Are there any potential problems that could arise if I leave my 2008 Lexus RX 400H in a garage for six months at a time without being driven? – Jody
The Lexus in question has a common 12-volt battery that operates all the standard items typical to most cars and a high-voltage nickel metal hydride battery dedicated to its hybrid system.
Toyota.com has amassed a rather extensive FAQ section compared with the Lexus equivalent. I spotted this when I queried the word "storage": "Our hybrids require additional steps for each battery, as the hybrid vehicle battery and auxiliary battery will discharge and their condition is liable to decline."
My primarily concern would lie in the leaving of the hybrid system unattended for six months. The Toyota guidelines specify the following procedure be performed bi-monthly.
"For the hybrid vehicle battery, charge the battery at least once every two months by starting the hybrid system for about 30 minutes. Check that the 'ready' light is on and all lights and electrical accessories are off."
Conventional vehicle storage procedures also apply. A few of these steps include washing the exterior, changing the oil, topping off or replacing the coolant if it is due prior to storage, filling the fuel tank and inflating tire pressures to their maximum sidewall pressure to prevent flat spots.
Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject area.