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Old 02-15-2019, 12:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Frozen 12v battery

Had to go on a family visit from here in Maine down to Florida. The 3 week plan turned into almost 2 months down there. Not my choice, but that's what it was. Upon return I was worried about the 2 hybrids left behind all that time. If I had known the trip would turn out to be that long, I would have left both on a charger.

The Prius started right up. The old 2011 12v was fine. The Insight's 12v was dead. Dead. So I took it out of the engine bay, put it in my basement to thaw and then put it back in the garage on the charger. 24 hours later there was still no life. 48 hours later still nothing. Date on the battery was May 2013. Before I left, I made sure that the hybrid battery was topped out.

So... got a new battery and installed it. The Insight started right up. Hybrid battery indicator showed empty. Not too worried, because the manual said it would show up empty after a 12v disconnect. Within a few minutes of driving the hybrid battery showed up full. Radio anti theft code was input and all seems fine.

Both cars sat in my unheated garage through 2 very cold spells. One was the "Vortex", but we barely slipped below zero. Below zero temperatures don't show up as much as they used to, but are still expected here in Maine during our Winter season.

Anyone else find a dead or frozen 12v after the cold January weather?
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The battery is almost 6 years old, and likely was a dying battery due to age. Cold weather will exploit a dying battery's weaknesses.
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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IMHO, ANY 12V battery over two years old is on borrowed time.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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We’ve grown used to everlasting batteries. Why, back in my younger days....

It has been COLD this winter. We’ve had 2 batteries that were 5 years old crap out on us. When it’s time to go, it’s time to go.
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I'd own a Karmann Ghia, but prefer to not freeze in the winter!
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arbus View Post
Weve grown used to everlasting batteries. Why, back in my younger days....

It has been COLD this winter. Weve had 2 batteries that were 5 years old crap out on us. When its time to go, its time to go.
All IMHO and influenced by the Phoenix climate...

I'm pretty sure long lasting 12V batteries are a thing of the past... at least most of the time.

A huge percentage of batteries sold in the U.S. are made in Mexico by Johnson Controls. Optima is also owned by Johnson Controls and made in Mexico. In my experience, the overall quality of batteries has declined substantially over the last 5-10 years or so. I believe there's a correlation between the two with likely causation.

Optima is flat out no longer the premium brand it once was... at least not with their Prius offerings... which is kitten-like in terms of battery loading. I've seen a ton of problems with the Optima Yellow Tops right outside their warranty period.

I routinely pull 7-10 year old Yuasa (made in Japan) batteries out of Priuses here in Phoenix. Most batteries get chewed up and spat out in 2-3 years.

Further complicating the issue is the incorporation of more recycled materials - good for the environment - bad for purity, quality and longevity.

Additionally, many cars seem to be going the same route as Honda with lower float voltage for the slight fuel economy improvement shifting the environmental/economic impact from mpg to battery production/pollution.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm the proud new owner of a 2010 Honda Insight LX, which I purchased last month from a dealer in Indianapolis.

A couple of weeks ago, during the polar vortex, I went to start my car in the morning (parked outside), and my car resorted to using the conventional starter. The Honda-branded battery (could it have been the original?) couldn't deliver anything more than a rapid series of solenoid clicks. I got a jump start from my emergency road service and drove to the local Firestone shop, and took advantage of their promotional sale on Interstate batteries. It hasn't been cold enough lately to test the conventional starter, but I've been enjoying delightfully long "auto stops" during red lights.

I'll be heading back to the Firestone shop tomorrow morning to replace the car's mismatched Mastercraft and Michelin tires with a full set of Bridgestone Ecopia EP422s, inspired by the recommendations on this forum.
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Old 02-28-2019, 10:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The Insight today.

Yep. Guess I was lucky to get well over 5 years out of the original battery. New battery went in and everything seems back to normal. The battery and Insight got tested yesterday morning, easily starting the car when it was 2 degrees below zero. Insight was outside overnight.

Had to go to South Portland yesterday, so I reset Trip A to see what the MPG on the MID would look in such cold weather. 53 miles later, the MID showed 49.9 mpg, so figure 47-48 mpg actual for the trip. Not too bad in single number temperatures. What really surprised me was on the way back I had to drive back roads instead the interstate (Turnpike here in Maine) to make a stop at our local feed store to pick up a bag of bird seed, and AutoStop kicked in at the traffic lights.

Pretty cool. Literally.
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