We have a 2007 Camry Hybrid with an infuriating habit. It has a little auxiliary battery in the trunk which runs down if the car is not driven for a week, or sometimes less than that. This battery isn't needed to crank the engine as in the usual straight-IC car, but it is needed to power the control computer, so without that, the car's dead. We have taken it back to the dealer who seems unable to find anything wrong, and professes to be unaware of others with a problem like this. This time, ours died after two days in our driveway, so I started searching the web, and found this is not uncommon. There are reports of the problem striking people on the freeway, causing their hybrids to simply stop working in a dangerous situation. It seems that there is a constant drain on that battery to keep functions like the remote key and the security system and god-knows-what-else alive, But that applies to a lot of cars. Is this one a glitch-ridden lemon, or did the era of the vaunted Toyota reliability end a few years ago? How do I get reliable information on the frequency of this problem occurring? (It strikes Priuses and Highlander Hybrids, too.) How do I complain to the NHTSA and get a response? Any suggestions, other than putting big signs in the windows asking for other Toyota victims (er, I mean "owners") with the problem to contact me? And is this a problem peculiar to Toyota, or does it happen to other brands' hybrids, too?
Incidentally, one Prius owner says he was told there is some fine print somewhere specifying a minimum usage that the car has to get every couple of weeks, or the guarantee is voided, which seems a pretty bizarre notion. The dealer has never said anything to us about this.
Help! We are getting too old for this!