Toyota hybrid including Prius will not start! Toyota hybrid starting problems! What to do!
Are lights dim or are there strange messages like "P LOCK MALFUNCTION WHEN PARKING, PARK IN FLAT PLACE AND APPLY PARKING BRAKE SECURELY"? Do the windows roll up and down more slowly than usual?
YES - The car can be jumped.
For a 2004 and later Prius and many other Toyota and Lexus Hybrids this is easy! (For the Camry hybrid there is just a nut with no metal strip to put an alligator clip on. However, accessing the 12 volt battery in the rear trunk is easy.)
- Open hood to engine compartment.
- Find main electrical panel. (Small picture above is a Prius 2004, large picture is a Lexus hybrid)
- Open pushing in latch at bottom and swing out.
- Look at top of panel and locate red plastic cover, unlatch and swing to side
- Attach + (normally red) of jump cable to exposed copper.
- Attach - to frame of the car. There is a large bolt in the back left of the engine compartment. Any unpainted metal that connects to the car body will do.
- If jumping from another car its engine should not be running. (A hybrid does not draw a lot of amps because the high voltage battery cranks engine and alternator probably puts out more voltage than hybrid system normally uses.)
For the 2001 to 2003 Prius:
- Open back trunk.
- Pop the plastic rivets that hold down the cover on the left side of the trunk.
- rivets have a center rod? Yes - Then push in center rod with a small screw driver and the rod should pop up or further in. Then the rivet will be easy to remove.
- No center rod? - Yes use two flat screw drivers or a hammer claw to remove plastic rivets.
- Remove red cover over positive connector. (There on the push in tabs on the side and one on the top.)
- Attach positive to the exposed metal and the negative to any exposed metal attached to the frame of the car.
- If jumping from another car its engine should not be running. (Hybrid does not draw a lot of amps because the high voltage battery cranks engine and alternator probably puts out more voltage than hybrid system normally uses.)
If there was no unusual drain on the battery (like a light being left on or car left park for weeks) it is time to replace the battery. If in doubt about the health of your battery charge it with a charger designed for sealed lead acid(SLA) batteries. You can restore capacity to a battery just by charging it. Computer controlled chargers will do a better job than the car and some even go into a desulfate mode but the battery has to be disconnected from the car.
If your battery will not take a charge is is bad.
We recommend the Optima battery because they last about twice as long as the orriginal battery. With an Optima leaving the lights on a few times will not destroy the battery. Your Prius is a great car with great gas mileage! it will probably be on the road for a long time! The Prius deserves a long lasting battery! If you are in the 48 states we can usually get you a a battery in 2 to 3 days and California NV, and AZ 1 business day.
- For a 2001 to 2003 Prius click here.
- For a 2004-2009 and 2010+ Prius, Prius V and Lexus Hybrid CT200h click here
- For: Toyota Highlander Hybrid (particularly 2011+ where battery is in the trunk), Lexus hybrid 600HL, GS450H ( + optional stabilizer suspension system battery) and RX450H. click here!
- For: Toyota Avalon Hybrid Click here!
Lights NOT dim and no strange messages like "P LOCK MALFUNCTION WHEN PARKING, PARK IN FLAT PLACE AND APPLY PARKING BRAKE SECURELY." and the engine does not start! The problem is probably not the 12 volt battery because the Prius uses the high volt battery to start the gasoline engine.
Check engine light not on - Try plugging in the Keyless remote sensor or make sure the key has been programmed to work with the car. You can check the state of charge of the high voltage battery by looking at the Energy Monitor screen. The lighted part of the battery show the state of charge. (This would normally only be a problem if the car has been parked for at least two months or if you have tried to repeatedly start the engine.) You can also check the voltage of the 12 volt battery go here https://www.elearnaid.com/prhadonotstr.html
Check engine light is on - use an ODB II reader to get the error code. They are easy to use and the cheapest ones (about $25 bucks) will give you the basic error codes and take you a long way from total mystery! You just plug them in to the large D shaped electrical connector at the bottom of the dash near where the drivers left knee normally is. The more expensive readers give you the code and the explanation. If you do not get the explanation search for the explanation on the internet. Find a page that give you a list of things to check for that error code. It might be something easy to fix like: replacing the engine air filter, cleaning the air sensor on the throttle body or replacing the spark plugs. If it is easy you will save yourself time and money by fixing it yourself. (It takes time to drop off and pick up a car!)