Hybrid Pros vs Mechanics Who Work on Hybrids
A new customer came to us after his hybrid battery had failed numerous times. His old mechanic had very little experience working on failed hybrid batteries, but thought that cell switching was the best and cheapest method to get the hybrid up and running again. The auto shop located two bad cells in the battery and replaced them with better used cells. The car started right up and the hybrid owner was pleased that the cost for the diagnosis, two better used cells and the installation was a lot cheaper than a new or used hybrid battery.
The vehicle ran fine for about 5 weeks before the hybrid battery failed again. The owner had the vehicle towed back to the mechanic only to find out that both of the new/used replacement cells that they had just installed had failed. The auto shops warranty on used cells was 30 days, so the owner bought two more new/used cells and had them installed. Car started right up and the owner was assured that it was just a freak coincidence and it wouldn’t happen again.
The vehicle owner went to start his car the very next day and the battery had failed again. Because the cells were still covered by the warranty, the auto shop paid to have the car towed to their shop. That’s right, the two cells that had just been installed to replace the other two cells that just been installed had failed again. The battery pack for this hybrid vehicle contains 28 battery modules and each module contains 6 cells for a grand total of 168 cells. That’s when the owner decided it was time to take his hybrid to a shop that specialized in hybrid repairs and hybrid batteries. His old mechanic had been using a simple voltmeter to determine if a cell was bad or good, but that’s all a voltmeter can tell you.
The best and most expensive “Off-the-Shelf” battery technology does a decent job of diagnosing some battery cell properties , it doesn’t provide the kind of information necessary to maximize the performance of your hybrid battery. The only way to maximize the potential of every cell in every module contained in a hybrid battery pack is to design the technology yourself and that’s exactly what we did.
Our proprietary technology allows us to accurately evaluate 11 different individual battery cell properties, including capacity, voltage and internal resistance etc., of every cell in every module of you battery pack.
The first diagnostic test using our proprietary technology determined that battery issues were isolated to block 7 and that block 7 was weak. We ran the tests again with brand new cells in place of the two bad used cells in block 7 and block 7 was still weak even with brand new cells. We also noticed that the voltage on block 7 would go from 15.5v to -15.5 volts which is virtually impossible.
As hybrid and hybrid battery experts, we know that only two things that can cause this; damaged wiring or a failed computer. A quick check of the wiring revealed heavy corrosion all around the wiring harness, but it’s not uncommon for this to happen if you live near the beach. Closer examination revealed that the real problem wasn’t the corrosion, it was the damage caused to the bus bar wiring underneath the corrosion during a previous attempt to repair the battery.
We cleaned off the corrosion, replaced the wiring harness and replaced the 28 battery modules in the old battery with 28 perfectly matched and balanced remanufactured battery modules. The car started right up and has been running without an issue for the last 18 months. The only time we see the customer and his hybrid now is when he brings it in for maintenance and an oil change every 10,000 miles.