Disabling a Hybrid

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There are many shops that are now seeing more Hybrids come in for service or repair. Many of these shops do not take the precautionary measures when working on these cars. If there is any type of repairs to be made that would involve working near High Voltage wiring then you need to disable the car for your own safety and those who are working around you. Remember the old saying: “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”.

Most manufactures make it easy for a shop to find the High Voltage service plug because they usually locate this plug in the rear cargo compartment near the battery. Most manufactures will use a Slide-Up/Pull Back Lever type of plug such as

Nissan’s Altima

(Figure 1) Fig1 Altima

or Toyota’s Prius

(Figure 2) Fig2 Prius.

This plug is usually never installed back into place properly. The shop will usually install the service plug and swing the lever back up but forget to push the lever slide down. Other companies such as Ford’s Escape

(Figure 3) Fig3 Escape

will use a service plug which simply requires you to turn it to a certain position without having to remove it from the vehicle. There are other companies such as GM’s Volt

(Figure 4) Fig4 Volt

that hide the service plug under a center console glove box insert and go one more step in covering it with a large insulator pad.

After these plugs are removed you should wait about 30 minutes for the onboard battery capacitors to bleed down their stored energy. I would probably wait an hour just to be on the safe side. After that it would be safe to work around the High Voltage cables. If you do decide to work on the Hybrid system itself then you will have to invest in a pair of safety gloves rated at 1000 Volts

(Figure 5) Fig5 Gloves.

These you can purchase from a company www.salisburyonline.com . They also carry other needed items such as High Voltage hand tools or protective clothing. Keep in mind that these gloves must be sent back to the company every 6 months to be tested by them so they can validate them for reuse in the field.

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