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Can you still drive a Prius with a bad hybrid battery and code P0A80?

Prius with a bad hybrid battery and code P0A80

For the answer to this question we are going to speak in terms of what NORMALLY happens when the hybrid battery fails in the Prius (non-plug in edition). The majority of Toyota hybrid batteries fail because one or more modules (cells) has died. When a module fails, the car will illuminate a warning light showing a triangle with an exclamation point in the center or a warning light that says “check hybrid system.” Sometimes you may hear a loud fan sound coming from the trunk area.

Again, MOST of the time the car will keep driving for a short time, but you may notice some abnormal behaviors. Our customers report that their Prius becomes sluggish and may hesitate upon acceleration. The car may refuse to travel at your desired speed, topping out at 35mph or so. Luckily, hybrid battery failure will rarely leave you stalled on the side of the road the moment after the failure occurs. The car was designed to enter a “fail safe” mode so that you can safely pull over travel at the speed of molasses to your destination.

Don't Avoid Repairs

 Now, just because the Prius is still driving with a bad battery doesn’t mean you should avoid repairs and assume it will run on the gas engine indefinitely. This situation is going to rapidly get worse as the battery with a bad module begins to overheat due to prolonged use.

A note about clearing the warning lights to continue driving

We’ve had several customers clear the warning lights multiple times in an attempt to put off repairing the hybrid battery. This is essentially kicking the can down the road and at the end of the road is a ticking time bomb. When you override the warning lights, the problem doesn’t go away and repeatedly clearing the lights and driving can make one or more of your battery modules explode. This is not a fun experience…there will be a very loud sound and the cabin will fill with smoke!

Unique situations

Sometimes the Prius hybrid battery will fail in other ways than the run of the mill module failure. In those situations (ECU failure, leaking modules, damage to sensors etc) the car may stall or allow you to drive for a very short period of time and then be stuck in neutral once its turned off and back on again.

Prius with a bad hybrid battery and code P0A80
Prius with a bad hybrid battery and code P0A80
The best thing you can do in either situation is to buy/rent a diagnostic code reader or have a mobile mechanic come out and take a look. If your car is still driving normally and you feel safe doing so, places like AutoZone and O’Reilly’s will do a free diagnostic scan for you. Please remember that your safety is the priority, don’t drive in unsafe conditions.
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