John and I are very make do and mend. The idea of throwing something away because it’s old or for newer technology does not sit well with us. And if something breaks our first thought is to fix it not replace it. It’s saves loads of money (of which we have little) and its far more eco-friendly to fix something then scrap it and replace it with a new one. That’s why our (touch wood) washing machine is over 20 years old and working just fine (Ok we’ve replaced parts a couple of times); and why we still have a cathode ray tube TV (that my dad was chucking out 15 years ago because the colour definition had gone – but we fixed for £30); and why John just had to have a go at this…
We bought a Toyota Prius from our wonderful local Toyota dealership in Builth 10/11 years ago. Second hand 2005 model. Despite its dents and scrapes its been fine. The garage service and MOT it annually and fix any niggles and problems. they’re a fantastic team and should we ever need a new second-hand car we will get another Toyota because of their customer service.
A few weeks after the last service which includes a battery health check we went away for a few days in our Imps. On return john went somewhere in the Toyota and by the time he returned every warning light was on ; glowing red cars with exclamation marks VSC and break warnings… it did not look good.
Popped to the garage and were told it would be one of two things a faulty start-up which made the computers think the hybrid battery was failing; or the hybrid battery was failing. They reset the warnings and said if they don’t come back on then all is well. sadly they all came back on.
Now I know nothing about electrics/electronics/engineering or cars but the hybrid battery, I’m told is made up of a series of cells that together make up 220V and although the car is petrol and electric, once the hybrid battery fails the car dies, it will not continue to work on just petrol.
A new hybrid batter fitted by a dealer is £1200 (that’s one and a half hours of labour (£125) and the battery. The car is maybe worth scrap value without a working battery.
We don’t have £1200 or access to it in any way.
John researched refurbished batteries and they were around £300-400 but were in places like Cambridge and Coventry. Plus our wonderful garage agreed they would fit it for us at the same rate but would not be able to offer a guarantee. all fair enough, but one big problem,,,, We didn’t have a car to go and get one.
After much research and YouTube video watching our very own handyman, my John, decided he would give it a go himself. He purchased two new cells at £56 delivered and allowed himself 2 days to dismantle the car and attempt the repair. (Two cells with the thought being that the car might have managed with one failing but two it would be unlikely coupled with the garage previously assuring us that in most cases the cars are scrapped well before the hybrid batteries fail – they’d only ever had two fail in all the years…now three)
So, how did John get on? Well here’s his Vlog about it. Basically £56 and four hours and we have a working car again! Plus he only needed to replace one of the cells, so we still have a spare.
I think I’ll suggest to our Dealership that they offer this service. For £350 we’d have probably have let them do it and I bet they could do it in an hour.
But for us, here’s a better example of why we DIY… We just saved ourselves £1100!!!