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Discussion Starter #1
With my Kia hybrid parked for the winter I have been starting it every few weeks but today I went out and it was dead. I did the 12 volt reset thing and it started and I was wondering if I should put a battery tender on the battery. The temperature has been below zero at night and on occasion during the day. I didn't know ifa battery tender would hurt something in the Kia's electrical system or not. I would appreciate any thoughts on the subject.
 

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Many years ago, I was living in northern Vermont, in the winter, and I owned an Audi that had the battery under the back seat. The battery died one night (probably I left a light on, don't recall), I hooked up an extension cord and plugged in a trickle charger. It was snowing, so I rolled up the window as far as I could without pinching the cord. I went back a few hours later to check on it and when I stuck my head in the back door, I was immediately aware that I had inhaled caustic gas.



My Niro seems to have some sort of ventilation tube hooked to the battery, but because of that experience, I'd still be reluctant to put the Aux battery on a charger without first removing it from the vehicle. Even if it doesn't kill my lungs or start a fire in my car, it might wind up corroding the upholstery.



I suspect that if you're parking it for the winter, you might be better off to leave it off for the duration rather than starting it every few weeks. My theory is that every time you start it, it experiences a brief period of low lubrication from having sat for an extended period, and perhaps it's better to only have one such period (in the spring, when you're ready to start driving again), rather than one such period every month or so.



If you do want to put the battery on a battery tender, it might be best to remove it from the vehicle. I believe that the manual recommends this (somewhere). The downside is that you are likely to lose radio presets and likely to observe that a lot of programming, fuel economy statistics, etc, is reset to factory defaults when you reconnect the battery.



If you elect to connect the battery tender while it's in the vehicle, then one thought that occurs to me is that it's probably a mistake to run the "12 volt reset thing" while the battery tender is connected, and another thought is that the manual, while not entirely clear on this subject, seems to indicate that there are some switches near the fuse panels (both under dash and under hood) that you might want to leave switched off while the battery tender is connected. I haven't investigated the fuse panels, and maybe I misunderstood what the manual was trying to communicate.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have heard on hear about a switch under the dash that turns off the hybrid system. But I think the idea of let it go until spring is maybe the best way to deal with it and if I have to use a charger then if I have to. I have two other cars and a motorcycle I take the batteries out and keep in a heated space all winter with no problems. Thanks
 

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Many years ago, I was living in northern Vermont, in the winter, and I owned an Audi that had the battery under the back seat. The battery died one night (probably I left a light on, don't recall), I hooked up an extension cord and plugged in a trickle charger. It was snowing, so I rolled up the window as far as I could without pinching the cord. I went back a few hours later to check on it and when I stuck my head in the back door, I was immediately aware that I had inhaled caustic gas.
I've always wondered about the safety of batteries inside the cabin. They occasionally explode! The PHEV battery should be safe to leave on a trickle charger, but I'd leave the hatch open.

The hybrid badyellowvette owns has a lithium 12V battery, not a lead acid like the PHEV. The reset button doesn't actually charge the battery, it simply closes a relay that was opened when the car sensed the 12V battery voltage dropping. It does this to avoid excessive drain on the battery and the potential for damage. To charge the battery, the car has to be on for 30 minutes after "reset", ideally driving it like you would do for a lead acid dead battery. Not necessary to drive it as it will recharge from the traction battery just while sitting with the car "on", but that does deplete the traction battery (not much, the 12V lithium battery is very small).

I think that for the hybrid, the first thing to do for winter storage is to disconnect the 12V battery from the system. It won't discharge (as much) if disconnected from the things you cannot turn off. There is always a trickle of discharge to keep things like the key fob and alarm system working, not to mention the "ignition" switch. There is a cable to disconnect in the side panel to do this, I believe it is pictured in the manual.

After that, it is probably safe to trickle charge the 12V - the trickle charger cannot damage sensitive electronics, they have been disconnected. The question is, is it necessary to trickle charge the 12V lithium battery and will an ordinary lead acid trickle charger even work? Absolutely a good practice for lead acid batteries. I have my motorcycle hooked up all winter (my only winterizing step other than using the center stand).

