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How to Jump Start a Prius in 5 Steps

Would you know how to jump start a Prius if its battery dies on you? Compared to conventional vehicles, jump starting a hybrid car will require a few additional steps. If you don’t know what those steps are and don’t make the effort to learn them, don’t be surprised if you find yourself stranded in the middle of the road looking for a random stranger to help you out.

Thankfully, jump starting a hybrid car isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Here are steps you can follow if you find yourself needing to jump start your Prius for the first time.

Prepare the following items:

Can you jump start a Prius? Only if you have the following items on hand:

  • Jumper cables
  • An assisting vehicle or a Jumper Box
  • An unpainted, solid metallic point on the body or frame of your Prius

As an extra precaution, turn off anything that runs on electricity such as GPS, the radio, and air conditioning. The power surge could potentially damage electrical devices and even cause a minor injury.

Locate the jump start terminal under the fuse box cover

First, open the hood of your Prius and locate the fuse box—that’s the black rectangular box on the driver’s side near the firewall. Next, push the tabs at the front of the fuse box and lift the lid cover vertically to get access to the Prius battery terminals.

Connect the jumper cables

Now here comes the fun part: connecting the jumper cables. This could get confusing so let’s take it step by step.

  1. Attach one end of the red (positive) jumper cable to the positive terminal in your Prius vehicle. It is usually covered by a little red plastic cover at the back end of the fuse box.
  2. Connect the other end of the red (positive) jumper cable to the positive terminal of the assisting vehicle or the positive terminal of the Jumper Box unit providing the jump.
  3. Connect one end of the black (negative) jumper cable to the negative terminal of the assisting vehicle or the negative terminal of the Jumper Box.
  4. Clamp the other end of the black (negative) end of the jumper cable to a solid, unpainted metallic surface that’s a good distance away from any moving parts.

Jump start the Prius

Start the engine of the assisting vehicle and let it run for five minutes at engine speed by pressing down lightly on the accelerator pedal. Put your foot on the brake and push the “Power” button. (sometimes you may have to push it twice)

  1. Remove the cables in reverse order

Once the Toyota Prius has started running, remove the jumper cables in reverse order as follows:

  1. The negative end of the jumper cable on the metal piece.
  2. The negative end of the jumper cable on the assisting vehicle or Jumper Box.
  3. The positive end of the jumper cable on the assisting vehicle or Jumper Box.
  4. The positive end of the jumper cable on the Prius’s jump starting terminal.

Close the lid of the jump starting terminal and snap the rear tabs back on to reinstall the fuse box cover. All done!

Play Video

A Video Guide on How to Jump Start a Prius

Can my Prius jump start another car?

As you’re reading this article you might have wondered if it’s possible to jump start another car with a Prius. The answer is yes. All you have to do is jump start with the Prius like you would with any other ‘conventional’ vehicle.

But should you do it? As per the manual, it’s not recommended. Remember, Prius batteries aren’t exactly designed to deliver high currents. If you use a hybrid battery to jump a dead battery, you run the risk of damaging the vehicle’s fuse, not to mention that it could reduce the hybrid battery’s life span.

Hybrid battery replacement vs repair

If the above procedures didn’t work, that could mean your hybrid battery has a more serious problem. At this point, you may want to consider a new or refurbished Prius battery.

Deciding between replacement and repair is where it gets tricky. A refurbished hybrid battery will be less expensive, but you also need to take into account the fact that a new hybrid battery will perform better and last longer than a refurbished one. Remember, a new Prius battery can last anywhere between 12 and 15 years. If your dead hybrid battery is near or at the tail end of its lifespan, buying a new hybrid battery makes more sense from a practical and financial standpoint.

Dealership vs private seller for a new hybrid battery?

Is your hybrid battery still under warranty? Then you’re better off taking your Prius to the dealership so they can replace or refurbish your hybrid battery free of charge.

If not, you can still decide to ask the dealership for help—that is if you don’t mind spending a fortune and enduring unnecessary waiting times. Remember, a replacement battery from a dealership can cost anywhere between $2,300 and $2,500, and that doesn’t even count labor costs.

If you want a much cheaper option and less hassle, you can go to a third-party hybrid-specialty shop or a private seller instead. Typically, a hybrid battery replacement from a private seller costs a third of the price offered in dealerships, saving you a couple of thousand dollars in the bargain!

A word of caution: don’t go with the first private seller you encounter. As a bare minimum, find a reputable seller who offers warranties on their batteries and who has extensive experience working with hybrid batteries. Remember, a good deal isn’t only about the price, it’s also about good service and standards.

Final word

If your Prius won’t start and jump starting it doesn’t work, you will need to shop for a new or refurbished hybrid battery. If you’re near or within the South Florida area, feel free to contact our hybrid professionals at 561-299-0609 and we’ll take care of the rest.

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