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Toyota: advice on battery maintenance during lockdown or lack of use.


FROSTYBALLS
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Article in Fleetnews says that in the last four weeks Kwikfit has seen levels of Battery failures reach those normally experienced in January.

Extract reads:

"The impact of the lockdown has seen Battery failures over the past month increase to levels similar to the average for January over the past five years.

While this has mainly affected older vehicles, motorists with newer cars have also found their batteries struggling, says Kwik Fit.  

The number of fleet vehicles, such as company cars, requiring new batteries has risen by around 10% compared to the same period last year. This is a significant indicator of the extent of the problem as not only are fleet owned vehicles newer than the average, they are more likely to have advanced batteries, to support ‘start-stop’ technology. "

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  • 7 months later...

Top stuff Frostyballs.  This blog you recomend covers all eventualities.  My neighbour found that his still underwarrenty 68 Auris would not start after being out of use during the first lockdown.  He sent for the AA as his warrenty includes their cover.  The technician instructed him on the start up and running of the engine to charge both batteries up.  He had no idea of this facility and the Main Dealer never mentioned it to him, even though he is on his third new one !!!  He told me he cannot find a reference to this proceedure in his Toyota manual ?

Just to add that many non hybrid cars need some configuration if you change the Battery.  Especially a stop start Battery.  Some can loose your radio memories and or phone memories and settings.  You can avoid this by plugging in a small perhaps 12volt 3Amp hour Battery into your flag lighter socket.  There by feeding your auxiliaries whilst you change the Main battery.  Be very careful though it means your leads to your main battery will be live even when disconnected from the battery !

Those with rav4 mk3's just change the battery you will loose nothing !

Cheers

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  • FROSTYBALLS changed the title to Toyota: advice on battery maintenance during lockdown or lack of use.

I just charge my 12 v Battery if I am not driving the car say once a fortnight rather than leaving it in ready mode and wasting fuel when the engine starts never had a problem with the corolla but the auris I did,I wonder are Toyota using starter batteries for the 12v system as if they are not used to start the engine then traction deep cycle batteries are preferable as 12v lead acid  starter batteries have thinner plates in them to increase capacity for starting, if they are allowed to go completely flat the plates will buckle and render the Battery u/s, probably why so many are suffering with flat 12v Battery issues

a deep cycle leisure/ traction 12v battery has thicker plates and are not damaged by constant discharge and recharge as used in boats and motor homes for the lights etc.

It seems to me that Toyota are using 12v starter batteries in there hybrids as the cost is significantly less than a deep cycle leisure battery.

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I was quite shocked to read that Toyotas advise is to put the car into ready mode for 60 minutes at least once a week. Surely you should be able to leave your car for more than a week without having to switch it on. It’s not very environmentally friendly either.

Reading the comments lots of hybrid owners, especially CHR, are having significant problems. Toyota are recommending trickle charging or a solar power charger attached to the rear Battery not the ignition controlled socket. Same advice is given if you are parking at the airport when you are on holiday. Is this reasonable advice ?

Thankfully 🤞 I’ve had no problems with my 2018 RAV hybrid starting  after leaving it in the garage for 3 weeks. Some of the comments imply it’s the newer hybrids. Wonder if the Battery specs have changed. As Roscoe suggested is Toyota using the wrong type of Battery?

When I do come round to change the RAV this problem will needed to be taken into consideration. Has any 4.5 RAV had problems starting ? What’s the longest people have left their hybrid RAVs without charging the battery and then starting as normal?

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The advice is mostly for cars that been only used for short town trips less than 20 min each time and for those who has left their cars untouched for long time, 2-3 weeks and more. Prior to lockdown if you been using your car regularly there is nothing to worry about and  once a week or every two weeks can do in ready mode. Any vehicle with any type of Battery will suffer of the same problems. It’s not a wrong type Battery, perhaps because  they are smaller than standard cars. I have old Auris Hybrid left in summer for 4 weeks no problems at all, now I don’t want to risk and do keep it in ready mode and drive once a week for 80-100 miles. 

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5 hours ago, robo1 said:

I was quite shocked to read that Toyotas advise is to put the car into ready mode for 60 minutes at least once a week.

The title of the topic gives an indication - advice on Battery maintenance during lockdown or lack of use.

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The 12v batteries in Toyota hybrid vehicles can be considered “small”. Today’s modern vehicles have so many more electronic gadgets then ever before, all taking a load on the power supply, especially on shorter runs. The system probably manages in “normal” use ie pre lock down, but we are in different situations now. Cold weather always hit batteries, but when a car is not running on a regular basis, and then maybe only for short runs shopping etc, the Battery is not getting replenished as it would have done pre lock down, so short journey after short journey, irregular running, seat heaters, air con, demisters, bit of music, windscreen wipers etc etc all take there toll. More then likely less is being put back into the Battery then is being taken out, so is it any wonder batteries are giving up the job when the cold mornings come.

