How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Toyotapro Your Own Question
Toyotapro, ASE master tech
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 9974
Experience:  ASE Certified, 10+ years Lexus and Toyota Certified
Type Your Toyota Question Here...
Toyotapro is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My 2008 Toyota Prius wont start. When I first inserted the

This answer was rated:

My 2008 Toyota Prius won't start. When I first inserted the key and pressed power the malfunction indicator lamp warning light came on and then nothing would work after that. Is there anything I can do to get it running without going to a dealership?


Hello and thank you for using just answer!

If you turn the headlamps on will they function?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I don't know but I will go check. The locks will not work as I tried to open the trunk using both the key remote and the locks on the door with nothing happening.

Check the headlamps really quick for me and tell me what happens.

Also would be helpful to know the mileage on the car.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

A little over 50,000. I had the 50,000 mile service done about 2 months ago. I'm going to check the lights right now.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The lights will not turn on. Is it the battery?

Yes this is a battery issue.

But this car takes a special battery called a AGM battery, it is located inside the car in the right rear fender area and can only be purchased from a dealer (about $130).

If you do not want to have it towed you can however jump start this like any other car, either at the battery or if you open the hood and open the fuse block behind the driver headlamp there is a jump location there as well.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
So, the battery is in the back of the car and can be jumped like a battery on a non-hybrid car? There are 2 batteries in the back, correct? Is it obvious which is which? Can the battery be charged or only jumped? Sorry for all the questions and thank you for the help. I'm going to try to get to the battery now but I don't think I can get the trunk open.

The trunk is an electronic latch so bad battery means you would have to jump it under the hood or crawl from the back seat to get access.

I woudl open the hood, remove the black cover from the fuse block behind the driver headlamp to expose the red cover for the jump location there to get power to the car.

Yes this car can also be "charged" just like any other car, but you MUST use a battery charger that has a low 10 amp setting, if you try to charge at above 10 amps it will not work, the AGM battery has to be slow charged and from what I have seen on these once the battery is fully discharged (such as leaving a light on overnight) then it is never good or reliable again so YES you need to plan on replacing this battery either way, I know that is $130 of your money but I am looking out for your best interest here and providing an unbiased opinion from my knowledge and experience of these cars.


Yes there are 2 bateries on this car, this is the 12 volt battery that looks just like a standard car battery, I would not discuss the hybrid battery with you that is under the back seat because it is way too dangerous for an owner to mess with and also not the issue here.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Ok. I appreciate the answers. The battery to be jumped is in the front of the car then and to get to it I need to remove the black cover that is on the passenger side or the liner that is over the whole front of the car? I didn't leave a light on so I'm not sure why the battery went dead. Also, letting it set for a short time is not a problem, i.e. the car will likely start again, but letting it set for a couple of days will drain the battery and then it won't start. Is that correct? Was the malfunction indicator lamp indicating that the battery was dead or is it possible something else is wrong? I want to find the battery before I let you go, and again I really appreciate the help. I'm going to do that now.

There is no warning before a battery dies, I am not saying that you left something on to cause this either. Sometimes batteries are just bad and die for no reason.


I think I confused you on the battery location.......

-The battery is located in the BACK of the car INSIDE the car, you have to remove all the floor panels that pop out in the cargo area to access it on the passenger side.

-This car has a auxiliary location under the hood where you can jump start or charge it if you cannot access the battery, read your owners manual as well and it goes over this in detail, what I am proposing is that you use the auxiliary jump location INSIDE the fuse block under the hood to get power to the car so you can charge or jump start it.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes. Sorry about that. I found the auxiliary location under the hood. There is a small red plastic cover that has a + sign on it under a larger black cover. Under the red cover is a screw and bolt. That is what the cable gets hooked to, correct? If we jump it, and get the car going, and it runs for a couple of hours, will the battery get charged enough that I can restart the car if I turn it off for 10 min or even let it set for 24 hours? Or is this something that once it's running I basically have one shot to get to where I'm going and then I'm dead again?

One shot then you are dead again once turned off.

This car does not have an alternator and does not recharge the battery quickly like on a normal car, like I said 2 times above you are not going to save this battery, you are going to have to replace it, it has been too far discharged.

Also when you do jump start the car you may have to leave the cables on for several mimutes to get enough power to the system since the battery is completely flat.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Ok. I'm not trying to save the battery. It's just I'm at my grandparents house about 3 hours from where I live and I just want to be sure I make it back there, and then know what my options are for getting it to a dealership. Once I'm going, I should be fine though, correct? Thank you very much for the assistance. I would have read the owners manual but I bought the car used and it did not have one with it. When I asked for one from the dealership, they said it is online but currently the online version is not working very well for me. We're going to try charging it to see if we can at least get it running, and then tomorrow see about getting another battery. One last question, about how long does it take to change a battery? Thank you again for the help!

battery replacements take about 15 minutes, if you go to you should be able to locate a dealer along the way that is closer, call ahead to be sure they have a battery in stock.

Once the car is in "ready" mode it does not use the 12 volt battery, it runs off the hybrid system basically so as long as you do not push the start button again once running you will be fine.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thanks so much. We actually got it running and I think it was something funny with the parking mechanism. When I couldn't start it that was the only thing that would light up, the parking button, and it kept blinking. Once we had it going after using a charger, a message came up on the pannel saying something about the parking transmission and to park on a flat surface and use the parking brake. I drove it a little and then actually shut it off and restarted it with no problems. So if it wasn't the battery, maybe something got off with the electronics of the parking. When I get back to where I live I will definitely get everything checked out. I feel much better and really appreciate the help!

I am still telling you this is a 12 volt battery issue, the shift mechanism acts really screwey when the voltage is really low, do not play the game of chance with this one if you are traveling, it can still leave you stranded if you shut it off. You need to get this battery replaced as soon as possible. Best of luck to you and safe travels.


Toyotapro and other Toyota Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Yes. I will not take chances as I don't want to be left on the side of the road, and I will get the battery replaced asap. Thanks again for the assistance.