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Prius hybird failure

Help! Fast! I had my 2005 Prius towed in to the dealer yesterday because the hybrid system failed. When the problem occurred the big exclamation point warning and “vcs” (as best I recall) came up on the dash, and a red battery sign came up on the screen display. Also, the vent next to the back seat started blowing air (to cool the battery, I was told). The dealer said BOTH the battery and the computer need to be replaced - that the computer made the battery fail. Does this make sense? The quote on the job is $4200 although the dealer is working on a better price for the parts and I called the Toyota customer service center to see what they can do for me. I need to let the dealer know if I want to go ahead with the job, so any fast answers are appreciated!!. The car has 107k miles and is otherwise in great shape - no other problems. All scheduled services and garaged.
Thanks for your help. LOVE the show!

Look here to find an independent shop for a second opinion/price.
There’s usually no need to bring an out-of-warranty car to the dealer.

Have you gone to Priuschat and checked out the Gen II section of the forum? I’d be willing to bet there are a lot of threads about something similar there already.

If it is your traction battery that has failed, then you have choices that do not necessarily involve the dealer. From the 5 minutes I just took to read some of the threads on the first page of the forum, it appears as though you have some options for a rebuilt pack and that the dealer will almost always suggest replacing the battery control computer but some people seem to believe that replacement is not necessary.

You can use Google to try to see if there is a hybrid battery rebuilder in your area and give them a call. My experience has been that they seem to know a bit about the cars and what various failures require.

If the computer (charge controller) overcharged the traction battery and it melted down, then yes, both the battery and the controller need to be replaced. But if just one cell in the battery shorted and vented (a battery inspection should determine that) then a replacement battery should cure the problem…The last thing you want to do is install a battery and have the faulty charge controller destroy it…I suspect there are independent shops that can open up your battery and replace any defective cells with tested used cells for much less than $4200…

You can get a good refurbished battery for as little as $800:

I would definitely get a second opinion and then maybe a third. I would also get them done at a good independent mechanic that’s familiar with hybrid vehicles. A dealer will normally be more expensive on any job so file that for future reference.

Thanks for the comments. After further investigation ( got the codes that came up when the dealer scanned the car) it does need both a new hybrid battery and a computer, But I found a company in the Kansas City area that specializes in building and installing the batteries with the computer included as part of the unit. They will send a technician to my house to do the install (I am in IL, near St. Louis). My TOTAL cost: $2,650 with a four year warranty. Verses $4,200 and a one year warranty from the dealer. Hmmm. Well, Toyota Customer Relations and the dealer are supposed to give me their final offer on Monday. They need to get smart on this one. Turns out they have some competition from a company that is filling a rapidly expanding market as more hybrid cars need new batteries. Meanwhile I’m loading up the truck and going fishing…

Fishing was delighful; catching was fine. Happy to report that the Toyota dealer and Toyota Customer Relations came through with $1700 in discounts. So the car is now running again. Guess I’ll keep driving it for another ten years!!
Thanks to all for help.

I wonder if Toyota has gotten smart and are rebuilding these batteries rather than all new.

I think I read someplace that they are dong just that…With premature battery failure, they are now opening the battery pack and just replacing the defective cell(s) instead of scrapping the entire battery…



Don’t think the dealer gave you a discount for no good reason. They hope you’ll tell all your friends, neighbors and colleagues about the good treatment you got. And maybe one of them will head to the dealer when it’s time for their new car. Or maybe you will

Good to hear you have a running Prius.

You could have been able to negotiate the battery cost to somewhere around $2000. That is for a new pack from the Dealer. Installation is extra(I would hope a battery change would be under $3000 inclusive of new battery). Since yours came out to be $2500 with a new battery from Toyota, I’m pretty sure your car is ready for another 10 years. Keep the receipt for if you sell the car.

The info below would have been some alternatives if you didnt get Toyota to lower the price.

The lowest cost for a 3rd party battery replacement is around $1000 depending on where in the country you are and warranty length.

I also recommend checking on priuschat. Most of my battery information including how to rebuild it yourself. I would elaborate on how to rebuild the battery yourself, but it would be too long here. As I also have a 2005 Prius with a battery failure, my cost for repair was closer to $500. the main reason it was cheap was that I was willing to do everything myself and only replace modules that need replacing.

Also, i think the modules are dying due to age and not mileage. My pack was 10year old with 291K miles.

If I were rebuilding a 10 year old pack I’d use all new cells.
The the “good” cells are likely near failure at that age.