Friday, 10 May 2019

Jump Starting from Hybrid Cars

Two nights ago, I though I had nothing better to do than start up the Peugeot 5008 and take it the two miles to the garage to get one of its ABS sensors replaced, before I sell it. Stupid me, I forgot that I should have checked the battery first since it's been sitting on the driveway for 6 weeks or so. So it wouldn't start. I thought it wouldn't be a problem given that I have two other healthy cars sitting on the driveway next to it (our Prius and new Outlander PHEV) that I could jump start it from. Alas, no.

A quick search of the internet shows that due to the small size of the 12V 'starter' battery on hybrid cars, they are not suited to providing the large current that gets sucked up when turning over an engine as well as the risk of upsetting the associated electronics and settings. I recollected (and recorded in a previous post) that I had bought a jump start unit for jumping the Prius after an experience when I'd left interior lights on and it drained the small 12V Prius battery. The unit I bought is shown below:

It consists of a 12V battery big enough to turn over a small engine and is more than capable of starting the Prius' starting system. The positive and negative clamp cables are tethered to it. You can also use it as a pump to blow up flat tyres. We did let the battery go once again after this and this unit was easy-peasy to use and get the Prius up and running. I thought it might just have enough grunt to try and turn over the 1.6L diesel on the Peugeot. However, this time, I'd left it in the shed after clearing the Prius out and hadn't put it on charge so it was flat too. Bah! I was forced to borrow a neighbour's Vauxhall Astra and used my other jump start cables to start it okay. Lesson learned - always keep your charger charged!

Thursday, 2 May 2019

After Over 7 Years I'm Still a Happy Prius Owner!

I haven't posted on this blog in years - about 6 years in fact - and many things have happened in the intervening years. We've moved house, changed jobs, got a dog ... and changed cars; not our Toyota Prius though! Yes, we're still proud Prius owners!

The Prius has been a quiet, unassuming, dependable servant that's always there for us. It's picked us up when other cars have failed. And it continues to do this as cheaply and economically as it has always done.

The Prius has always been our second car. We've had two Volvos in the intervening years and one Peugeot 5008. Our old Volvo S40 saloon (sedan) we bought for £900 and ran for 3 years until the gearbox and suspension faced repairs that were too costly to make sense to do, given the age and residual value of the car. We sold it to a breaker and thought we had got good value-for-money motoring from it - so no gripes. We then had a 2003 Volvo XC90 2.9T 4x4 (SUV) converted to LPG. It was the most unreliable car we've had the misfortune to own. That saga could easily fill many blog posts. I can feel the vein in my temple throbbing at just the mere thought of it. It was sold and replaced by a 2010 Peugeot 5008 people carrier (MPV). For three years it proved okay and then the problems started. Being French, it involved electrical issues. It's also had its fair share of other problems like broken springs which seem to be thinner than older ones, perhaps a victim of areas where manufacturers are trying to save weight. With too many problems, it's now due to be sold too, which is a shame, as it was a good load lugger, capacious, comfortable and economical for a vehicle of its size. However, repair bills eat into any savings made from the running costs.

In all this time, the Prius filled in the gap as sole family transport whilst we were in between 'main' cars. We've had two holiday trips where the Peugeot was all set to take us, only to let us down the day before the trip and force us to use the Prius. I say "force", but that sounds unfair. It's only the size of the luggage capacity that becomes an issue when a family of four set off in the Prius for a holiday. We solved that by using a roof box. The thing is - and this has always been the case in eight years of Prius ownership now - when you want to use the Prius, you can. It's just there. Waiting for you. Come what may. I love my Prius for that.

So, I'll be resurrecting posting to this blog to share my long term owner experience and cover all the aspects, both good and bad, in the hope that it is of interest and use to others.