Lexus hybrid parked

What should I do if my Lexus hybrid has been parked for a long time?

As the UK government has instructed the nation to stay at home and only venture out for specific, essential reasons in light of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation, many of us are being encouraged to keep our cars parked if we can. Some owners of Lexus hybrids might be wondering what will happen to their car during long periods without use, particularly when it comes to the level of charge in the batteries.

The reassuring news is that no difficult car maintenance is necessary. However, there are some tips that, if followed, can help ensure your Lexus remains in tip-top condition during an extended layoff.

Lexus hybrid parked

To recap, Lexus hybrids generally contain two batteries: a 12-volt battery (which powers systems such as the headlamps and audio) and a high-voltage hybrid system battery (which supplies the power to start the combustion engine and drive the electric motors).

The simplest way to maintain charge in both of these batteries is to simply go through the normal start procedure: press the ‘Start’ button with your foot on the brake and ensure the ‘Ready’ light is illuminated on the dashboard (you don’t have to keep your foot on the brake thereafter, but ensure your vehicle’s transmission is in ‘Park’ and the parking brake is engaged).

We recommend you put the car in ‘Ready’ mode for about 60 minutes before switching it off again and repeat the process at least once a week, providing you can carry out this procedure while adhering to the government’s advice regarding social distancing and Coronavirus (Covid-19). Please do not leave your car unattended when it is in ‘Ready’ mode.

Lexus hybrid parked

During the time that that car is in ‘Ready’ mode, you may hear and feel the internal combustion engine kick in; this is a normal part of the self-charging process. You might be tempted to switch on the radio to pass the time, or turn on other systems, but bear in mind these will consume small amounts of electrical power so it is preferable to leave them off.

Ensure the handbrake is on; there’s no need to go for a drive, although we must stress that this procedure should take place in a well-ventilated area – something to consider if you park your vehicle in a garage.

What if my Lexus isn’t a hybrid?

Our petrol and diesel cars only have a 12-volt battery, which provides the power to start the engine in addition to the other systems mentioned above. Regular start-up of the vehicle on conventional petrol and diesel engines needs approximately 20 minutes of running to put back into the battery what you remove on start up, so to maintain this battery we would suggest 60 minutes of running at least once a week.

Is there anything else I need to do?

Whether you own a hybrid or a Lexus equipped solely with an internal combustion engine, there are a few other easy car maintenance points that can ensure your Lexus hybrid remains healthy and happy during an enforced hibernation. Again, please adhere to the latest government advice regarding social distancing.

  • Check the tyre pressures are fully inflated to the recommended level and top-up if necessary. It can be a good idea to repeat this process when you first drive your car after a long period of inactivity.

Lexus hybrid parked

  • Clean the car thoroughly inside and out. If you are storing your car in a garage, make sure the vehicle is completely dry before you put it away.

Lexus hybrid parked

  • If you do plan to store your car in a garage, ensure the chosen storage area offers plenty of ventilation. If the space is secure, you could consider opening one of the car’s windows a small way to ventilate the interior. If you do this, you might have to change your car alarm’s setting to prevent it setting off the intrusion sensor – please consult your car’s manual for more information.
  • It can be beneficial to leave the vehicle with the parking brake disengaged to prevent the brakes from binding, but only do this if you are certain the car is on level terrain and isn’t going to move. Ensure the transmission is set to ‘P’ for park and place wedges or chocks, if you have them, under the wheels.

  • If you have a 12V battery trickle charger, or a solar panel charger, and are confident using them, then these are a good option to keep the battery fully charged while the vehicle is stationary for a period of time.

Lexus hybrid parked

  • If your vehicle is equipped with smart entry and start but the system isn’t operated for a long time, a battery-saving function will automatically be activated to prevent the electronic key battery and the 12-volt battery from being discharged. Battery depletion in the key is minimised by stopping the electronic key from receiving radio waves. On many models equipped with this system, it is possible to manually put the key into battery-saving mode, so please consult your car’s handbook for more information. If you aren’t planning to drive your car for a long time, consider putting the smart key in a safe place and not carrying it around with you in your pocket. This will prevent the car from ‘waking up’ unnecessarily should you happen to walk near it in your garage or driveway.
  • If the vehicle will be kept on private property (such as inside a garage) for the duration of its storage, you could consider applying for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). This informs the DVLA that the car is off the road and you will receive a refund of any remaining full months of tax. However, you won’t be able to drive your car legally until you tax it again, so it is only advisable if you are positive you won’t use your car for a long time. You can read more information about how to SORN your car here.

Read more: update on dealer network, servicing and repair work during Covid-19

Comments (10)

  1. I’ve only had my RX450AH TAKUMI just over a month and I do not have a manual or any means to get one as the dealership is closed. I have found a battery in the boot, is this the battery that charges the lights etc as I have a smart charger which I could connect to keep the battery charged. TIA.

  2. Hi. My RC now says “hybrid not working” What do I do? It has been sat for only 2 weeks. I now need to use it and its dead. Is there a magic start process to turn the engine over?

    1. Hi Jason,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us. We’re sorry to hear about this. Your nearest Lexus centre will be best placed to help you further. We will email you in order to gain additional details and put your nearest dealer in touch with you directly.

      Thanks.

  3. My car has been parked for few days and I tried to start it didn’t. I have tried to start it with jump leads, Yesterday power button was working and it was showing key not detected. I have changed battery for key, today I have tried to start the power button is not working, this was weird situation I came across to, can you please tell me what problem can be with this?
    My vehicle reg is GJ61FUY

    1. Hi Rizwan,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We’re sorry to hear about the issue you’re experiencing with your CT. We will email you directly in order to gain additional details and put your nearest Lexus centre in touch with you directly. Our technicians are best equipped to discuss this with you in more detail and make any necessary recommendations.

      Thanks.

  4. My 2008 GS450h needs a new 12v battery. How can I source one asap when the dealers are shut? Reg FN58TDZ. The AA can’t obtain one.

    1. Hi Martin,

      Thank you for getting in touch with us. Your nearest Lexus centre is best placed to discuss this further with you. At this time most of our workshops are now fully open and we will email you to gain additional details and put your nearest dealer in touch with you directly.

      Alternatively, if you would prefer to contact the dealer yourself, you can find your nearest dealer’s contact details via this link: https://www.lexus.co.uk/forms/find-a-centre

      Thanks.

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