Prius Visits the Toyota Dealership for Service

Last week we had to take the Prius in to the Toyota Dealership for Service.  We bought the Prius in August and have been dealing with a particular problem since March.  The battery kept dying and the car wouldn’t start.

It happened for the first time after a drive-in worship service on Palm Sunday.  We went to start the car after worship and the battery was dead.  Tom decided he must have left the lights on and we didn’t think too much about it.  One of the ushers gave us a jump and we headed back home.

A few weeks later, after sitting in the garage overnight, the same thing happened.  Tom had to get the house battery out of the RV to jump it because you can’t make the Prius shift into neutral when it won’t start.  After that, we started an elaborate ritual to make sure everything was turned off before we turned off the car.  Radio?  Air-conditioning?  Lights?  Push the park button.  Push the power button.

The battery died again after another church service, where we were sure all we had on was the radio.  So we bought a small, portable radio for listening to church during drive-in worship.  I wanted Tom to take the car back to Toyota to have them check it, but he wanted to wait until our next service appointment.  Besides, we were busy getting ready to come to North Dakota.

Our journey out was uneventful and the Prius towed very well behind the RV.  But, the Saturday morning of Rendezvous the battery was dead again.  Fortunately one of the living history people pulled in and gave us a jump.  On our first day off, Tuesday, we decided it was time to do something about the battery.  Tom wanted to get a portable battery jumper and keep it in the car. We were all set to drive in to Williston and the battery was dead again.  The head of maintenance gave us a jump and we drove in to Williston and bought the jumper.

Tom bought a Diehard 43448 Jump Starter that is compact, quick-charging, and easy to carry.  We charged it after we got back from Williston and carried it out to the car with us the next day.  We wanted to visit Fort Buford, a couple of miles down the road.  And, of course, the Prius wouldn’t start.  Tom used the jump starter, which worked great, and we headed to Fort Buford.  After touring the Visitors Center, we went back to the car and the battery was dead again.  Tom jumped it and we discussed what to do while we drove down the road.

Obviously we needed a new battery and we needed it right away because the one we had was getting worse.  Should we drive in to Williston and get a new battery at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts?  Priuses use special batteries.  Would O’Reilly’s even have what we needed?  Or should we take it in to the Toyota Dealer?  The closest Toyota Dealer was 135 miles away in Dickinson.  But the car was still under warranty and something was definitely wrong.  We called Dan Porter Toyota in Dickinson and they were able to work us in the next day.

Prius at Dan Porter Toyota
Talking to the service guy
A short wait

Thursday morning we headed into Dickinson, after using our battery jump starter yet again.  We were glad to be taking care of the problem because we didn’t want to get stranded out someplace isolated out here without any cell coverage.  We arrived at Dan Porter at our scheduled time and within an hour we had a new battery at no charge.  It would have been faster, but they wanted to make sure there wasn’t a parasitic drain on the battery that had caused it to go bad.  We were glad to get the new battery and glad we had taken the time to drive to Dickinson to get it repaired.

The Prius is running great, back to its reliable starting self.  We really like the car and love the 65 mpg we get over all the miles we have to drive.  And, if anything goes wrong with it again, we will definitely get it taken care of right away.