Get More From Your Prius: Tips For Greater Enjoyment of Your Hybrid

Prius Tips
Customize your Prius to your liking and convenience. Getty

You love your Prius. But maybe you'd love it more if you could have a little more control? How about turning off that irritating backup beeping? Or resetting the maintenance/oil change light?  

Your Prius Is Susceptible To a Dead Battery

You would think with a Prius having such a massive bank of batteries there would always be enough juice to get things going, right? Sadly, this is not the case. Your Prius uses the same type of 12-volt battery that other gas hogs use to start the engine, but hopefully needs a jump start less often.

Those big banks of batteries your thinking of (the ones that make your Prius a hybrid) are commonly referred to as “traction batteries” because they serve the sole purpose of powering, or being charged from, your wheels.

Running the AC 

Did you know that you can keep your Prius cool while you’re sitting, without worrying about killing the battery? The Prius is equipped with a remote (via the key fob) activated Air conditioner which uses the traction battery rather than the 12-volt battery. To activate it, you need to be sitting in the car with the doors closed. Hold the AC button down for a few seconds and things will launch into motion. The doors will lock (apparently a security feature) and the AC will start to cool you off. It won’t work if the car thinks it’s not hot enough, but you can override this by setting the climate control to LO. 

Maintenance Light Reset

You maintain your Prius religiously.

Don’t you? Whether you do or you do not (that’s your business), there are times when you really, really, really want that maintenance light on your dash to turn off. Some people can simply ignore it. For others, it glares at them, mocking them and haunting them from the dashboard. Here’s how to turn the thing off:

  1. Turn the car on using the power button, but don’t step on the brake pedal.
  2. Move the electronic odometer to the normal mileage setting (odometer display).
  3. Turn the car off using the power button.
  4. Press the trip meter reset button, holding it down for 5 seconds. While you have it pressed, tap the Power button twice.

At this point, you should see the mileage flash to all zeros then switch to showing your actual mileage. The light should now be reset. Remember to stay off the brakes during this process. 

Turning off the beeping reverse alarm

If your Prius has the very annoying reversing beep, you can turn it off at home, from inside the vehicle. Here’s how:

  1. Turn the car on to the IG-ON setting.
  2. Touch the trip meter control until it just says ODO, displaying your car’s actual mileage, not the trip meter mileages. 
  3. Turn off the car using the Power button.
  4. With the brake pedal depressed Power the car to the READY setting. 
  5. Quickly (within 5 seconds of power-up!), hold down the Trip/ODO button for 10 seconds, but don’t let go.
  6. While still holding the Trip button, use the gear shift to put the car in Reverse, then back into Park, and then let go of the button. The display will say “b-on” or “b-off.” 
  7. Use the Trip/ODO button to change the b-on to b-off (the “b” stand for beep!).
  1. Turn the car off using the Power button and then do a test run to see if it stuck.