A New Battery for my Prius

At the end of this alley they sold me a hybrid battery.

What do you do when the hybrid battery on your Prius dies? I didn’t know because I’d never fully appreciated the terminal nature of losing your hybrid battery. The battery is the car. When one of them goes, you can forget about what’s left. And replacing the battery is a big investment I was hoping to put off.

After the battery conked out I was driving on only the gas engine. The car was sluggish to put it politely. It actually slowed to a crawl sometimes, and I’d soon have a deep stack of traffic stuck behind me on fast-moving single-lane streets when I couldn’t push the speed above 30 MPH. One time, I was literally passed by a cement truck going uphill.

But I had an inside source on the battery problem. Pat was a friend of my mom because she was a soloist in the Methodist church choir who also sang with the San Diego Opera. But I digress. More to the point, she drove for Uber and Lift and she had a Prius that had 290,000 miles on it.

She never had to replace her battery but was dreading the prospect, so she took tremendous strides to find the best possible deals. I texted her on the subject and her responses began pouring in. The ratio was four texts from her to one of mine. She sent me web links to battery dealers from here and yon.

When I finally got on the phone with her she told me she had just got off the phone with a dealer in Pennsylvania who had a crazy low price for a new battery… about $1500, if I remember right. No, they said, we wouldn’t mail one out to San Diego.

Obviously, she was hard to get off the phone once she got onto the subject. But she gave me a lot more confidence that I’d know a good deal when I saw it.

In the end, I called a local place called hybridbatterysandiego.com. They had a pretty slick website and a guy picked up the phone the first time I called. But when I found their location, it didn’t look like any location at all. In fact, I couldn’t see the address they claimed was theirs, located on a block in Spring Valley that was a one of those commercial graveyards of slap-dash, low-rent businesses selling tires, wrecks and auto parts behind rusty gates.

I called the guy again, and he told me to find an alley next to a sign and go to the end of it. The guy was Chris, and he ran through the options real quick with me. And without giving it a lot of thought I told him to install a new one, not a reconditioned battery, though the reconditioned one would be less than half the price.

I got out of there for just under… well, never mind what I paid. If I paid too much I’m not going to tell the world. Anyrate, I have a new battery that will probably take me at least another 150K miles down the road. Let’s hope the rest of the car holds up that long.

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