Lithium batteries are best stored at 50% charge and Apple (for one) recommends checking every 6 months and charging back to that level. I fired up my iPhone 4 yesterday after sitting for 5 years hoping to use it as a spare while my iPhone 6S undergoes service. Battery was dead and wouldn't charge. Extreme test of course, but obviously there is a risk of letting them discharge too far (some electrical use in smartphones even when off for the same reason as modern cars).

If there is a trickle charger made for lithium batteries, sure, why not? Even better if it trickle charges to 50% only. Otherwise, if you are just talking 3 or 4 months, don't worry. But I'd think it best to disconnect the battery immediately after parking it for the winter. Failing that, do not hit the reset button until you want to drive it. If it fails from worst practices, well, you have a long warranty as it is considered part of the "drive chain"! The PHEV 12V battery does not have that warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just exactly where is the 12-volt battery in the hybrid? In my HHR it is inside the back bumper they do put them in weird places.
 

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There isn't a 12v battery inside the Hybrid. There is a massive traction battery that Kia has partitioned off a number of cells that run through some electronics to give you a 12v output. I don't think that you can put any type of charger onto the unit. What you have inside the front of your car is a positive post that bypasses the traction battery altogether and will give you a jumper point to start the car and get the engine running. Then the engine with its alternator will keep the computer electronics inside the car up so that is can to the self-diagnostics of what is wrong. if the traction battery is not working, then the system will detect the fault and just pull up the error and the car won't run anyways and it will need to be flatbed towed into a KIA dealership as the car just won't drive. If the traction battery is working, then just hitting the reset on the dash resets the relay that gets tripped by the electronics on the big traction battery so that you don't drain/destroy the large battery with phantom / leaked current demands that would render the car un-driveable. I don't really see the point of the jumper post as it sort of doesn't do anything other than for the dealership to diagnose the car and have some way to get the onboard computers to start and give them some direction as to what it says is wrong. You're not going to be able to use this to start a dead car and then drive off as anything that would leave the car in a state that the reset button on the dash didn't fix it going to be major enough that the car will disable driving and force you to take it into a dealership.
 

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I've always wondered about the safety of batteries inside the cabin. They occasionally explode! The PHEV battery should be safe to leave on a trickle charger, but I'd leave the hatch open.


The hybrid badyellowvette owns has a lithium 12V battery, not a lead acid like the PHEV. The reset button doesn't actually charge the battery, it simply closes a relay that was opened when the car sensed the 12V battery voltage dropping. It does this to avoid excessive drain on the battery and the potential for damage. To charge the battery, the car has to be on for 30 minutes after "reset", ideally driving it like you would do for a lead acid dead battery. Not necessary to drive it as it will recharge from the traction battery just while sitting with the car "on", but that does deplete the traction battery (not much, the 12V lithium battery is very small).

I think that for the hybrid, the first thing to do for winter storage is to disconnect the 12V battery from the system. It won't discharge (as much) if disconnected from the things you cannot turn off. There is always a trickle of discharge to keep things like the key fob and alarm system working, not to mention the "ignition" switch. There is a cable to disconnect in the side panel to do this, I believe it is pictured in the manual.

After that, it is probably safe to trickle charge the 12V - the trickle charger cannot damage sensitive electronics, they have been disconnected. The question is, is it necessary to trickle charge the 12V lithium battery and will an ordinary lead acid trickle charger even work? Absolutely a good practice for lead acid batteries. I have my motorcycle hooked up all winter (my only winterizing step other than using the center stand).

Lithium batteries are best stored at 50% charge and Apple (for one) recommends checking every 6 months and charging back to that level. I fired up my iPhone 4 yesterday after sitting for 5 years hoping to use it as a spare while my iPhone 6S undergoes service. Battery was dead and wouldn't charge. Extreme test of course, but obviously there is a risk of letting them discharge too far (some electrical use in smartphones even when off for the same reason as modern cars).

If there is a trickle charger made for lithium batteries, sure, why not? Even better if it trickle charges to 50% only. Otherwise, if you are just talking 3 or 4 months, don't worry. But I'd think it best to disconnect the battery immediately after parking it for the winter. Failing that, do not hit the reset button until you want to drive it. If it fails from worst practices, well, you have a long warranty as it is considered part of the "drive chain"! The PHEV 12V battery does not have that warranty.
Yup, old Audis and VW Beetles used to have their back seats catch fire too. Battery was under the back seat and people would remove the insulator, fail to replace, put the seat back on, and short the battery with the springs under the seat.


