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HYBRID BATTERY PACKS

No matter what kind of problem you have, (or want to avoid) we have a good solution for your hybrid pack. We have a wide variety of options, many not available anywhere else. And we will help you make the correct repair decision depending on your budget and needs. Our pack repairs are full service, and we STOCK SOME POPULAR BATTERY PACKS for rapid turn around.


We also have the capability of charging a hybrid pack discharged by storage or excessive cranking.



PACK FAQS




CAN I DRIVE WITH A BAD PACK?

HOW LONG WILL A PACK LAST

CAN I MAKE MY PACK LAST THE LIFE OF THE CAR?

WHAT IF MY PACK IS DISCHARGED AND THE CAR WILL NOT START

PACK MAINTENANCE

REBALANCING AND RECONDITIONING

REPAIR FAILS AND SUCCESSES

DIAGNOSTIC FAILS


HOW LONG WILL A PACK LAST

What is a typical lifetime for a hybrid pack? The answer depends on the kind of car, (including the year) and how it is used. Minnesota is pretty easy on packs because we don't have extended periods of heat. But the cold weather and short bursts of really hot weather will precipitate failures. It is a good bet though, that the lifetime of any pack will not be too much longer than the warranty period.

We see Prius packs fail anywhere from just out of warranty at 100,000 miles to 250,000 miles for those luckier people.

Hondas generally don't fare as well--especially the early 2000s cars. We have one client with an early 2000s Insight who is on his fourth pack from Honda. Luckily for him, he has gotten Honda to warranty most of them so far.


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CAN I MAKE MY PACK LAST THE LIFE OF THE CAR?

Watching closely for fuel economy dropping is one easy thing you can do to prevent a pack failure. But getting the pack to last for the life of the car will mean that the pack will need a buss bar cleaning and rebalancing. Read on into the next topic MAINTENANCE for more information.


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PACK MAINTENANCE

There isn't a published schedule for maintenance of hybrid packs, but there are often warning signs of problems. The most commonly noted warning sign is an unexpected loss of fuel economy. If the fuel economy is lower than normal for the season, it usually is the hybrid pack becoming 'unstable'. If the pack is left alone, it will fail and have to be replaced. If the pack is brought in to a hybrid expert, such as The Foreign Service, we can assess the extent of the issues and almost always recover the situation without replacing the pack. If this is done before any warning lights appear, the chances of a successful are good. Dashboard warning lights usually mean it is too late.


Packs have parts inside them which link the individual batteries together, called bus bars. These tend to corrode and cause loss of efficiency (fuel economy) and eventually cause the pack to fail. This is one of the reasons why packs don't last the lifetime of a car (typically). In a quality hybrid shop, cleaning the bus bars is done anytime the pack is disassembled, such as when analyzing a pack for poor fuel economy.


Regular maintenance should also include having a hybrid expert rebalance a pack, We like to do this about every 100,000 miles of use. At the time of this writing, our 2003 Prius rental car is using it's original pack after 345,000 miles. I attribute this to rebalancing the pack several years ago.


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CAN I DRIVE WITH A BAD PACK?

Driving with a known bad pack is OK for some cars and dangerous with others. Most Hondas can be driven, while a Prius may actually catch on fire. Call us right away if you have a check engine light and we will help you.


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REBALANCING AND RECONDITIONING


(Reconditioning and rebuilding are the same.)


Rebalancing is a less intrusive process in which all of the individual cells or modules inside a battery pack are brought up to an nearly identical condition. Reconditioning is a process where the capacity of the pack is increased to a higher level, usually approaching the original capacity when it was new. Rebuilt packs have been reconditioned (unless done by a 'fly by night rebuilder).


If you are looking for a reconditioned pack, be sure to buy one from someone who can document the capacity of the pack. i am very uncomfortable with fly by night rebuilding and with one of the major suppliers who cannot or will not document the capacity of their rebuilt packs. We have capacity information available for our reconditioned packs.


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PACK REPAIR FAILS AND SUCCESSES

Once, we received a call from a Prius owner who was told by the dealer they needed a new pack. The car had a code for a temp sensor in the hybrid pack. Toyota does no repair work on packs, except to replace the whole thing. Even though the part was not available new, we told him, we could likely fix it instead of replacing the pack. Sure enough the basic pack was ok, but rodents had chewed on wires and damaged a sensor . We were able to find a replacement sensor in our cache of used parts and installed it. The repair was about 100 dollars versus the pack price of 2600 dollars. Nice.


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WHAT IF MY PACK IS DISCHARGED AND THE CAR WILL NOT START

We have in house capabilities for charging all different types of packs. If the car won't start, call us, as some hybrids have secret methods for getting started if there are problems. Most likely, however, it will need to be towed in for us to access and charge the high voltage pack.


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DIAGNOSTIC FAILS WE HAVE SEEN

We have seen a large number of misdiagnosed hybrids in general and packs specifically. Several Prius packs have come to us diagnosed as bad based on codes, but we were able to rebalance the packs, without replacing them. The key is early intervention. The longer you drive with a check engine light on or dropping fuel economy, the worse the news might be.

One of the most frequent issues we see is 12 volt battery issues fooling technicians into recommending unnecessary work. This is explained here..


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