Toyota Auris owners – 12 volt flat batteries

2012 Toyota Auris Hybrid

As part of Toyota’s rigorous quality control programme, we have investigated the cause of a 12 volt flat battery issue that has left some Toyota Auris drivers unable to start their cars after only a short period without use, usually a couple of days.

We would like to apologise for any disappointment and inconvenience that may have occurred as a result of this issue. But we can now confirm that the cause has been identified and a permanent solution developed.

The following information only applies to any Toyota Auris (including Hybrid) produced between December 2012 and February 2014. If you have an Auris produced after February 2014 your vehicle is not affected by this issue. No other models are involved.

Toyota Auris Hybrid Flat Battery: What causes the issue?

The issue is caused when the hazard switch is partially depressed for a very short period of time, incorrectly activating the car’s CAN-bus electrical communications system. This draws a constant flow of current that can discharge the 12 volt battery if the car is left unused for several days.

How can I prevent this from occurring?

Toyota has published a Technical Service Bulletin to its dealer network advising them of a permanent solution to this issue. The bulletin contains information and software files that will enable technicians to modify the software of the car’s combination meter. This update will prevent the incorrect activation of the CAN-bus system and prevent any potential flat battery concerns arising from this area of the vehicle.

If you still have concerns regarding the 12 volt battery of your current generation Toyota Auris then we recommend you get in touch with your nearest Toyota dealer for further assistance. http://www.toyota.co.uk/find-a-dealer

458 comments

  1. I have a 65 reg Toyota Auris hybrid which for the last 3 years has suffered from this intermittent flat battery problem, gradually getting worse until now the 12v battery goes flat if the car is unused for more than about 3 days. On at least 2 of the most recent annual services (the last in October 2022 I have asked Steven Eagell my Toyota dealer to check the battery and they have reported that it is fine.
    Clearly this problem is not just 2013 and 2014 models as Toyota suggest. See all the comments on this conversation.
    1. It seems that the battery is probably basically too small for its job.
    2. The car should not have been designed to have a small inadequate battery on which the car is totally reliant: When this 12 v battery is flat the car is unusable. There should be some system in the car enabling this battery if flat to draw enough charge from the main batteries to get it going and recharge.
    3. Many people like myself want a reliable medium size hybrid which is used mostly for small local journeys. Suggesting the car should be used more frequently is no help, and somewhat insulting. Frequent need for a battery charger is also not an acceptable solution, and is impossible for owners who do not have a private drive or garage.
    4. My wife has now lost all confidence in this otherwise excellent car. Reliability is very important.
    5. The battery life can only be shortened by frequent and excessive discharging
    6. There is clearly an issue which Toyota needs to sort out for its customers. Its reputation for reliability, which is what attracts many customers in the first place, is at serious risk.

    1. I have the same problem but being a retired electrical power engineer I quickly diagnosed the fault and the simple solution to it.
      It is basically caused by the 12volt control battery needs regular charging.
      I am not convinced that the favourite ‘FIX’ Hazard Warning Lights are causing this problem.
      I now can jump start the control system in a few minutes.
      Toyota have facilitated this problem by jump starting the small rear battery by using another car or in my case a similar size sealed spare 12 volt battery (cost £36) which has a nice fold up handle.
      I keep in my workshop or in rare occasions carry it in the car with a set of leads with small connectors to connect to the small positive connection which has an insulated protective lift off plastic hood (push catch).
      You remove the fuse box cover in the engine compartment and also access the positive ‘jump lead’ connection which is too small for a standard large clip.
      Leave the battery connected for 5 to 10 minutes should be enough.
      Remember to switch off the car power before you do this otherwise the ECU can possible become confused and maybe malfunction. If so, switch of the car’s power to reset, then connect the jump battery.
      Also remember to reinstate the engine compartment fuse cover and positive connection ‘lift off’ cover and negative battery connection to the chassis – there is a convenient metal bracket close to the fuse box.
      If the battery is just below 12volts before jump starting it should be OK to start the car after a few minutes.
      Years ago a mechanic told me a trick to force a hybrid engine to start by kicking down on the accelerator twice. This can also help to charge the battery when stationary – but of course you need a good 12volt control battery first.
      I know this is a bit of nuisance and Toyota should have thought of this during the design of the car. People should be able to buy a car ‘fit for purpose’ and not be expected to do regular long journeys just to keep the control battery charged.
      You should be able to leave a car for one to two weeks and be able to start it. This will affect retired people more and like me I often drive my wife’s little Aygo which is a great little car.
      However, if you don’t travel to work on a daily basis and you only have one car, this battery discharging is annoying.
      Me and my family are all Toyota lovers and mostly only buy Toyota cars now but there is a lot to evolve with this electrical revolution taking place and designs will improve I’m sure.
      A good change would be to add battery condition indicator and a 12volt battery voltmeter like they used to put on cars many years ago.

