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Second generation Prius are going the way of their predecessors: getting older. And with age comes hybrid battery failure.
When an HV battery officially “dies” (sets trouble code P0A80) depends on both age and mileage (i.e. use), but its predictability depends on other factors still: frequency of driving, length of trips, and temperature. In short there is no way to calculate exactly, but probability trends with age and mileage.
LG’s shop experience thus far has been in the extremes: first generation, privately owned Prius (all age) and second generation taxicabs (all mileage). Any first gen Prius (2001-2003) is prone to a battery failure at this point (they’re all over 10 years old) and second gen Prius taxis over 200,000 miles are equal candidates. But taxis’ ability to prolong battery life depends on cooling system operation; in turn we clean HV battery fans on taxis all the time and include fan checkups for private vehicles in our 60k/120k mile service.
As for privately-owned gen 2s with P0A80, we’ve seen a couple 2004/2005s just out of warranty (151k) and this week, currently awaiting repair, a 2005 with 260k. (Stay tuned for quantitative analysis into the future.)
What should you do when the battery eventually fails?
The more Gen 2 battery failures occur outside of warranty, the louder online discussion becomes. The car is far more popular (and mainstream) than its freshman predecessor, and its perceived immunity to problems is correspondingly high (witness the cacophony regarding HID bulbs).
And just like HIDs, the frenzy is driven by price: if brand new packs were $100, everyone would just buy one. But they are currently $2588. It’s no surprise folks are trying to figure out a cheaper way.
Originally we rebuilt Gen 1 battery packs for the same reason. After three years, the era of successful rebuilds has come to an end, and not without significant effort to prove otherwise. For more on the annals of HV battery rebuilds, read the previous blog:
Note that these are rebuilds using Gen 2 modules. In other words, the supply chain and success level directly correlate to second generation Prius looking to rebuild, using the same parts.
As the hope for Gen 2 battery rebuilds grows, consider the following:
1. Gen 2 modules are all getting older
2. The ability to match modules is complex, and often imprecise
3. The extra labor to rebuild a pack could instead go towards an entire replacement without issues
Thus Luscious Garage strongly recommends replacing faulty HV packs with:
1. used packs (already matched and assembled at the factory), freshly salvaged and of lesser age, OR
2. brand new packs from Toyota
Once used packs are no longer reliable, we will only recommend factory replacements, just as we do now with Gen 1 Prius.
Already there are manuals available to purchase and download describing how to rebuild Prius (and other Toyota-based hybrid) battery packs. Smart, creative folks tend to drive these cars, so it’s no surprise they are proactive about alternatives.
If you’re repairing your high voltage battery in your garage, out of curiosity, fun, or financial pressure, then this blog does not pertain to you.
If you’re a customer looking to a professional repair shop, we do not recommend battery rebuilds for second generation Prius, given the known issues. When you pay us for advice, it must hold for the long term as a reliable repair. And financially speaking, the long term cost of rebuilding multiple times is higher than an entire replacement.
Batteries are wear items; they will all wear out eventually, just like brakes and tires. And the repair is no more remarkable than that of brakes or tires: just replace. Individuals will have success with rebuilds, and they will tell their story. But the community of hybrid owners (that is, the probability of success) is greatly favored by entire pack replacements.
For prices on Gen 2 Prius battery replacement, see:
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