Sunday, September 5, 2010

When is a Hybrid Battery Considered Fully Reconditioned

When is a Hybrid HEV Battery considered fully reconditioned? 
Rationally speaking if we can install a HEV battery in a Prius and "Triangle of Death" code icon is cleared, we will conclude we have a good working battery. The car computer monitors the HEV battery and if any cells are within the limit of tolerance the "Triangle of Death" error will be triggered.

Can the triangle error be triggered after reconditioning.
Unfortunately the answer is yes. The battery is like a light bulb. If there is a short in the wiring the next light bulb you replace will also blow. Anything wrong with the Prius mechanical and electrical system will affect the battery.
When we first started reconditioning the HEV battery we took the position that our job ended when we had a working battery. However we offered a 1 year warranty to support our service. This open us to the problem of the battery failing within the warranty period.

What problems did we encounter with the HEV battery failing during warranty?
In most cases the repair is successful and we do not hear back from the customers. However in a few cases we get the same customers back again repeatedly. Because of this we decided to look at other problems with the vehicles concerned.
To our horror many of these vehicles have never been regularly maintained. Ironically because these vehicles are so mechanically reliable their owners neglect the maintenance and still the vehicles keeps running until the HEV battery fails. The biggest discovery was that the air flow meter deterioration was the greatest contributor to the HEV battery failure. A malfunctioning MAF sensor leads to poor performance in the ICE power train putting greater demands on the HEV battery hastening it's demise. We now insist that the MAF sensor be replaced for our 1 year warranty to be valid.
Our problems did not end here. Recently we were able to purchase an S2000 scanner from Japan. We found that some error codes in the hybrid system if not cleared will bring up the turtle. With the scanner we are now able to hone in on all problems with the vehicle. We can truly guarantee that we will be able to give all our customers a fully functioning vehicle after HEV battery reconditioning, To date there has not been a vehicle we were unable to "fix".

What if we cannot get access to the vehicle?
This is a problem. We encourage our customers to bring in their cars for a service. We stand by our 1 year warranty even though failure of the battery may not be our fault. We take this stand because we believe that these vehicles despite their age are very good vehicles and our service preserves their value.

The future of the Prius Generation 1
Most people think that the use by date for this model is passed. We beg to differ. This vehicle have an electric motor as well as an internal combustion engine. It has limited EV operating mode. If we can extend this EV mode we will have an operational Electric Vehicle at a very low price without the problem of range limitation. We are looking into this and the trick is to do this safely and economically.

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