Extended vacation car storage

toyota

#1

We are leaving for a 6 month “excursion” soon(retirement;yeah!). I will be leaving my 2008 Camry and 2009 Prius in the garage. What do I need to do, if anything to prepare them for that time period? Gas-full/empty?, oil-change or wait? Tires-will they be damaged? battery-disconnect? Stuff I haven’t thought of, besides locking the garage door?


#2

I’d fill up the tank with non-ethanol gas treated with Stabil. I’d make sure the tires are very full of air, then I’d hook up my battery maintainers (low voltage chargers that only charge when necessary.) Have oil changed just before storage and any other maintenance that’s due. DIsconnect the battery if you want to.


#3

Carefully read your Pruis’ owners manual, hybrids don’t like long periods of storage.


#4

For a conventional car, I don’t think 6 month storage is a big deal. When I was in the Navy, a lot of people would drive their cars tot he long term storage lot on base and go on a cruise for 6 months or more, and on return, go to the lot, start up their car and head out, sometimes cross country for a well earned leave.

The biggest problem was the high rate of accidents within the first 48 hours after return to the states because people simply forget how to drive. One guy in the shop, who had a very high degree of common sense, hit a sign within a couple hours of returning. Someone asked him if he just didn’t see the sign and he responded “I saw it, I just forgot that I was the one driving”.


#5

Good point on the Prius. That $7,000 battery will degrade by sitting unused for 6 months.


#6

I don’t think 6 months will bother either car…An oil change is a good idea, pump the tires up to maximum pressure and fill the gas tanks but don’t over-fill them…And yes, I would get some expert advise regarding the high-voltage Prius battery…


#7

My hybrid has a warning for non-use for more than a month or two. 6 months is looong.


#8

The '07 Camry Hybrid manual states that:
"If the vehicle is to be parked for a long time, the hybrid battery will discharge gradually. To keep the hybrid battery in good condition, drive the vehicle at least once every several months . . . If the hybrid battery becomes fully discharged and the vehicle will not start even with a jump start to the 12 volt battery, contact your Toyota dealership."
Granted, the paragraph uses the nebulous words “several months”. Several, well that could be ANYTHING more that two! (Just to cover Toyota’s back-side.)

Everything is written in the Prius’ User’s Manual about long term storage - read it - it says everything you and your friend need to know.
If you don’t own a Prius 2010 or cannot find a 2010 manual, ask a dealer about it.

Above information is from a factory sponsored Prius forum…


#9

In the training I’ve had for Prius service (aftermarket, not Toyota training), the current thinking is that after 2 months of non-use the battery pack starts to degrade, and may have an adverse effect on the long-term life. Do you have a trusted friend or family member who might enjoy driving a Prius once a week for a few months?


#10

I don’t know about the newest Prius, but Toyota has stuck to the NiMH type battery for its drive battery, and they don’t store well once they have received their initial charge. Toyota has also not provided any type of provision to charge that battery externally. Toyota has avoided the L-ion batteries as they don’t take as many charge cycles as the NiMH, but they do store quite well even after their initial charge.

When I was in the Navy, the backup batteries used for aircraft INS systems was NiCad. They were not charged in by the aircraft so they had to be removed and conditioned every 90 days or when ever a pilot forgot to turn off the INS after shutting down the engines. Based on that, I would guess that 90 days would be absolute tops. NiCad and NiMH are very similar technologies.


#11

NiCads prefer to be stored dead…But most other types will not tolerate being stored dead…

Another factor, how big a parasitic load does the Prius put on the stored battery? Does one dare to disconnect it?


#12

I wouldn’t dare disconnect it, HIGH voltage, dangerous.


#13

No voltage on the ground cable…But you are right, this is not a DIY project. The OP has already left on vacation…


#14

The colder the weather, the better either battery will store and the better your gas will store as well. Use marine grade Stabilizer for ethanol. I would talk to a Toyota dealer about the Prius storage, disconnect the negative on the Camry, pump up the tires and worry more about mice and rodents. If the garage can be kept closed, place some Decon and some ant traps about.