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


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2 hours ago, JackieP said:

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?

No, it's not ideal i have to say. I still brought the car and i do get a bit paranoid it's going to die, so i just sit there for a bit, or wash the car in Ready mode, or go for an hour's drive.

Not ideal as you say.  Yes, Ready Mode is when is when the "Ready" symbol is dispayed on the left hand side of the binocular style instrument binnacle

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The problem with the 12v batteries going flat is due to the COVID problem causing vehicles not to be used - how anyone can blame Toyota for that is beyond my comprehension.                    
It is easy to prove it’s a problem created by COVID and lack of use..... Toyota hybrids have been on sale in the UK for over 20 years, does history show a problem with 12v batteries - NO.    So what’s changed..... COVID has popped up....... bringing with it Lockdown, restricting free movement to prevent the spread of the virus.  So people are at home for longer periods, restricted in movement out of there homes (unless key workers, shopping, and other exemptions).  It does not take much energy from a 12v Battery to put a Toyota hybrid into Ready mode - that is when the large hybrid Battery takes over the operation of the car (keeping things basic here). When the Hybrid Battery starts getting depleted the car computer will tell the engine to run, the engine of the car will turn generators to refill the hybrid battery.  So less use means the 12v battery is not getting recharged. Cold weather effects the 12v battery badly (cold weather will affect torch batteries equally, batteries do not like cold). So lack of use and cold weather takes it out on 12v battery.  Age of a battery makes things worse, but even newer batteries can suffer.  Add the fact there maybe small losses through electrical items on the car and it’s easy to see why 12v batteries come to be flat.                
Should a car manufacturer put in a bigger 12v battery?  It would add weight and add cost, and probably larger physical size. Remember COVID could not be planned for, it came unexpectedly, right.  So why pay for something not needed, why carry weight around unnecessarily, why have something taking up space when space may be a premium???                     
So, if regular journeys are not practical, one answer is to put the car into ready mode (press the brake and start button), turn all other electrics Off, the hybrid battery will charge the 12v battery, the engine will fire up occasionally as the hybrid battery depletes.  OR you could buy a modern computer controlled slow battery charger “suitable for your battery”, and connect that on a regular basis. OR could buy one of the modern mobile phone sized battery pack that can temporarily be fitted across the 12v battery terminals and it will produce enough power to put the car in Ready mode so the hybrid battery takes over (remember to keep this charging module charged).          
Cold winters are not going away anytime soon, and it said COVID (and other illnesses) is not going away anytime soon either.  Be proactive and plan ahead.  You can sell you hybrid and probably loose thousands of pounds by doing so, plus losing the pleasure of driving a hybrid, or make moves to beat the COVID made problems.


 

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Well absolutely normal to kill the Battery in 3-4 months with very short town trips mostly. The better car for your needs would had been a full ev no matter what make or model. Back to your hybrids, you or any owner doesn’t need to keep the car in ready mode 2-3 times a week 1 hour each time, that’s not necessary just twice by 30-40 min each time let’s say Tuesday and Friday or once a week for 1 hr let say  Wednesday, it’s just what 12v Battery needs to get properly recharge. Best thing to do when turn ON the car (ready mode) is to turn anything off: radio, climate control, auto lights , wipers anything that consume electricity and with climate control off the engine will run only few times for a short time, otherwise might be running a lot longer and burning fuel. Toyota should have advised on 12v Battery maintenance and care while handover their cars to customers IMO. 

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My son has this problem with his Auris hybrid used only for short trips. Twice flat. Said to need new Battery

Leaving in ready mode not that practical as hard to supervise in the drive

Does anybody know which 'suitable' smart trickle charger is likely to be safe for this car.

The manual suggests disconnecting the ground cable while charging.

thanks

 

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A question to Jackie P - you say the car "broke down". Do you mean it started spewing all those error messages when you were actually driving? And did the car stop working when it happened?

I ask because usually when the 12v Battery dies it's when the car is stationary and switched off and not when driving.

I notived a couple of other posters who have posted with similar experiences too a few weeks ago.

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20 hours ago, silverbaldy said:

My son has this problem with his Auris hybrid used only for short trips. Twice flat. Said to need new battery

Leaving in ready mode not that practical as hard to supervise in the drive

Does anybody know which 'suitable' smart trickle charger is likely to be safe for this car.