The PHEV claims to use calcium in the lead-acid battery, which supposedly reduces gassing. And it's located in a place where it's not subject to shorting from someone sitting on rhe rear seat.


Just exactly where is the 12-volt battery in the hybrid? In my HHR it is inside the back bumper they do put them in weird places.


There isn't a 12v battery inside the Hybrid. There is a massive traction battery that Kia has partitioned off a number of cells that run through some electronics to give you a 12v output. I don't think that you can put any type of charger onto the unit.

My Bad - I must have bumped my head: :( Somehow I thought badyellowvette had a PHEV, which has a separate 12V battery behind the right-rear fender, accessible from a cover inside the rear hatch.. See RoadKill401's full post on how the HEV is different in this respect.

No battery (that I've ever heard of) likes to be fully discharged. It damages the battery. I believe that the extent of damage increases the longer it's in a fully discharged state. We're told that battery internals are also stressed by full charge, but that this effect is at its worst in high temperature, rather than low. So if I were in your situation, I'd be tempted to charge to 80% or higher (I'd prefer to err on the side of charge to 100% rather than risk falling to close to 0% over an extended period, but probably something like 75% or 80% is optimal if you can convince yourself that you've disconnected any parasitic drains). And then I would see about disconnecting the parasitic drains. I suspect that you can accomplish a lot of that by finding the switches near the fuse panels.

FWIW: I had a conventionally ICE powered Toyota Pickup that I left in a garage at my home in Maine between August and May for two years in a row (I was only there during a few months in the summer). When I went away in August or September, I disconnected the conventional 12V battery, but didn't dare leave it on a battery tender because I wasn't going to be able to look in on it over the following several months. When I returned in late May (almost June) on both occasions, all I had to do was reattach one battery cable and it started right up. And it was kind of an old 12 V battery, and it went through a Maine winter without any charging/usage. So if you can bring your 12V battery to a reasonable state of charge and then disconnect it with fuse switches or other techniques, that's likely to be sufficient.
 

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The manual for the HEV does discuss jumpstarting when the 12V reset doesn't work. So I'm not sure where this comes from :

"I don't really see the point of the jumper post as it sort of doesn't do anything other than for the dealership to diagnose the car and have some way to get the onboard computers to start and give them some direction as to what it says is wrong. You're not going to be able to use this to start a dead car"
 

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The manual for the HEV does discuss jumpstarting when the 12V reset doesn't work. So I'm not sure where this comes from :

"I don't really see the point of the jumper post as it sort of doesn't do anything other than for the dealership to diagnose the car and have some way to get the onboard computers to start and give them some direction as to what it says is wrong. You're not going to be able to use this to start a dead car"

Technically you can. My point was more that if the reset doesn't work then you are also going to fail the main computer check as either the electronics that regulate the Traction Battery are totally shot, or the Traction Battery itself is not working. Either on of those two situations will result in the main computer check to fail and the car will imobilize itself for safety reasons. You will have a running engine. The ODBC will be functioning likely and you will be able to pull off all the error codes that are stopping the car from driving. Great for a garage, not so great for an end user who will likely be wanting to drive, not figure out what went wrong. There are some that will take on fixing everything themselves. I am impressed to those who can. But it still is a bit misleading in it gives the average used the false sense of how the Niro actually works and what to really expect. This is not a regular car with a gas engine. There are way more interconnected systems and its not like if the electric motor part failed that its not going to be a big deal as you have a gasoline engine inside as well so you can just use that instead.
 

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The car will not run without 12 volts flowing to all the computers. When you "jump" it, is is supplying 12 volts allowing the computers to work, and your dash buttons to be functional. The catch is, at least for HEVs, if the battery "reset" doesn't open the 12 V relay, there is a good chance the traction battery is dead too. Thus you will need a tow to the dealer. Without the traction battery, the engine can not be started.

That said, I have read of successful jump starts, so I guess in some cases, the 12V battery can be completely dead. That is what that relay is supposed to prevent by opening when it senses excessive 12V drain, but even the relay needs a 12V supply to work.

Back to the original question, the HEV has a 12V lithium battery also packaged with the traction battery under the rear seat. Best practice would be to disconnect it for winter storage with the connecting cable in the side panel. Then there is no load on the battery and discharge will be much slower.
 

