2007 Toyota Prius, ABS Brakes
Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. How are you this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: I’m doing very well.
Mark: Good. We're going to talk about a 2007 Toyota Prius. You had some ABS brakes work to do with this. What was going on with this car?
Bernie Well, the vehicle had a dash warning light for the ABS brake system, so that was our client's concern. The vehicle drove fine, he couldn't feel anything strange with the brakes, but there was a warning light on, which indicates something's happening that's not right.
Mark: What procedures did you use to diagnose this concern?
Bernie: Well, the first step, of course, is always to road test the vehicle, see what's happening. That gives us a little more information as to where the problem may lie. Then our next step was to hook our diagnostic scan tool up, just do a code scan of the vehicle, see which codes were present. There were a couple of codes with the ABS system. One for a possible wheel speed sensor fault, but the other one, which was more interesting, was there was a battery, a power fault code, and that was also in another module in the vehicle as well. These are thing we kind of look at, and take ... That's an important issue, a battery fault, power loss code.
Mark: If I remember right, and correct me if I'm wrong, the Prius has some regenerative braking as well? Is that why the battery might have been at fault?
Bernie: No. Yes, the Prius does have regenerative braking. That's one of the biggest advantages of a hybrid, is the regenerative braking. You actually put energy back into the battery, into the hybrid battery, as you're actually coming to a stop. The ABS brake system is completely separate from that, it's basically the safety system to prevent your wheels from locking up, especially when you're turning. This battery, this vehicle, has actually two batteries. One of the batteries is ... The battery at fault in this case is actually the 12 volt battery, which is located in the trunk of the vehicle.
Mark: That 12 volt battery's kind of like the standard automotive battery that we see in internal combustion engines?
Bernie: Exactly right. That's exactly what it is. The functions it provides are all for the anti-lock brakes, for the safety systems, that actually provides the starting power for the vehicle. It provides ... It runs basically everything electrical other than the motor and the drive train in the vehicle.
Mark: Since they have two sets of batteries, how often do batteries require replacement on a Prius?
Bernie: Well, the main battery, I say main battery, that's the one for the drive of the vehicle, which is a very large, expensive battery, we've actually never replaced one in our shop. That's not to say they don't go bad, but they ... We've serviced some very old hybrids, stuff going back to the early 2000s, and the batteries are still fine. But they do need to be replaced from time to time. They probably ... This is an '07, the battery's in great shape even 10 years later. They do fail, but the 12 volt batteries tend to need to be replaced somewhat frequently. This is the second one we've done on this vehicle, so average life probably about five years on the 12 volt battery.
I want to share a couple of pictures right now. Here's our '07 Prius, just to give an idea what we're working on. You share a couple interesting photos here. This is actually ... Why would you share a picture of a box? Well, the battery's really only available from Toyota. It's a very unique size and fit of battery, and while there are aftermarket ones available, they say they're supposed to fit, they don't. I just find the packaging on this battery extremely interesting.
Most batteries we buy from our suppliers, they just come in a little cardboard box and the battery's there. This battery comes in sort of a double box with a plastic bag. It's meant to be ... You could probably throw this box upside down, sideways, backwards, and forwards, and the battery would never leak. They've even gone to the trouble of putting an absorbent in the bottom, so if the acid were to actually leak out through all these multiple layers, these two bags, were to actually leak out, it would actually be absorbed in this material at the bottom. It's kind of, let's say, overkill packaging, but it's certainly prevent any battery acid from ever leaking out anywhere in the shipping procedure. Yeah, it's a kind of interesting little bit.
Mark: I guess you got the battery changed, and everything worked properly again on the Prius?
Bernie: Yeah, yeah it did. We changed the battery, cleared the codes, road tested it, no more lights came on, so it's all working fine.
Mark: These vehicles have been around quite a while. How reliable is the Toyota Prius?
Bernie: I’d say very reliable. They have been around for a while. We have actually not seen one major hybrid fault with one of these yet. I don't like to speak for the whole automotive community, because we're just one small part of it, but yeah, in our shop, they've been very reliable. Very little goes wrong with them. Good vehicle. I mean, they last a long time. You know, obviously change the oil, have the brakes serviced, and the vehicle will last a long time.
Mark: There you go. If you have need for service for your hybrid in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead, they're real busy, folks. Or, check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. We have years worth of information on there about all kinds of cars, or our video channel on YouTube, Pawlik Automotive Repair. Thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thank you Mark.