Your Prius is a great car that helped pave the way for electric cars to day, and that battery life can seemingly last forever. But, every Toyota Prius will eventually need a new battery or have issues arise with the car’s build.
A common issue that can happen in older cars is that the Prius won’t start, despite the battery being charged. Did you recently have this happen? Let’s take a closer look at what could cause this.
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Why won’t my Prius start when my battery is charged?
There are several reasons why a Prius may have trouble starting. Let’s take a look at the most common reasons to watch for.
1. Overfilled oil
Did you recently go to the mechanic to top off your oil? If so, there may have been a mistake when it came to the amount of oil. Most hybrids will use less than 4 quarts. If you added too much, the oil could have caused corrosion or gunked up components that stopped your car.
Draining out some of the oil can help fix this.
2. A bad key fob
Your key fob is what will usually start your car, and if there is a dead key fob battery to blame, you’re going to have a hard time starting your car. When no energy is going to the start button, there’s no real way for the car to start.
There are several parts that could require a replacement, including a passive transponder. If you put your key fob very close to your ignition button, you might still be able to get it going so that you can drive to a repairman.
You can tell if it’s the key fob by using the second key. If the second key works, you need a new key fob.
3. Security system glitches
Toyota is famous for having security in mind, both in terms of accidents and in terms of theft. Unfortunately, this can be a double-edged sword. If you try to start your car and notice that there is a security warning light on your dashboard, then it is a security issue.
More often than not, your car won’t start if there is reason to believe that a carjacking is taking place. A quick fix for this is to place the key fob near you when you try to turn on the car. This may be annoying, but it’s better than having thieves drive off with your car.
4. Fuel system issues
While your Prius does run on electricity, the truth is that it still needs gas. Occasionally, your fuel can turn into a problem, especially if you have been neglecting the entire system that involves fuel intake.
Ask yourself when the last time you replaced the fuel filter was. If you haven’t actually replaced your filter, then it’s quite likely that you have have a clogged fuel filter. This drops the amount of air that reaches your engine, which can prevent it from igniting.
Another issue that you might have deals with the fuel pump. If your fuel pump breaks, then it won’t give enough pressure to actually start the car. With fuel pump issues, you might have already noticed some problems with your car.
A bad fuel pump will have a lot of symptoms surrounding the fuel’s pressure. You may notice your car driving in a jagged manner, or that your car starts making weird sounds. When your fuel’s pressure isn’t what it should be, it will affect your drive quality and gas mileage.
5. Blown fuses
In order for your car to start up, you have to have power to your car. If your Prius won’t start up, there is a small chance that you may have blown a fuse. This will need to be serviced by a repair shop.
6. Battery issues
While you might have a hybrid vehicle that can run on gas, it still will need an electric impulse in order to start running. Battery problems can happen, even if you recently charged your Prius. There could be several possible reasons why your battery could be on the fritz:
- Bad charging. You may think you’ve charged your car, but if the connection wasn’t actually there, you might not have enough charge to start your car. If you hear clicking but your car won’t start, this is the problem.
- Corrosion. If your battery is a bit old, you may have noticed a bit of corrosion around the battery terminals. That’s not a good thing. In fact, you may actually lose connection to the engine if you let that corrosion stay for too long. Wiping it away and cleaning your car battery can help.
- Frayed battery cables. If you have corrosion on your battery cables (or worse, had a mouse nest in your car), then you won’t have a connection to your battery. This is not a problem with the battery itself, butit is still in the same category due to its connection to the battery.
7. Bad sensor/Faulty camshaft
If you can hear your Prius crank but can’t get the car to start, it could also be a camshaft sensor or a crankshaft sensor problem. When your sensors don’t work correctly, your crankshaft will not react the way it should. This, in turn, leaves you with a “dead” Prius.
The good news is that if it’s a bad sensor, a couple of tries may be able to get your car to start up. Maybe. Either way, if you suspect that there is a sensor problem, your best bet is to call a mechanic immediately.
8. Bad starter
Now that we’ve gone over the more obscure issues that could happen, let’s talk about the potential cause that’s actually in the name: the starter. Your starter solenoid is what transfers electricity to the starter motor, making the car start.
When you have a bad starter solenoid, you are not going to be able to start your car. However, you will hear a clicking noise when you try to start your car. If the battery is okay (and you’re certain of it) and you hear that click, it’s a bad solenoid.
When should you call a mechanic?
If you are totally certain that the problem is not a depleted battery or an old battery, you already have a problem that is going to be somewhat difficult to solve. Any moment where you struggle to turn on your car is going to be a moment where you need to stop and check it.
In some cases, such as a bad key fob, you might be able to fix it by using a replacement key or cleaning away some corrosion. In other cases, such as a bad sensor or a bad filter, you may need to call a mechanic with a tow truck.
Regardless of what the problem is, the truth is that any incident that involves draggy driving, struggles with starting a car, or issues with getting the car to stay on isn’t normal. It’s a moment where you should be getting help with your car ASAP.
How much will fixing this cost?
It depends on what causes the issue. Something along the lines of a replacement spark plug could cost as little as $50. If you just need to drain some oil, it’s free. Key fob replacements can get pricey, with a typical cost between $250 to $400.
If the problem with your car is more advanced, such as fuel filter that has also been compounded with other issues (like a bad starter or frayed cables), the price can increase dramatically. You also may have to pay a fee for a diagnostic.
You also have to consider fees associated with a tow or roadside assistance. That stuff isn’t cheap.
If you have a hard time starting a Toyota Prius, it’s likely that you have a problem with an electrical component or a fuel component. Bad key fobs, sensors, and starters are some of the more common culprits, but it also can be a bad fuel filter.
Truth be told, there are a lot of issues you may need to troubleshoot when you have a struggling car. Most of the problems that can cause a car to stop starting will require the help of a mechanic.
Not all car problems are preentable, but there are definitely some that are. The best way to prevent repairs is to maintain your car correctly. So ,if you want to keep your car running, maintain it well.