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Just exactly where is the 12-volt battery in the hybrid? In my HHR it is inside the back bumper they do put them in weird places.
There isn't one. The PHEV version has a regular 12V battery in the rear right corner panel that can be accessed by removing a plastic covering inside the hatch. The HEV does not. It's just a partitioning of the bigger hybrid lithium battery. Thus to those who are suggesting to take the 12V battery out and store in a warm place over winter....that's not possible with the HEV version. It just can't be done.

Don't let batteries sit dead over winter though in sub-zero temps though. A charged battery won't freeze. A dead one will likely freeze and/or burst but almost always will be wrecked by spring. Been there, done that.
 

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Hmmm. Interesting.

Are there any KIA Techs on this site?

If nothing else is broke, 10:1 odds that if the battery(s) is fully discharged, a jump will 1) start the car, 2) start recharging the battery(s), and 3) allow the car to be driven in a very short time.
 

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The Niro does not have a 12V starter like ordinary cars. Jumping the 12 V system will not help if the traction battery is dead as that is what starts the engine. The traction battery cannot charge unless the engine is running. No torque converter, but you cannot push start the Niro either.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hmmm. Interesting.

Are there any KIA Techs on this site?

If nothing else is broke, 10:1 odds that if the battery(s) is fully discharged, a jump will 1) start the car, 2) start recharging the battery(s), and 3) allow the car to be driven in a very short time.
Similar to what the manual says.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I guess the best thing I can do is disconnect the battery at the side panel for winter. Or keep starting it once in awhile.
 

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It's just a partitioning of the bigger hybrid lithium battery.
You cannot "partition" different voltages. The 12V battery is physically separated. It is however attached to the side of the traction battery under the seat. Lots of pictures available.
 

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I guess the best thing I can do is disconnect the battery at the side panel for winter. Or keep starting it once in awhile.
You don't have to fire up the engine to recharge the 12V. Simply turning it on for thirty minutes will do the trick. Of course, the engine may will fire up for a few minutes doing that.
 

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You cannot "partition" different voltages. The 12V battery is physically separated. It is however attached to the side of the traction battery under the seat. Lots of pictures available.

There is no such thing as a 240v Li-ion / Li-Po battery. They do make 3.6v cells (18650 Li Ion cells) that they tie together in both series and parrallel circuits to make up the correct voltage and current requirements. So when you talk about partitioning off part of the traction battery, what we are saying is that you are taking the big battery mass and have a circuit board that the +/- of the 18650 Li-Ion (though it might be lithium polimer, I don't know) and it ties a section of one group of cells that are run in parrallel to make up 12volts that has power leads going out to cover those circuits that require that voltage, but it is also tied into a larger group of other cells that give the 240v for the traction battery electric motor.
 

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There isn't a 12v battery inside the Hybrid. There is a massive traction battery that Kia has partitioned off a number of cells that run through some electronics to give you a 12v output. I don't think that you can put any type of charger onto the unit. What you have inside the front of your car is a positive post that bypasses the traction battery altogether and will give you a jumper point to start the car and get the engine running. Then the engine with its alternator will keep the computer electronics inside the car up so that is can to the self-diagnostics of what is wrong. if the traction battery is not working, then the system will detect the fault and just pull up the error and the car won't run anyways and it will need to be flatbed towed into a KIA dealership as the car just won't drive. If the traction battery is working, then just hitting the reset on the dash resets the relay that gets tripped by the electronics on the big traction battery so that you don't drain/destroy the large battery with phantom / leaked current demands that would render the car un-driveable. I don't really see the point of the jumper post as it sort of doesn't do anything other than for the dealership to diagnose the car and have some way to get the onboard computers to start and give them some direction as to what it says is wrong. You're not going to be able to use this to start a dead car and then drive off as anything that would leave the car in a state that the reset button on the dash didn't fix it going to be major enough that the car will disable driving and force you to take it into a dealership.

There IS a 12V battery, lithium ion, in the Kia Niro, and the Hyundai Ioniq, (same car), it is located within the hybrid battery housing and IS a separate 12v battery which will at some point, need to be replaced, much sooner than the hybrid battery. I'll try to attach a pic/diagram of the battery. The Kia Niro AND Hyundai Ioniq share the SAME battery. Don't ask me why Hyundai provides a lifetime hybrid (not 12V) battery warranty and Kia dose not.......... that's another issue lol.
 

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