Prius Battery Replacement
July 6, 2009 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Is there and GOOD and CHEAP way to replace a Prius battery?

I have a 2001 Prius with 118K miles on it, and my big battery is going. The dealers is asking for $3100. I am not in the market for a new car, but this is going to be painful. Any suggestions?
posted by SLC Mom to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
No specific answer, but try something like the forums. This thread from 2005 talks about using salvaged batteries off wrecked priuses.

Also, is the battery really going at 118k miles? That's below warranty level in some states, and just over in others. Check where you are, and what the details are.
posted by cschneid at 3:46 PM on July 6, 2009

I think you guys are the first wave of expiring batteries, so there may not be a ton of options other than the dealer, but if there is another way you'll probably find it searching the Prius Chat forum.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:46 PM on July 6, 2009

Doesn't that battery have an 8 year 100k warranty? If you've been a good customer at your dealership, you could ask them to work something out for you. At my dealership, we'll bend the rules on warranties pretty often for customer satisfaction. Most dealers have a some sort of semi-slush fund budget for customer satisfaction.
There seem to be some used or salvaged batteries available on EBAY, too. Unfortunately, there's no real way to test or inspect them before you buy them.
posted by Jon-o at 3:54 PM on July 6, 2009

Is there and GOOD and CHEAP way to replace a Prius battery?

No. There is not. You can have good or cheap, but not both.
posted by The World Famous at 4:34 PM on July 6, 2009

Response by poster: You can have good or cheap, but not both.

Sigh. I know. I am just looking for a way out.

Jon-o, I am at 118K miles, and mhy dealer isn ot making any friendly noises. I may have used up all their good will when I insisted on warranty replacement of 3 tires a couple of years ago.

California emissions law gives a 15 yr 150K warranty for the 2004-2008 batteries, but I think I am left out in the cold.

Thanks guys.
posted by SLC Mom at 5:14 PM on July 6, 2009

Well if your going to spend that much have you looked into those battery/elec upgrades that third parties do. They upgrade the batteries to more pwoerfull ones that allow the prius to go faster and longer on elec mode.
posted by majortom1981 at 5:35 PM on July 6, 2009

Majortom, I don't think the 2001 prius has an easily modded electric mode, but I might be wrong. I think the 2004 was the first to have that option.

Are you sure the whole battery is dead? you might be able to have a dead cell of the battery replaced for a few hundred bucks, instead of a few thousand.
posted by jrishel at 5:43 PM on July 6, 2009

yes this is true, it may be just one of the cells. it might be worth asking on one of the yahoo groups, like Prius_Technical_Stuff, about the feasibility of diagnosing and replacing just a couple of cells. i know this has been done from reading that group.

in the bay area of CA there's a pretty good local prius expert (art's automotive) but i guess you are in salt lake city...
posted by joeblough at 5:56 PM on July 6, 2009

Response by poster: LOL at joeblough!! I am in LA.
SLC means Sarah Lawrence College, and that is why I really can't afford car problems right now.

You all have great ideas and are reassuring me that I have covered all the options. Conversion to plugin seems to be for 2004 and beyond, and starts with having a good HV battery. Replacing cells/modules could be an option for those of us with time and expertise. But it seems to have its own problems: if the voltage is much off between cells it damages the surrounding cells and eventually shorts out. More than I ever wanted to know.

Thank everyone for your good ideas! I think that convenience, speed and reliability are going to win out.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:16 PM on July 6, 2009

oh, i guess i have utah on the brain. d'oh!
posted by joeblough at 11:00 AM on July 7, 2009

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