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Should Toyota Prius Owners Buy a Spare Used Battery Pack?

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2004-1009 Toyota Prius battery pack, second generation

2004-1009 Toyota Prius battery pack, second generation

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We often get asked whether it will be necessary to replace the high-voltage battery pack in a Toyota Prius after it's five or ten years old. The answer is, almost certainly not.

Toyota is required to warranty the pack for either 8 years / 100,000 miles or 10 years / 150,000 miles, depending on which state it's sold in. (California and the 10 states that have adopted its emissions standards require the longer intervals.)

Buy a used pack?

If you do have to replace the pack, the current cost is $2,299 (for 2001-2003 models) or $2,588 (for 2004-2009 models). Labor costs could total several hundred more dollars.

But for owners worried about the cost of a new pack, one Prius fan and forum participant has a novel suggestion: Buy a used pack and store it.

Solar Prius owner Bob Bruninga recommends that you buy a used for your model year of Prius three to five years after the car is new, charge it up, and leave it on the shelf in a climate controlled space (like your house).

No market for used battery packs

Bruniga, who asked that we include his ham-radio call letters: WB4APR, says, "Whenever a Prius gets totaled, the battery almost always survives perfectly.

"There is no used market for them, for the first many years of that model year, because the warranty lasts 8 years or so, and so no one is looking for used batteries.

"In the USA, you can find all the used batteries you want for under $500 and they all come with the control unit. And even when you buy it, it will have less mileage on it than what you are already driving." (Others say street price may be more like $700.)

"Of course, I have no data on long term storage.. So maybe 6 years later when you need it it might not be that great, but it should be better than what you have that will have been used all that time?

Proceed at your own risk

We're not recommending this for Toyota Prius owners, most of whom will never need to replace their battery pack. Most of the packs Toyota sells, it says, are actually replacements for cars damaged in rear-end accidents.

Still, we thought it was an intriguing idea. For those Prius owners comfortable with the idea of keeping a high-voltage battery pack somewhere in their house, anyhow.

2005 Toyota Prius

2005 Toyota Prius

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[Toyota Pressroom]

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Comments (8)
  1. Why? Toyota batteries on late model hybrids are warranteed for 150K miles?? Fed require 70-75K miles...... do ya really think anyone realy wantrs a toxic spare battery pack laying around....just in case??? Doesn't seem practical???
     
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  2. Prius battery is NiMH. It's not toxic or dangerous (unless you lick the terminals or drop it on your foot.) Li based batteries, on the other hand, could be more problematic.
     
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  3. great story.
     
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  4. I can say for sure, DO NOT STORE THESE BATTERIES!!
    These packs will self discharge over a period of 8-12 months and they also leak electrolyte and corrode the terminals when in storage. We have had many customers report the battery they bought 2 years ago from a low mileage wrecked Prius is totally dead. These cells are really difficult to recover, once fully discharged. Remanufactured is the way to go and remanufactured with Gen2 cells is better than a new Gen1 pack.
     
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  5. We live in California. We have an early Prius (2001?) with about 120,000 miles on it which got a replacement battery under warranty about 5 years ago. We just paid about $3,500 to have this battery replaced again due to leakage and almost immediately after getting it back the check engine light came on and the car would barely run. Now they say we need a new computer too. My question is:how can I find out whether we have the 10 year warranty now required in California for batteries? When did this 10 yr/150K requirement begin?
     
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  6. That is wayyyy to much for that. Man car parts are so expensive.
     
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  7. Why can't I just drive the Prius with the gas engine only?
     
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  8. @Thomas: You could, but you'd find that it won't get anywhere near its rated fuel efficiency.
     
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