The manual suggests disconnecting the ground cable while charging.

thanks

 

CTEK 5,  £66 from Tayna, Abergele,  North Wales, 2 days delivery if ordered before mid afternoon.   CTEK 5 gets very good reviews and CTEK is supplied with some top brands ie Ferrari but not branded CTEK.  This charger is suitable for AGM batteries as well as standard wet batteries. AGM is the type likely fitted under the seat of your Yaris Hybrid.  We are talking about the 12volt Battery here.  The large Hybrid Battery is also susceptible to the cold (all batteries are) but being larger capacity it does not cause problems.  The 12v Battery problems are wholly due to lack of use, especially during COVID lockdown, made worse by the cold winter weather.  The CTEK 5 will last for years if looked after with respect.

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Hi Mikw. Yes I was driving when the error codes appeared. The car was fine when I left home. I carried on to my destination as it was probably about half a mile to go. The power steering went and it was a very stressful if short journey. Toyota said that the small Battery took 6 hours to fully charge so must have been pretty flat. They have ordered a trickle charger for me. I really love the car but I am really disappointed with this Battery. There should be a warning on the dash to alert you that the Battery is getting low so you can charge it up and avoid breaking down whilst out and about. 

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2 hours ago, Catlover said:

CTEK 5,  £66 from Tayna, Abergele,  North Wales, 2 days delivery if ordered before mid afternoon.   CTEK 5 gets very good reviews and CTEK is supplied with some top brands ie Ferrari but not branded CTEK.  This charger is suitable for AGM batteries as well as standard wet batteries. AGM is the type likely fitted under the seat of your Yaris Hybrid.  We are talking about the 12volt battery here.  The large Hybrid battery is also susceptible to the cold (all batteries are) but being larger capacity it does not cause problems.  The 12v battery problems are wholly due to lack of use, especially during COVID lockdown, made worse by the cold winter weather.  The CTEK 5 will last for years if looked after with respect.

Thanks Catlover

Do you know if it is really necessary to disconnect the ground cable as Toyota suggest in the manual?

I've never done that with non hybrid cars.

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When I got my CTEK 5 from Tayna I read the instructions, I watched YouTube users reviews, written reviews and went ahead and connected but NOT directly across the terminals. I read in one review if the car has an attachement on the Battery connect to the "far" side of this. It happened to be the -ve side that goes to earth, so I took that connector fron the CTEK straight to a vlean bolt connected to the metal of the car. THe +ve CTEK connector went straight to the _ve Battery terminal.   I only got our CTEK 5 probably 4 weeks ago now, registered it online with CTEK.  Its a slow charge, which is best for modern batteries, and can take a good few hours.  It automatically goes through various stages, indicated by lights when completes a stage. I did my wifes Auris Hybrid which had let her down one morning and that took about 4 hours. Then I did my Prius (all Prius are Hybrids) and that took longer, the Battery in that is original and 4.5 years old (replaced the wifes 2.5 years ago).  One reviewer who has had his CTEK 5 for couple years now, says he connects his battery up regularly and its doing very well at over 5 years old.  CTEK is a Swedish firm, do a range of chargers, dearer and cheaper, they can be very expensive. The CTEK 5 is good for AGM and wet acid batteries, car or motorcycle at 12v.  The instructions are brief and easy to understand, the computer chips do the work.  Connect up, sit reading a book or do a bit of gardening.

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Hi Catlover. I would just like to say that in my opinion this is not a problem caused solely by covid. Whilst that no doubt worsens the problem, I am a keyworker and my daily routine has not altered at all due to covid. I have been driving the same miles per week for over 30 years using a variety of petrol engined cars and have never had this problem before. I believe that it is possibly caused by the amount of safety and other systems used by the car draining the Battery in a hybrid car. The trickle charger that Toyota have ordered for me is on back order. Presumably due to so many drivers experiencing the same problem. Just saying that I wished I'd know of this problem before purchasing and that I don't believe we can blame everything on covid. I for example have not changed my driving habits due to covid and have never had to sit in a car going nowhere for an hour a week just to keep the Battery topped up.

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12 minutes ago, JackieP said:

 I for example have not changed my driving habits due to covid and have never had to sit in a car going nowhere for an hour a week just to keep the battery topped up.

