Who said modern cars are too complicated to work on at home?
Some hybrid cars have been on the road for more than a decade now, but every vehicle needs some kind of maintenance eventually.
Faced with a potentially expensive bill, one Toyota Camry Hybrid owner took matters into his own hands, fixing the car's battery pack himself.
2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid
The owner worked as an electrician with his father, so when his Toyota dealer said the entire pack would have to be replaced, he decided to try repairing it instead.
NOTE: If you don't have similar skills and experience, do NOT attempt a repair like this! Disassembling a hybrid's high-voltage electrical components can be hazardous--and should only be done by knowledgeable mechanics.
But back to the Camry Hybrid. His local Toyota dealer wanted to replace the entire battery pack, based on the presence of a dashboard warning light.
RELATED: Replacing A 2001 Toyota Prius Battery Pack: What It Cost (Jul 2012)
The owner assumed one or more individual cells may have gone bad, and felt he could replace them while salvaging the rest of the pack.
But the real problem turned out to be much simpler.
The hybrid battery pack contain 34 copper connectors that link its nickel-metal-hydride cells together, and they were all corroded. The cells were actually fine, but the connections among them were bad.
Toyota Camry Hybrid battery pack repair by Imgur user scoodidabop
The Camry Hybrid owner and professional electrician soaked each piece in vinegar, scrubbed it with steel wool, and then cleaned it in a solution of baking soda and water that counteracted the vinegar's acidity.
The pack was then reassembled and reinstalled in the Camry. No more dashboard lights.
Of course, removing and disassembling a heavy, high-voltage battery pack, checking the output of cells, and putting everything back together correctly is very likely beyond the skill of the average garage mechanic.
In this case, the problem was simple enough for someone with the proper skills to tackle--and save money in the process.
Which only goes to show why you should respect your local auto mechanic.