter or Facebook, and we can chat.
If you are still using the tried and true NiMH battery, then chances are you will need these tips. After working with my electronics expert over the weekend, I learned a thing or two about how corrosion travels.
On the bus bars, it will extend to where the copper goes. In some cases (I.E., high humidity or rainy areas), you may see increased corrosion on the bus bars and also through the main disconnect cable.
Humidity in the air helps with electrolysis and can grow corrosion rapidly if not properly watched. Once your battery module starts leaking, the electrolyte process is nearly impossible to stop without replacing the old leaking modules with new good ones.
Periodically taking the battery apart and cleaning all the bus bars will ensure your modules can flow electrons better and keep your battery in peak operation longer. It will eventually die though without periodic maintenance such as reconditioning.
If your battery has leaked a lot of electrolyte, it is probably time for battery repair before it is too late and you get trouble codes. Taking the battery partially apart is a solid weekend job, but well worth it to keep the fuel station stops at a minimum.
The Second Way To Help Your Battery
My friend helped me understand how corrosion can work its way up through the copper service plug circuit and cause unwanted resistance.
The fix for this is quite simple. Clean off the corrosion and flow a fair amount of solder into the terminal ends. The new solder will help reduce unwanted resistance caused by corrosion and help your hybrid battery perform better.
Bus bar and cable cleaning should be regular maintenance, but due to the complexity of the batter and the risk of shock, not many do it.
If you like to tinker and have the time, I highly recommend giving your battery a "tune-up" to keep it in optimal working condition.
That is all for today. Remember Today's Adventure is Tomorrow's Story. Have a great week. What is Toyota doing with ev? click here to find out.
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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 reporter.