Car Doctor Q & A: Reviving a Toyota Prius After Hibernation

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This week, AAA’s Car Doctor John Paul fields a question about a Prius left to sit for the winter. Is that super-expensive battery going to be OK?

Q. I have a Toyota Prius that I love and drive all year except winter. In the winter months I drive my 2009 Honda CR-V. My question is that my Prius has been trapped in the garage since mid-January. I am concerned that if the car won’t start, I have ruined the very expensive battery. What do I do?

Toyota Prius 2010

A. Your Prius has two batteries, the very expensive hybrid battery and the less expensive 12 volt battery. Your Prius will not start if the 12 volt battery has become discharged. In the cars owner’s manual there will be directions for how to jumpstart the car. You can also charge the battery with a battery charger designed for Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) style batteries. These specialty batteries are sensitive to overcharging. If the battery has failed completely, a replacement battery is in the $250 range.

John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England. A certified mechanic, Paul tests dozens of new cars each year and also hosts a radio show on AM 950 and 550.