      1. Totally agree I’ve only had my Toyota Yaris hybrid for7months and thinking of changing it .I thought hybrids were supposed to make life easier ,no good if you don’t use the car every day.I think I should have been asked if I do a lot of miles when I bought it.

    2. Well I have a Yaris hybrid 2021 and have the same issue with the 12v battery Get the car serviced at a Toyota dealer and no problem with the battery so I can’t understand why Toyota haven’t sorted this issue

  2. I have a new 72 Reg Toyota Yaris purchased last January. I am not a high mileage driver, 2500 miles since purchased. I am having constant problems with the 12 volt battery causing me having to use a jump starting kit which I had to purchase after calling out the Toyota roadside assistance. As far as myself and my wife are concerned, the car is totally unreliable. I have already taken it to my Toyota dealer who kept it for two days and claimed to have solved the problem and suggested I drive at least one 20 mile journey a week. Should dealers now inform potential buyers of Toyota hybrid buyers that to ensure their cars will start they must drive at least one 20 mile journey per week.As things are at the moment, my wife won’t drive the car on her own and until the problem is resolved, I would not recommend anyone to purchase a Toyota hybrid vehicle. I would appreciate positive help.

    1. We now have a similar problem with a 65 Auris Hybrid, which we bought seond hand from a dealer in 2017.
      There was no trouble until the most recent service at the same dealer, in September 2023, after which the battery started to become unreliable. We try not to use the car too much – but it seems we have to drive around for no purpose other than to charge the battery. We are going to replace it but it seems that the problem is not necessarily the battery itself, so should we bother?
      We would have recommended Toyota up to December, but now would not. It’s really not what we expect, having driven one for 16 years, and, unsurprisingly, it was not mentioned as an issue when we bought it.

  3. My 2013 Auris gets a flat battery after a few days of not being used. This means among other things it cannot be left at an airport carpark as the battery will be flat on my return. At home I leave the car with the bonnet unlocked and have a battery charger in the house when away on a trip so I can recharge it on my return. This is necessary as sometimes the physical key does not open the car door.
    The Auris has been serviced regularly by the same main Toyota Service dealer from 2016 to 2023 but the software upgrade has not been installed or if it has it does not work. I asked today for the software update to be installed as stated in the 2016 Technical Service Bulletin. I was quoted an open ended charge of £130 per hour for diagnostics. Why do diagnostics when the fault is clear and the solution supposedly available? I am not convinced this software update works so it is expense and hassle for nothing. It should of been installed at service or recall years ago in any case.
    This does not feel fair. I was waiting for Toyota to produce a Corolla sized electric car to replace my Auris but why would I with this sort of shoddy treatment?

  4. Going through exactly the same on my 22 plate yaris cross we have called the roadside assistance three times now.
    On contacting the dealer we were told Toyota do not think there is a problem at least won’t admit as such, but on the Toyota owners forum there are 80+ pages about 12 volt battery problems.
    We bought Toyota because they were known as reliable now every day I have the anxiety of will my car start and still no answers from Toyota so how this will affect sales.

  5. I have a 2016 auris and again 12v battery is always running out.
    Cant believe that Toyota cannot do a recall, as they did with my previous auris re the hazard light draining battery. Its up to them to sort it.
    If nothing is done I will have to get another car, but am wary of getting another hybrid.
    Toyota, please dont ignore Auris owners any longer

    1. Hi Delia, thanks for your comment.

      We are sorry that you are experiencing issues with your Auris. Your local Toyota Centre is best placed to investigate the health of your 12V battery and advise on possible causes of deterioration.

      Thanks,

      Toyota UK

      1. I have just had to take my Toyota Auris purchased from a Toyota Dealer in May 2023.
        Exactly the same problem & symptoms mentioned in several messages on here. It cost me £165 for a replacement battery. When I suggested that the battery should be replaced under warantee the dealer said the battery is not covered by the warrantee! I addition one of the dongle for opening the doors and starting the car failed, I am not happy and unlikely to purchase another Toyota!

      2. Good afternoon Clive, apologies for the delay in coming back to you.

        We’re sorry to hear of the problems you’ve experienced with your Toyota Auris but hope it is now running smoothly again since your visit to your local Toyota Centre.

        Thank you.