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Additional to the above, instances of batteries flattening isn't limited to hybrid vehicles.

For example, with our 2020 petrol Hyundai i20, if the engine and ignition is turned off whilst the multimedia/sat nav is on, we receive a message within literally a couple of minutes, warning against using the unit without the engine running. The unit turns off when the driver's door is opened.

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I do not expect hybrids to sit for months without some maintenance but having to run it at least every week for 60 minutes seems to imply the auxiliary Battery is not up to the job.
 

During the first lock down a Google search produced advice from the Toyota USA regarding hybrid storage advise. They recommend 20 minutes in ready mode every 2 weeks which seems more reasonable than Toyota UKs advise. I therefore have not let the RAV sit for more than 2weeks. However the last period of inactivity was 3 weeks no problems starting but the car would not creep out of the garage ,in reverse, until gentle accelerator unstuck the brakes.( Lesson learnt leaving car in park and hand brake off)

Perhaps Toyota should have a warning light/ message pop up saying auxiliary Battery low or fit something  similar to the Hyundai Battery saver function that automatically charges the auxiliary battery from the high-voltage battery when it charge drops.

E57E0F92-E76E-4CB0-B673-66BB3B1C1E43.jpeg

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What infuriates me is that I popped into a Toyota Dealer in Bristol the other day to ask a question about my MM system. While there I asked the service guy about the 12v Battery maintenance and how often I should charge/put in ready mode when not using. He said not to leave unused for more than 3 or 4 days, but then went on to tell me that Just putting the car in ready mode is no good and the car needs to be driven.

This is a Toyota Dealer who obviously knows nothing about the product he is servicing/selling.

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10 minutes ago, Timh21 said:

 He said not to leave unused for more than 3 or 4 days, but then went on to tell me that Just putting the car in ready mode is no good and the car needs to be driven.

Well i have a little bit of sympathy. It depends entirely on what you are actually doing. If you only use the car a couple of times a week to the paper shop then at least the brakes etc are being used, surface rust removed etc. However if it sits for weeks on end, then it really does need a run to stop things seizing up such as handbrake/linkages/calipers etc. There is no hard and fast "rule" but "guidance" every customer will have a different set of circumstances 

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5 minutes ago, Parts-King said:

Well i have a little bit of sympathy. It depends entirely on what you are actually doing. If you only use the car a couple of times a week to the paper shop then at least the brakes etc are being used, surface rust removed etc. However if it sits for weeks on end, then it really does need a run to stop things seizing up such as handbrake/linkages/calipers etc. There is no hard and fast "rule" but "guidance" every customer will have a different set of circumstances 

Im not talking about all that, Dealer said 12v Battery will not charge enough unless driven, so Owners Manual is wrong?

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If all you concerned about is charging up the Battery then let the car stand whilst in ready mode for a min 30 min once or twice a week. Remember though, depending where you leave the car, and if unattended, in ready mode it may be illegal. Add to that if you leave it it could easily be stolen and your insurance may not pay out (for being stupid). Sit in the car for 30 min on a freezing day like today.......mmmm.
However, take the car for a run of 30 min twice a week will be good for lots of car parts that won’t be working just having the engine running. Apart from that, any dampness that has occurred in obscure place could be wind dried whilst the car is in motion, tyres will be revolving instead of just resting in one point. 
so if your manual says park up, put into ready mode, for 30 minutes twice a week or whatever then that’s fine. If you take the advice of the dealer who says it’s better to drive the car, then he is right as well. Your choice.  Personally, I prefer the latter, get the full car moving, get parts moving that won’t move sat on the drive.

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OK calm down. The manual cannot take into account everybody's circumstances, and depending on such, there are some things that people can do to help themselves. The advice given is correct, but if you can, you should also drive the car to prevent rust build up and things seizing 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Maybe some confusion here. When it’s said put the hybrid into ready mode for 60 minutes every week. This does not mean the engine will be running for an hour, wasting petrol. The 12v Battery gets charged from the large hybrid Battery, there is no alternator on a Toyota hybrid.   If there is a high charge in the hybrid Battery it is likely the engine may only fire up for a short period a small number of times in the hour. As the hybrid battery slowly empties itself to charge the 12v battery, THEN the engine may kick in to top up the hybrid battery.  When there is sufficient put back into the hybrid battery to feed the 12v battery the engine will stop.  So the engine is definitely not running all the time.

