Don’t Buy a Prius or Camry Hybrid Battery (until you read this)

Updated January 2020

The day has finally come. Your dashboard is lit up like a Christmas tree – and your Prius and Prius Battery (or Camry for that matter) is around 10 years old. You’ve got a sinking feeling that the battery is going – or has gone – bad. “No problem,” you think. “I’ll just head over to my neighborhood Toyota dealer.” And after a diagnostic scan and a P0A80 code, the maintenance department at Toyota suggests you have your Prius HV battery (the BIG one) replaced with a new one. “How much?” you ask. “We can fix that right up for ya – just $3200.” Or – between $2200-$2600 BEFORE LABOR – something like that. “What the…???” you ask, how that can that possibly be?! “My car is only worth $2000.” Well, they explain, “the price is the price.”

Toyota service department offers to replace the hybrid battery on your $2000 Prius or Camry for $3200.  What a "deal"?!
New high-voltage (HV) hybrid batteries are usually overkill for your used Prius or Camry. We believe we offer a more appropriate solution for your 10+ year old Camry or Prius.
A look inside a Prius or Camry high voltage (HV) battery.  There are 28-34 individual battery cells.
Prius & Camry high-voltage (HV) hybrid batteries contain 28-34 individual cells that can be repaired through a renewal/refurbishment process

So, yeah, you’re in a bind. Your Prius or Camry isn’t worth the cost to replace the battery – you might as well go get a new car, right? Not so fast! MOST of your Prius or Camry High Voltage (HV) battery is actually fine. There are between 28-34 individual cells inside your HV battery (depending on the model) – and only a few of them are going bad. They’re losing their ability to retain energy, so their voltage begins dropping. Those drops in voltage trigger a warning system in your car’s Engine Control Unit (ECM) – and that sets off a cornucopia of lights on your dashboard. If you can fix a couple of these battery cells, your dashboard lights will turn back off and your overall battery will last a lot longer. And that’s exactly what we do here at Motorcells™ – it’s a little more complicated, but that’s the gist of it.

“But isn’t that just a Band-Aid? Won’t my car be on borrowed time?” Of course, your car is on borrowed time. It’s a CAR – and cars eventually breakdown. So the question is, how long do you plan to drive your car? Are you wanting to keep it for the next 10 years? And do you think your already 10-year-old car will actually last that long?

Realistically, Toyota Priuses & Camrys have other issues besides the HV batteries that send them to the junkyard. One of the most common issues we’ve seen is a short in the transmission following a P0AA6 code. You start leaking power and it drains both your HV battery and your smaller 12V battery. Transmissions are expensive to replace or repair, so the cost of repair easily exceeds the cost of the vehicle. We’re talking about $3000+ for vehicles only worth $2000-$3000. That’s just as much as the ~$3200+ that the dealership charges to replace the HV battery. Either way, do you really want to pay that much to fix your older Prius?

So, here’s the deal. Your HV battery has gone bad and now want the option to sell or trade-in your car for a higher value, or drive it until it dies for other reasons – the latter of which is likely 3-4 years after you replace your HV battery, realistically. At Motorcells, we offer the most cost-effective solution for both scenarios. You can either have your battery replaced with our Motorcells renewed batteries and a Standard 12-month warranty for about $995, or you can pay a little extra to extend your warranty out a few more years.

If you buy a new Prius HV battery (assuming that’s what they sell you), it will last longer than the rest of your car will – unless, of course, you have a very low mileage Prius that’s in great shape – for these Prius and Camry’s, we do recommend just spending more money and getting a new HV battery. We offer factory new Prius and Camrys for less than the dealership with a longer warranty.

We would also like to give you a note of warning about Hybrid battery warranties: READ THE FINE PRINT. Some of our competitors offer too-good-to-be-true warranties. And, if you read the fine print, you will see why. First, you will need to make sure there is nothing wrong with your Prius or Camry before they will honor the warranty. And, frankly, that’s fair. There can be underlying issues that prevent us from repairing your Prius. So, no problem there. However, what is not fair is for our competitors to set up unrealistic expectations as to how long your refurbished hybrid battery will actually last. The truth is that your battery is on borrowed time the moment you start replacing individual cells – we, or some of our competitors, can prolong the life of the battery, but battery chemistry starts to break down after about 10 years and – soon – you will need to start replacing more cells after the first ones start to go bad. If you read the fine print on some HV battery warranties, they will actually charge you 25%, 50%, 75% of the FULL COST OF THE HYBRID BATTERY REPAIR depending on how long ago you purchased your hybrid battery. So, yeah, they’re not really giving you a warranty at that point – they’re just giving you a discount on your next repair. We would prefer to be straightforward with you and set realistic expectations so that you don’t get stuck in a situation you did not expect – and end up putting more money into your Prius or Camry than it’s actually worth.

Toyota Priuses and Toyota Camrys are excellent vehicles that last a very long time if you take care of them – in our experience, about 15 years or 250,000 miles. They are amazing cars. However, the hybrid battery has inherent limitations – and you will need to either extend the life of your Prius / Camry or buy a new battery. Since, two batteries last longer than one Prius, the sweet spot seems to be renewing/refurbishing your existing HV battery to prolong it’s life to match the true lifespan of your Prius or Camry. Unless, of course, you have an older – but low mileage – Prius or Camry that’s still in excellent shape. Then, you might want to just have us install a brand new one for you.

There you go. That’s our two cents after repairing hundreds of these from our shop in Indianapolis, IN.

Renewed Prius Battery+ Mobile Installation & Warranty

Renewed Prius Battery
+ Mobile Installation & Warranty


12-48 Month Warranty



Renewed Hybrid Battery+ Mobile Installation & Warranty

Renewed Camry Battery
+ Mobile Installation & Warranty


12-48 Month warranty



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