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Jump starting other vehicles with Prius

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Posted by Gregory Harris on February 24, 2007, 4:58 pm

I'm aware that the manual says I can get my Prius Jump started if the
batteries are completely run down in the Prius.  However what's a
Prius's capability (at least from experience) in jump starting other
vehicles that are stuck?  Mine in particular is the 2006 Prius.  Thanks!

Gregory Harris

Posted by DougSlug on February 24, 2007, 9:44 pm

A few weeks ago, my wife's Sienna's battery gave up the ghost on a really
cold day (not surprising since it was almost 4 years old).  I was tempted to
find out if the Prius could jump it, but I figured since it was not intended
to crank a starter motor, I reasoned that the current capacity ("cold
cranking amps") probably wouldn't be high enough for an effective jump
start.  I definitely didn't want to have two dead cars that day.
Fortunately, I have a Xantrex backup power supply (essentially a big
lead-acid battery packaged with an inverter on wheels with a handle) which
worked perfectly on the first try.

Nevertheless, I am also interested in the answer to this question.  Mine is
a 2006 as well.

 - Doug

Posted by on February 24, 2007, 10:13 pm

I have a 10/30/50 amp Schumacher charger. Has served me well over the years.
I learned a long time ago there's a fifty-fifty chance the vehicle that
could have jumped the other vehicle left the driveway and was half way
across town.

Posted by mrv@kluge.net on February 24, 2007, 10:25 pm

A Prius' 12v battery shouldn't be jumpstarting another car's battery.
(Too easy to blow the fuse on your donor Prius.)

The Prius' 12v battery is smaller than an average car's 12v battery,
because it never has to start an engine. So, if you do a traditional
jumpstart/boost, you can overpower the Prius' 12v battery, and
potentially blow the 100 amp fuse that charges it (from the hybrid

The preferred method of jumpstarting another vehicle, using a Prius

Turn off both cars.

Take the keys of the car to be jumped, so that the owner doesn't try
to start their car on your donor Prius' battery.

Connect up the jumper cables per the owner's manual of the car that
needs to be jumped. It's probably best to go direct with the Prius'
12v battery terminals, found in the trunk/boot, but if you have a
NHW20 (2004 and newer) Prius you can probably use the under-hood jump
points in the fuse box.  Watch that polarity!

Turn on the Prius to READY, so that the gasoline engine can charge the
hybrid battery, the hybrid battery can charge the 12v battery, and the
12v battery can charge the dead car's battery. Leave like this for at
least 15 minutes to recharge the dead car's battery.

Turn off the Prius, and disconnect all the jumper cables.

Try starting the dead car using its own somewhat charged battery.

Drive this car around for a while to let it recharge its own battery

This'll only work if the dead car's battery is merely too weak to
start the car. If it has any damage or an internal short, it won't
work (and could be dangerous to charge it).

The real preferred method, other than having an auto club come out, is
to have a portable jumpstart kit for your car. Less than US$0, you
can get a jumpstart kit that also has other neat stuff in it, like a
compressor for tire inflation, or hazard lights. Something worth
having in your car toolkit.

Jump start procedure if needing to jump your own Prius is in the "in
case of emergency" section of the owner's manual.

In a traditional car, you'd have to drive around for a while after a
jumpstart to get your 12v recharged, because the alternator is run off
of the gasoline engine. In a Prius, which doesn't have an alternator,
you just have to leave the car in READY to charge the 12v battery off
of the big hybrid traction battery. (But, if your car is on, you might
as well drive it somewhere...) A good 30min drive somewhere should do
the trick.

(Don't forget that US 2001-2005 (and maybe 2006 if you have the right
paperwork) Prius come with 3 years/36,000 miles of Toyota Roadside
Assistance, which includes jumpstarts.  If you have the Toyota Extra
Mile package (Southeast or Gulf States Toyota region) or if you bought
the Prepaid Maintenance package, you may also have the Toyota Roadside

Posted by on February 24, 2007, 10:44 pm

Many times disabled vehicles aren't parked in such a way that running kits
to one another is a solution.  Furthermore, if someone can't maintain their
own car battery chances are they can't maintain another lead-acid battery

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