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How to Disconnect Hybrid Batteries

by Marlon Trotsky

Hybrid vehicles that pair an electric motor with a gasoline engine to ease the vehicle's reliance on gasoline have made driving more fuel-efficient for their owners. The hybrid's "battery" is a battery pack with a number of individual cells; the exact number depends on the vehicle's make and model. Some batteries supply more than 300 volts. The battery pack, which stores energy generated by the engine, motor and regenerative braking, powers the vehicle while it's idling or moving at low speeds. As with traditional gasoline power trains, you must disconnect the vehicle's battery before attempting mechanical or electrical repairs.

Make sure the vehicle is turned off. Remove the key from the ignition before you attempt to disconnect the battery. Check to make sure the light that indicates when the hybrid system is on is not illuminated.

Prop open the hood and remove the liner, if necessary. Remove any paneling and covering over and around the battery. Take off the service plug by pulling the handle down and out. On a Ford Escape, you must turn the round disconnect switch counterclockwise then take out the switch plug. You can access it by opening the SUV's rear hatch and pulling off the carpeting. Online websites are available that give specific information about where to find the battery in specific models (see Resources).

Disconnect the negative cable from the battery. The procedure to disconnect a Honda Civic hybrid's battery is anomalous, because you must first remove the rear-seat back cushion, then set the power switch to the "Off" position.

Wait 15 minutes after you disconnect the battery before attempting mechanical or electrical repairs. After completing your repairs, replace the battery cable and service plug, making sure the handle is upright.

Tip

  • Remember to always wear protective eye wear and use insulated tools and gloves with a Class 00 rating when you attempt to disconnect the battery of a hybrid vehicle.

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About the Author

Marlon Trotsky was born in St. Paul, Minn. and graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, while minoring in sociology. His work has appeared in various print and online publications, including: "The Trentonian," "San Jose Mercury News" and "Oakland Tribune."

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Photo Credits

  • Detailansicht Hybrid Motor image by 3rdTwin from Fotolia.com