So, it’s no secret that ChrisFix is one of the biggest car YouTubers ever. Everybody secretly watches him because his content is always both helpful and relaxing to watch. But what do you do after you’ve super-cleaned everything? You replace and upgrade the battery on the most important hybrid of all time, the Toyota Prius.
The iconic Toyota hybrid is on a high right now. Everybody wants the 2023 Prius model, which is much more powerful and better looking. But the old Prius models are still in high demand. The powertrain is just as reliable as any other Toyota except the battery, which not many DIY mechanics are familiar with.
ChirsFix is now proving that if you know what you’re doing, you can buy an old Prius that seemingly has major issues cheaply, fix it, and make a huge profit. To be clear, Chris has already done a Prius battery video four years ago, but this one is better because it’s a battery upgrade, not just a replacement.
This video targets a 2013 Prius, but applies to every 3rd-gen model built from 2010 to 2015. The car was bought on Auto Tempest for $2,700 and he’s already made a video on it, detailing the interior, refreshing the paint, and fixing the exhaust. That video has 4 million views, so he’s technically making a profit already. But if the battery is fixed, this suddenly becomes a $8,000 Toyota.
A Toyota dealership quoted the battery replacement at $4,600. So instead, ChrisFix is installing an aftermarket pack from a company called Electron Hybrid Solution for just $2,200. Instead of the original prismatic battery cells, this new battery uses 14 cylindrical modules, which makes them better at delivering power, and recharging under regen braking. In addition, air can flow between the cylinders, which eliminates the overheating and premature deterioration of old Toyota cells.
Preparation is key
As with any DIY job, preparation is key to a successful repair. ChrisFix shows you how to remove all the trim pieces that need to be out of the way before accessing the battery. As everybody knows, a Prius battery cell is under the trunk floor, right behind the rear seats. But there is also a normal 12V car battery that needs to be disconnected.
To get to the cell, Chris removes the tray, as well as a cover and the liners on the sides of the trunk. Special attention is paid to a bright orange piece of plastic, which acts like a kill switch. The whole module is coming out of the car, so a bunch of wires needs to be disconnected first before six 12mm bolts are undone, freeing the broken battery from the Prius.
The battery weighs 90 lbs
The Prius battery doesn’t have anywhere near the capacity of an EV. I think it’s about half a kWh. However, it’s still very heavy at almost 90 lbs. I’ve got a bad back, so I’d never attempt lifting that alone, but ChrisFix shows a technique where you slide it on cardboard closer to the trunk opening so at least you’re not setting deadlifting world records.
After the battery is out, things get a little crazy. After the metal cover is removed, we learn each old cell needs to be disconnected. That’s 28 bus connector bolts that need to come off… on both sides. Several other cables and sensors need to be removed. If you don’t want to do this, the same company sells a whole battery system for $2,738.
The whole process of bolting on and wiring up the new batteries seems frightening for a novice, even though ChrisFix does a good job of clearly explaining everything. But maybe it’s worth having the original control unit and saving some money. Plus, it’s a perfect weekend job. By the way, 54 inch-pounds is 4.5 foot-pounds, and here’s a helpful little converter for you.
Fixing the battery gets rid of an issue where the whole motor would violently vibrate when you shut it off because of how a hybrid’s transmission works. Also, mileage has substantially improved, from under 30 to 68.8 mpg. If you’re dealing with either of those problems, your beloved Prius might need a new battery too.
The whole process of taking out the battery and repairing it seems pretty idiot-proof, which is a testament to Toyota’s engineering Hybrid buyers care about the environment; they don’t want to send their Prius to the junkyard. So I predict every Toyota Prius owner will want to watch this video.