  6. I too am experiencing battery problems with my 2023 Toyota Corolla Touring Sports. I bought this car from a Toyota dealer on 1st October 2023 with a mileage of 7344. On the 26th of November 2023, after 8 weeks of use and having driven a little over 850 miles, I had an issue with a flat battery and the car would not start. I called the AA who did a few checks (no parasitic drain on the battery was detected), they started the car for me then I took it to the local Toyota dealer who did an overnight trickle charge on the battery after which it was again driveable. The dealer also recommended I purchase a solar trickle charger, which I didn’t at the time. I then drove the car over the next 7 weeks, adding a little over 740 more miles, but on the 13th of January I again had the same issue. Rather than call the AA again I bought a trickle charger and over the next dry few days I charged the 12V battery for around 24 hours in total and by the 19th of January the car was driveable again. I also bought a solar trickle charger at this time which I used when not driving the car for a few days (though my drive is north facing so not sure how effective this is). However, 4 weeks later, having added around 190 more miles, on the 10th of February I had the same problem. I am currently trickle charging the car again right now.

    Whilst my mileage is a little low at present, I have been averaging around 100 miles per week so am surprised by this issue. It seems ridiculous that it needs to be recharged so frequently. Particularly concerning is that I only got 4 weeks out of the battery the last time. I don’t know if Toyota can fit a larger capacity battery, or suggest anything else, but I’m going to get back to them for advice.

  7. I have Toyota Yaris Cross which won’t start because of the auxiliary battery issues. There is clearly a design fault, and now I learn that the only way round this is to drive for 1 hour a week to nowhere. I wasn’t told this when I purchased the car nor is there anything in the manual about the auxiliary battery issue.

    This is clearly unacceptable and in my opinion the car is unreliable and “not fit for purpose”. It is time Toyota rectified this problem or compensated us for the difficulties we have to face. Time for legal action against Toyota for selling a car without warning us of the problem and which won’t work effectively.

    1. Hi Christopher, thanks for your comment.

      We’re sorry to hear that you are experiencing problems with your Yaris Cross. Your local Toyota Centre is best placed to investigate this and advise further.

      Thanks,

      Toyota UK

      1. Been in touch with Toyota garage. The will check the battery and charge £25 to charge it. Not a solution.

  8. Hi I have the same problem with a year old Yaris cross , it’s obvious that Toyota has a serious problem with the hybrid system, as this is happening on many other models , or maybe they are just fitting far to small capacity batteries, either way Toyota if you don’t want to loose a myriad of customers and a whole lot of reputation you need to get this sorted out, like yesterday. I have never ever had to jump start or replace a battery on any of my new cars before, and I don’t expect to either. I’m seriously considering changing back to a Nissan, I have had three and not one problem or batteries, such a shame as I love the car and the brilliant mpg but hate the problems which I thought where left in the 1970’s and 80’s , i cannot understand how you have had this problem for a long time now and still producing and selling cars with the same problem , this must be bordering on deception.

  9. We’re having the same problem with a 2017 Toyota Auris. We now travel around with a jump start battery pack.
    We’ve driven the car for 6 years with no problem, then after the last service the battery is suddenly going flat after being left unused for 2-3 days.
    Call me suspicious, but I get the impression this is a known and deliberate fault. Little point taking back to Toyota, I’m pretty certain they’ve caused the fault in the first place. The timing is too much of a coincidence.

    1. Good afternoon, Dale.

      We’re sorry to hear you’re experiencing problems with the battery. All modern cars drain the 12v battery when they are switched off. This is due to the onboard electrical systems. If the 12v battery is not given a chance to recharge often enough, it will go flat.

      Read more here and pick up some tips that, if followed, can help ensure your Toyota remains in tip-top condition during an extended layoff: https://brnw.ch/21wDfeR If you would like your car to be inspected, please get in touch with your local Toyota Centre.

      Thank you.

  10. I have a 2022 yaris cross and have also had a recurrent problem with a flat battery meaning I can’t start my car, lock my car door or open my boot until roadside assistance have attended. I’ve had to call them around 6-7 times now and they tell me this is an extremely common problem with these cars. I’ve contacted my Toyota dealer many times about this problem. They have even changed my 12v battery but it hasn’t helped. They ended up telling me that Toyota head office isn’t interested in this problem so there’s no point keeping complaining and I’m left with a car that’s not fit for purpose as I can’t rely on it starting! I’d really like to know why Toyota head office aren’t interested in this problem please? Thankyou

    1. Hi Katie
      May we have your vehicles registration number and the Toyota Centre that you have been dealing with please.
      Kind regards

      1. Hi there,

        As I’m sure you understand I’d be reluctant to post personal information on a public forum. I’d also wouldn’t wish to get these employees into any trouble as I’ve always been very happy with the customer service at my local dealership and very much appreciated their honesty regarding this issue. My question remains as this is so obviously a fault with our cars which renders them unreliable why are Toyota not doing anything about it? Many thanks

      2. Hi Katie
        You can always direct message us on FaceBook and we can look in to this further for you then.
        Kind regards

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