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Can I Bring A Dead Toyota Prius Back To Life?

I recently got an email from a Prius owner who has a hidden gem sitting in the garage. The downside? It has been sitting for 3 years. Here is my plan to bring this Prius back from the dead and get it road-worthy.

When it comes to bringing a hybrid back from the dead. I am all over that like worms in a casket. Ok, that was a little much, but I hope you get what I mean.

I was recently approached by someone storing a Toyota Prius in the garage for the past 3 years. The offer to buy it is not a question at all; I am in. I love finding damaged cars and getting them running again.

A Prius sitting for that long will have challenges, though, so what is it going to take to get it up and running again? Here is my plan of action so far.

Battery Status: Check And Repair
I can guarantee the 12v battery is toast, and the reason it was parked was due to a failed hybrid battery. Going over there to get it out of the garage is going to take at least a 12v.

Toyota True Start Prius Battery

I do not think a 12v will be sufficient, though. The Prius is in Portland, and I will stop at my favorite hybrid battery shop to get a working battery.

Once I have the power for the Prius, that will allow me to get it into neutral and onto the trailer. Then we can set off for home.

Fuel Status And Engine Status: Check And Repair
Any vehicle that has been setting for 3 years needs to have the fuel drained, and the engine manually turned over by hand.

My thoughts are to pull all the spark plugs out and dump some SeaFoam into the cylinders. Then, I want to try and get the rings free, so when the engine starts for the first time in years, we will minimize damage.

2008 Toyota Prius Engine bay

I will also have to purge the fuel tank. I am sure that stale fuel is gross and hopefully has not killed the pump. Otherwise, it is on to the junkyard to find a good working tank.

Once we have some fresh fuel and an engine that can be cranked over by hand, I will check the oil level and pray that the ol' gal goes into "Ready."

First Drive: 3 Years Is A Long Time To Wait
After sitting for that long, I am sure the tires have flat spots. I hope the electric water pump is still in working condition. My bets are it is going to run rough and sound awful. 3 years is a long time to let engine oil drip off the internal components.

I want to take it easy starting out. Short drives around the shop will be vital in ensuring we do not get too far away in case of a crisis. Always be prepared for anything; you never know what lurks in the shadows with something like this.

I will undoubtedly be checking everything over as I get ready to start this car up for the first time. My main concern after getting it running is the quality of fluids. That oil is old and will need to be replaced for sure, but I want to make sure that the car is going to run.

I am nervous about the old fuel in the tank; I hope to hotwire the pump and get it all dumped out. That old varnish is all over in the engine, too, so cranking it first by hand will be crucial to getting this Prius living again. Varnish buildup can result in bent valves if severe enough, and that is the last thing I want to deal with.

I will be making a YouTube Video of this process, so be sure to follow me on The Hybrid Guy channel to see how it turns out.

Thank you all for reading, and remember Today's Adventure is Tomorrow's Story. Hybrids keep proving their worth, see why here.

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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.