Not to sound rude, but you have changed your driving habits Jackie, you have moved up to a Hybrid, and if you are doing only 10 miles a day, stop start,then it might not be enough to keep the Battery charged. You don't have to sit IN the car whilst it is in ready mode, you leave it in ready, get out, lock it up on your drive and let it charge, not ideal I agree, but there are options 

 

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Parts-King. No offence taken. I am a hybrid amateur and I acknowledge that. I love the car. It is super to drive. I obviously don't have enough knowledge about hybrids and was told by Toyota that it was an ideal city car! Sorry to sound stupid but I didn't know that you could lock the car with it in ready mode. Do you just use the key to lock it instead of the handle sensor. I assumed it wouldn't lock in ready mode. Thanks for the tip it's much appreciated. 

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6 minutes ago, JackieP said:

Parts-King. No offence taken. I am a hybrid amateur and I acknowledge that. I love the car. It is super to drive. I obviously don't have enough knowledge about hybrids and was told by Toyota that it was an ideal city car! Sorry to sound stupid but I didn't know that you could lock the car with it in ready mode. Do you just use the key to lock it instead of the handle sensor. I assumed it wouldn't lock in ready mode. Thanks for the tip it's much appreciated. 

Yes, take the blade out of the key fob, there is a button on the side of the remote key box, push it in, and the blade comes out, lock the car with the blade in ready mode. The car might start up and run a few times, but that is just replenishing the other HV Battery :thumbsup:

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Parts-King. Thank you so much for your help. I'll do as you say until my trickle charger arrives. According to Toyota the charger should display the level of charge in the Battery which will be handy to work out how often I'll need to charge it. I hope it does. Thanks once again. 

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JackieP

Advice regarding leaving your engine running only applies legally on a private drive or land.

The Highway Code states: 'You MUST NOT leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road'.

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robo1. Thanks for the advice. I do have a drive but must admit I'm hoping the trickle charger arrives soon as l am a bit concerned about leaving it running and unattended. The Battery lasted 3 months from new until it died and my mileage is pretty consistent so figure I've got a couple of months before I need to worry.

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13 hours ago, JackieP said:

Hi Mikw. Yes I was driving when the error codes appeared. The car was fine when I left home. I carried on to my destination as it was probably about half a mile to go. The power steering went and it was a very stressful if short journey. Toyota said that the small battery took 6 hours to fully charge so must have been pretty flat. They have ordered a trickle charger for me. I really love the car but I am really disappointed with this battery. There should be a warning on the dash to alert you that the battery is getting low so you can charge it up and avoid breaking down whilst out and about. 

Thanks for your answer, you're about the 3rd forum member to experience this issue, but one of the others was in a Rav 4. 

Regarding using "Ready" mode, when i do it the engine only comes on a couple of times during the hour, and only for a couple of minutes each time.

Totally agree, there should be a warning to tell you the Battery is low, it's a bit dangerous for it to just to drop low while driving and to to cut the power steering.

As a matter of fact, some Mclaren's have a countdown feature which displays on the dashboard how many days of Battery charge they have left. The theory being owners only drive them occassionally so they know exactly how much charge they have left and when it will run out. Be great if Toyota could do similar.

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JackieP

you could get a voltage meter that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket like the one in the picture (other available). Comparing to the table it would give you an idea of the state of charge of your Battery so reducing some of the worry.

 

34DFE6A6-457A-4824-9EE7-C395DB5084D7.jpeg

CCD10FD1-BD8D-4289-ADA6-99E998E7A095.jpeg

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Robo1. Oh wow. Does that show the charge of the little Battery then? The one that's causing the problem? If so I'll have a look on Amazon for one. That's a great idea thanks. It's such a shame as I really love my new car but it's spoilt by the worry that it might happen again. That could solve the problem. Do you happen to know what it would show fully charged and what it would show when it needs charging. As you can probably tell I'm not very mechanically minded. Well actually not at all. Thanks so much for your advice. 

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It does unless you are using the USB sockets for charging your phone when it shows the current being used to charge the phone. You can get ones that just show the state of the Battery

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That’s the one with dual ports. If you want 2 standard USB ports this is the version. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01N5I0J92/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
lf you look at the chart below will give you an idea of the charge of the Battery
As you can see a fully charged 12v Battery is actually 12.6 fully charged ( has 6x 2.1v cells) unfortunately the state of charge is not linear  

 

6D1E2A40-9131-4049-9803-EB45DD64FB27.jpeg

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Oh no. Just checked the car and it doesn't have a cigarette lighter 😫. It only has a USB port. I'll try and find one with a USB plug. Got all excited then.

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