12-v battery drain - Kia Niro Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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12-v battery drain

With less than 400 mi on my Kia Niro plug-in the car failed to start. The 12-v battery was dead. I had driven it only 4 hours earlier. I didn't leave the light on or anything similar to make that happen.

I had the car towed to Kia. The code history showed no problems. Once they recharged the battery all seemed to be fine. I have doubts. What caused this problem? I don't want to be left stranded again! A possible cause: We've been driving only short trips and using EV exclusively. Is that a problem?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 04:00 PM
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Did you press the battery recharge button?
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Griswald View Post
Did you press the battery recharge button?
I'm pretty sure the PHEV doesn't have a battery recharge button. On the PHEV it's an automatic thing that engages when needed unless disabled manually.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iminoff View Post
With less than 400 mi on my Kia Niro plug-in the car failed to start. The 12-v battery was dead. I had driven it only 4 hours earlier. I didn't leave the light on or anything similar to make that happen.

I had the car towed to Kia. The code history showed no problems. Once they recharged the battery all seemed to be fine. I have doubts. What caused this problem? I don't want to be left stranded again! A possible cause: We've been driving only short trips and using EV exclusively. Is that a problem?
You might want to check if the Aux Battery Saver function is enabled. It's in User Settings -> Other Features -> Aux Battery Saver. I've had the PHEV for over a year and have seen the Aux Saver message on the dashboard a few times, mostly when the car has been parked for several days. In my current commute I use EV mode exclusively all week, only driving gar enough to require the ICE on weekends. I haven't had any aux battery issues so far.

Jim
Southern Maryland
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Battery recharge button? Can you help me with that? What is it? Where is it? Thanks!!!!
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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I failed to mention that the Kia is a plug-in electric, a Niro. Since the car has only been driven short distances since we got it, it has hardly been in PHEV mode. That's why I'm wondering if there is a drain on the 12-volt small battery because it's not been recharging in PHEV mode. I could not find any information on this in the manual or on the internet. Right now we will start driving ONLY in PHEV mode, in the hopes that it will keep the 12-volt battery charged.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 07:13 PM
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Didnt realize the PHEV does not have the recharge button.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by iminoff View Post
Battery recharge button? Can you help me with that? What is it? Where is it? Thanks!!!!
There isn't one on the PHEV, but there is a software configuration for "Battery Saver Plus" that you should check. See the previous post from jmurphEV


You might have gotten a lemon for a 12V battery, or there might be something about your car that is causing a high parasitic load on the battery when the car is turned off, or the Battery Saver Plus might be turned off for some reason. Or there might be something preventing the 12V battery from receiving a charge when it should be getting a charge.



I recall reading at least one other person on this forum who said their 12V battery was defective and needed to be replaced. If it was me, that's what I'd hope for, because it's a fairly trivial job (aside from trying to remove the battery from a tight space), and it seems to be a pretty rare thing, but not unheard of.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-30-2019, 10:35 PM
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In response to your initial post: I drive my PHEV exclusively in EV mode for weeks at a time without starting the ICE. I haven't encountered this problem. But you should be aware that there are a few lights that you could leave on by accident that won't automatically shut off. The light that comes on when the rear-hatch is open is one of them. The others that I'm aware of (if your trim level has them) are the vanity lights over the sun visors. Also, my impression is that the 12V battery that comes with the PHEV is nowhere near as robust as the 12V battery you might be accustomed to in a conventional car. For example, with a really good battery in a conventional car, I could leave on any of the lights I've just described for maybe eight hours and still be able to start the car. I'm not certain, but I don't think the Niro's PHEV 12V battery will tolerate that kind of usage.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-02-2019, 07:23 PM
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FWIW, I had the exact same issue. Left the PHEV plugged in overnight, came out and it was completely dead. Per some suggestions on this board, trickle charged the 12v battery for 6 hours, tried again and it booted up normally. Drove it around for 15 minutes in Sport mode to force the ICE to run and charge the traction battery, although it showed full 26 mi range. Everything seemed normal, so put it back in garage. Came out 6 hours later, it was dead again. I DID have the battery saver plus checked, and I had never had it indicated it had needed to charge the 12v battery (which it does if it has been triggered, the next time you boot up). Trickle charged it again so I could get it out of my garage and had Kia have it towed to the dealer. They found the battery failed their load test, but Kia insisted they fully charge the battery and try again. Surprise, after a full charge it passed. No explanation of why it failed with no trouble codes. It is conceivable that the hatch had been slightly ajar overnight, but then why didn't Battery Saver + come on and recharge it, especially since the car was on the charger. Spoke to Kia directly- no joy. Battery has to fail the test twice or they won't replace. And they charge over $200 for their dinky battery if I wanted to pay for it myself (plus labor).


I reluctantly took the car back- nothing else I could do. It's been several months with no reoccurance. I did replace the hatch light with a LED so if it does get left on it will be a much smaller drain. But I also carry a 12000 mah portable car jump starter just in case. The absurdity of driving a PHEV with a GIANT traction battery but being stuck if the dinky 12v battery somehow gets discharged and having to carry a THIRD battery is not lost on me, but it is on Kia. I do love this car, but am very disappointed with Kia's poor engineering around this and their unsatisfactory response to its causing this issue.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-02-2019, 09:56 PM
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FWIW....I agree, but Tesla does the same thing with a dinky 12v lead acid battery in the frunk that will strand you too. Which is exactly why I carry a lithium ion jump starter too.
BTW, these dinky batteries are relatively cheap. In the Tesla, expect 2 year life, probably the same on Niro.
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