How To Jump-Start a Prius

Toyota's OG hybrid can actually have a dead battery from time-to-time. Let's solve that.

Time Needed: 5-10 minutes, Difficulty: Beginner, Cost: Less Than $50

Dead batteries are a real buzzkill. A dead battery on a hybrid car can be even worse, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. If you drive a Prius and end up with a dead battery, you can still jump-start the car to get going, but there’s more to the process that you need to be aware of.

Car Bibles’ editors have jumped through all the hoops when it comes to jump-starting cars, even the Prius, and are here to help you get started. Grab a set of jumper cables, find a friend willing to help you get your car started, and read on to find out how to jump-start a Toyota Prius.

Let’s jump in.

The Safety Brief 

Electricity is no joke, and a little preparation and know-how will keep you safe.

  1. Any time you’re working with electricity in a vehicle, we’d typically tell you to disconnect the battery. Well, that obviously won’t work here. The biggest thing to remember is that once the cables are connected to the donor car, the other end of the lead is hot, or electrified. Handle them with the utmost care and attention.
  2. Don’t try to jump-start a corroded, damaged, or leaking battery. There’s a reason it’s not providing enough juice to start the Prius.
  3. Don’t touch the clips together. This is especially important when the other end is connected to the power car, but it’s a good idea to just be cautious with them at all times.

The Tools and Parts You Need To Jump-Start a Prius

You won’t need much to jump-start a Prius, or any car for that matter. 

Jumper Cables

Gloves (Optional)

Power/Assist Car

Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius Toyota

The Job: How To Jump-Start a Prius

We will refer to the assisting car as the power car.

1. Find The Fuse Box Under The Hood

The Prius’ jump-start terminals are located under the fuse box cover.

2. Connect Red Cables To the Red Terminals

Connect to the Prius first and then to the vehicle that is providing charging power.

3. Connect Black Cable To the Black Terminal on the Power Car Battery

Connect the negative cable to the negative battery terminal on the assist car. 

4. Connect Black Cable To Ground Point On Prius

Carefully find a spot away from the battery to connect the last black cable. The area should be metal and should not be painted.

5. Start Power Car and Let Run

In the assist car, start the engine and let it run for five minutes.

6. Start Prius and Wait

Start the Prius and wait for the notification that the car is ready.

7. Disconnect Jumper Cables In Reverse Order

Carefully disconnect each cable in reverse order from the way you originally connected them.

The engine bay of a 1966 Ford Bronco.
Engine bays used to be so simple.

Your Questions, Our Answers on jump-starting A Prius Battery

Q: What If My Car Doesn’t Start After Being Jumped?

A: In the best case scenario, you just didn’t let the Prius or the donor car run for long enough before disconnecting the leads. In the worst case scenario, the battery needs to be replaced or there’s something wrong with the car’s electrical system. If a second jump-start doesn’t work, it’s time to plot your next move. 

Q: What If My Hybrid Drive Battery Needs To Be Replaced?

A: If you’re certain that the main hybrid battery needs to be replaced, a jump-start isn’t going to help you. Key signs of hybrid battery issues include a drop in fuel economy, the gas engine having to work harder than usual, or dim lights and struggling electrics when the car is running on hybrid power alone.

Q: How Long Should I Run My Prius After Jump-Starting?

A: Toyota says that it’s best to leave your car in Ready mode for eight hours to allow the battery to fully recharge itself, but that may not be an option for everyone. If you’re able, connect the battery to a charger.

Video Tutorial on jump-starting A Prius

Best Places To Buy Tools and Parts to jump-start A Prius

It doesn’t take an army of tools to jump-start a Prius, but it can still be hard to find the right products. That’s why Car Bibles’ editors selected a few of their favorites to get you started on the right foot. They include the NOCO Boost Plus Battery Booster, Energizer Jumper Cables, and Mechanix Gloves.

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