Social distancing might be a good thing for mankind right now, but it’s proven to be troublesome for some hybrid vehicle owners. More specifically, it’s led to issues for hybrid owners working from home or staying home more often without properly maintaining their hybrid battery.

According to Dave Callari with DC Battery Hub, a leading supplier of aftermarket hybrid electric vehicle battery packs, inactivity is a killer for hybrid batteries.

“As we have been stating since day one, inactivity kills a hybrid battery,” Callari said. “Vehicles are sitting for long periods of time and some have a low amount of miles driven in the last year. This does not bode well for the life and performance of the hybrid battery. They need to be ‘exercised’ to maintain their optimal performance.”

What is meant by exercised?

To maintain optimal battery performance, the batteries must be used.

This can be done by driving the vehicle, but there is also a maintenance process you can follow. This consists simply of putting the car in “ready” mode for about 60 minutes once per week. Toyota highlighted this process in a recent post.

To maintain proper charge, simply go through the normal start procedure. Press the “start” button with your foot on the brake and ensure that the “ready” light is illuminated on the dashboard.

There’s no need to keep your foot on the brake after the “ready” light comes on, but you need to ensure your vehicle’s transmission is in “park” and that the parking brake is engaged.

Toyota and DC Battery Hub both recommend keeping the car in “ready” more for about 60 minutes before switching if off again. During this time, you may feel the internal combustion engine kick in…this is a normal part of the the self-charging process.

A couple other tips:

  • Resist the urge to turn on the radio or other systems as this will consume power.
  • Make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area.
  • Repeat this process once per week.

There you have it. A small amount of time spent maintaining your hybrid battery can save you big headaches later.

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Author: David Fuller

David Fuller is OnAllCylinders' managing editor. During his 20-year career in the auto industry, he has covered a variety of races, shows, and industry events and has authored articles for multiple magazines. He has also partnered with mainstream and trade publications on a wide range of editorial projects. In 2012, he helped establish OnAllCylinders, where he enjoys covering all facets of hot rodding and racing.