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2 hours ago, Catlover said:

Maybe some confusion here. When it’s said put the hybrid into ready mode for 60 minutes every week. This does not mean the engine will be running for an hour, wasting petrol. The 12v battery gets charged from the large hybrid battery, there is no alternator on a Toyota hybrid.   If there is a high charge in the hybrid battery it is likely the engine may only fire up for a short period a small number of times in the hour. As the hybrid battery slowly empties itself to charge the 12v battery, THEN the engine may kick in to top up the hybrid battery.  When there is sufficient put back into the hybrid battery to feed the 12v battery the engine will stop.  So the engine is definitely not running all the time.

Yes, i concur. I washed my car last week and left it in "Ready" mode. Took me about an hour and the engine came on twice for only a couple of minutes each time

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  • 2 weeks later...

Could somebody please give me some advice. I purchased a brand new Yaris Hybrid in Dec 20. I travel short journeys only, approx 10 mins to work. It is used on a daily basis even through lockdown as I'm a key worker. I probably cover about 200 miles a month. A few days ago it broke down, every warning light and message possible flashed (brake failure, power steering failure etc). It's less than 3 months old. Toyota have said that it was caused through a low Battery. Is this possible. I thought that the Battery recharged when being driven but this is the 1st hybrid I've had so could easily be wrong. They are going to fit an easy charging point to the Battery as its under the seat so pretty inaccessible and have suggested charging it for between 2-6 hours every 2-3 months. Is this normal for a new hybrid. I certainly wasn't expecting to have to do this and just wanted to check if anyone else has experienced this and what they did about it. TIA.

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The 12v Battery is only used to power the electrical systems, rather than start the car. Although run daily,two 10 minutes runs a day may over time not be enough to keep the Battery fully charged, especially over the winter months when drivers frequently have to de-ice, demist, have headlights, heated rear window, heater, etc on.

This doesn't just apply to hybrids. For example, on our 2020 i20 if we have the multimedia unit on when turning off the engine, within two minutes we get a Battery warning on the screen re using the unit with the engine turned off. 

Following Toyota's advice linked to in the first post of this topic will also help to keep the 12v battery charged.

Do you also need to update your profile to include the Yaris.

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Ops. Yes I do need to update my vehicle but unfortunately being an old Silvertop I can't work out how to.

Thank you for answering although I'm still none the wiser but at least you've confirmed that this could be the problem. I've never had this problem before with the many petrol cars I've had over the years and wish I had known before purchasing. 

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Ops. Yes I do need to update my vehicle but unfortunately being an old Silvertop I can't work out how to.

Thank you for answering although I'm still none the wiser but at least you've confirmed that this could be the problem. I've never had this problem before with the many petrol cars I've had over the years and wish I had known before purchasing. 

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5 hours ago, JackieP said:

Could somebody please give me some advice. I purchased a brand new Yaris Hybrid in Dec 20. I travel short journeys only, approx 10 mins to work. It is used on a daily basis even through lockdown as I'm a key worker. I probably cover about 200 miles a month. A few days ago it broke down, every warning light and message possible flashed (brake failure, power steering failure etc). It's less than 3 months old. Toyota have said that it was caused through a low battery. Is this possible. I thought that the battery recharged when being driven but this is the 1st hybrid I've had so could easily be wrong. They are going to fit an easy charging point to the battery as its under the seat so pretty inaccessible and have suggested charging it for between 2-6 hours every 2-3 months. Is this normal for a new hybrid. I certainly wasn't expecting to have to do this and just wanted to check if anyone else has experienced this and what they did about it. TIA.

Yes, it's possible. In fact it happened to Matt Watson in his Carwow review. When it does it then you get a succession of warning messages on the display.

I also have a December 2020 Yaris Hybrid and it put me off getting it. I put it in Ready Mode about 2 to 3 times a week for about an hour. Not ideal, but hoping this will enough. When the car is in Ready Mode the 12v Battery charges from the Hybrid Battery. I will drive it about a bit too, but not easy in lockdown, but the key is to have it in Ready mode.

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Thank you for replying. I'm assuming ready mode is foot on brake and press start button. Guess take a good book to read and sit there for an hour. Toyota don't show that in their adverts. Not everyone has the time or inclination to sit there for an hour. It's not ideal is it?

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The main issues came about during the first lockdown when vehicles were being left unused for days or weeks at a time. During this period KwikFit reported a large increase in cases of flat batteries - not just for Toyotas or hybrids.

Some owners just leave it in ready mode for 30 minutes, and some have bought trickle chargers.

Of course winter puts the heaviest demand on batteries.

 

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