What does vacuuming your Toyota Prius or Camry hybrid have to do with maintaining the car?
Here’s the deal: The air intake vent for the battery cooling system is in the backseat where the right rear door meets the pillar post. Any dog hair, cottonwood fuzz and even your kids’ gummy bears can get sucked into the vent and then pushed through to channels beneath the battery, where the air is supposed to circulate to keep the battery cooler.
If there’s a lot of fuzz, pet hair or other debris clogging these passageways, the battery can’t cool as well. That wears and tears on the battery. And in fact, if the temperature in the battery compartment gets hotter than 110 degrees, it starts to degrade the battery.
At CARS of America, we can use a boroscope (a camera with a flexible wand) to take a peak at the air cooling passages around your battery. We’ll be able to tell if there’s enough debris in there to cause a restriction or other problem. Fortunately, the ones we have checked so far have been pretty clean. Unfortunately, if we do find one where the passageways are packed with hair, we’ll have to remove the entire battery pack from the car to clean it. Due to the cost, it’s better to do this as part of a battery reconditioning or rebalancing, not as a stand-alone service.
Our advice: Vacuum more than you would in a non-hybrid!