What should I do if my Lexus hybrid has been parked for a long time?

As the UK government has instructed the nation to stay at home and only venture out for specific, essential reasons in light of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation, many of us are being encouraged to keep our cars parked if we can. Some owners of Lexus hybrids might be wondering what will happen to their car during long periods without use, particularly when it comes to the level of charge in the batteries.

The reassuring news is that no difficult car maintenance is necessary. However, there are some tips that, if followed, can help ensure your Lexus remains in tip-top condition during an extended layoff.

To recap, Lexus hybrids generally contain two batteries: a 12-volt battery (which powers systems such as the headlamps and audio) and a high-voltage hybrid system battery (which supplies the power to start the combustion engine and drive the electric motors).

The simplest way to maintain charge in both of these batteries is to simply go through the normal start procedure: press the ‘Start’ button with your foot on the brake and ensure the ‘Ready’ light is illuminated on the dashboard (you don’t have to keep your foot on the brake thereafter, but ensure your vehicle’s transmission is in ‘Park’ and the parking brake is engaged).

We recommend you put the car in ‘Ready’ mode for about 60 minutes before switching it off again and repeat the process at least once a week, providing you can carry out this procedure while adhering to the government’s advice regarding social distancing and Coronavirus (Covid-19). Please do not leave your car unattended when it is in ‘Ready’ mode.

During the time that that car is in ‘Ready’ mode, you may hear and feel the internal combustion engine kick in; this is a normal part of the self-charging process. You might be tempted to switch on the radio to pass the time, or turn on other systems, but bear in mind these will consume small amounts of electrical power so it is preferable to leave them off.

Ensure the handbrake is on; there’s no need to go for a drive, although we must stress that this procedure should take place in a well-ventilated area – something to consider if you park your vehicle in a garage.

What if my Lexus isn’t a hybrid?

Our petrol and diesel cars only have a 12-volt battery, which provides the power to start the engine in addition to the other systems mentioned above. Regular start-up of the vehicle on conventional petrol and diesel engines needs approximately 20 minutes of running to put back into the battery what you remove on start up, so to maintain this battery we would suggest 60 minutes of running at least once a week.

Is there anything else I need to do?

Whether you own a hybrid or a Lexus equipped solely with an internal combustion engine, there are a few other easy car maintenance points that can ensure your Lexus hybrid remains healthy and happy during an enforced hibernation. Again, please adhere to the latest government advice regarding social distancing.

  • Check the tyre pressures are fully inflated to the recommended level and top-up if necessary. It can be a good idea to repeat this process when you first drive your car after a long period of inactivity.
  • Clean the car thoroughly inside and out. If you are storing your car in a garage, make sure the vehicle is completely dry before you put it away.
  • If you do plan to store your car in a garage, ensure the chosen storage area offers plenty of ventilation. If the space is secure, you could consider opening one of the car’s windows a small way to ventilate the interior. If you do this, you might have to change your car alarm’s setting to prevent it setting off the intrusion sensor – please consult your car’s manual for more information.
  • It can be beneficial to leave the vehicle with the parking brake disengaged to prevent the brakes from binding, but only do this if you are certain the car is on level terrain and isn’t going to move. Ensure the transmission is set to ‘P’ for park and place wedges or chocks, if you have them, under the wheels.
  • If you have a 12V battery trickle charger, or a solar panel charger, and are confident using them, then these are a good option to keep the battery fully charged while the vehicle is stationary for a period of time.
  • If your vehicle is equipped with smart entry and start but the system isn’t operated for a long time, a battery-saving function will automatically be activated to prevent the electronic key battery and the 12-volt battery from being discharged. Battery depletion in the key is minimised by stopping the electronic key from receiving radio waves. On many models equipped with this system, it is possible to manually put the key into battery-saving mode, so please consult your car’s handbook for more information. If you aren’t planning to drive your car for a long time, consider putting the smart key in a safe place and not carrying it around with you in your pocket. This will prevent the car from ‘waking up’ unnecessarily should you happen to walk near it in your garage or driveway.
  • If the vehicle will be kept on private property (such as inside a garage) for the duration of its storage, you could consider applying for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). This informs the DVLA that the car is off the road and you will receive a refund of any remaining full months of tax. However, you won’t be able to drive your car legally until you tax it again, so it is only advisable if you are positive you won’t use your car for a long time. You can read more information about how to SORN your car here.


  1. I’ve only had my RX450AH TAKUMI just over a month and I do not have a manual or any means to get one as the dealership is closed. I have found a battery in the boot, is this the battery that charges the lights etc as I have a smart charger which I could connect to keep the battery charged. TIA.

          1. Hello Alan, thanks for your comment.

            Please contact your Lexus Centre regarding this query. They are best placed to inspect the fault and diagnose the issue.


  2. Hi. My RC now says “hybrid not working” What do I do? It has been sat for only 2 weeks. I now need to use it and its dead. Is there a magic start process to turn the engine over?

    1. Hi Jason,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us. We’re sorry to hear about this. Your nearest Lexus centre will be best placed to help you further. We will email you in order to gain additional details and put your nearest dealer in touch with you directly.


  3. My car has been parked for few days and I tried to start it didn’t. I have tried to start it with jump leads, Yesterday power button was working and it was showing key not detected. I have changed battery for key, today I have tried to start the power button is not working, this was weird situation I came across to, can you please tell me what problem can be with this?
    My vehicle reg is GJ61FUY

    1. Hi Rizwan,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We’re sorry to hear about the issue you’re experiencing with your CT. We will email you directly in order to gain additional details and put your nearest Lexus centre in touch with you directly. Our technicians are best equipped to discuss this with you in more detail and make any necessary recommendations.


  4. My 2008 GS450h needs a new 12v battery. How can I source one asap when the dealers are shut? Reg FN58TDZ. The AA can’t obtain one.

    1. Hi Martin,

      Thank you for getting in touch with us. Your nearest Lexus centre is best placed to discuss this further with you. At this time most of our workshops are now fully open and we will email you to gain additional details and put your nearest dealer in touch with you directly.

      Alternatively, if you would prefer to contact the dealer yourself, you can find your nearest dealer’s contact details via this link: https://www.lexus.co.uk/forms/find-a-centre


  5. Hi, I’ve been in touch with the dealer who have said that it sounds like the 12v battery is dead and their advice is to recharge it (or contact Lexus Roadside Assistance). The car is only 19 months old so assuming the battery should last longer than that.

    Anyway, I have bought a RAC 5 in 1 battery charger/jump starter today but just wondering if you could give advice on how to connect this.

    I saw a video with some steps, bit this was for 2019 ES hybrid and there seemed to be an additional “red” cable involved.

    Just not sure if this is only relevant to jump starting from another vehicle or whether this also applies both to my 450h RXL (DE68 ZDX) And jump starting from this charger?

    Any advice would be appreciated especially if I need to differ from the instructions on the charger.



    1. Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for getting in touch. There are steps you can follow from your owner’s manual that may help you connect the charger. You can find the advice from page 811 here: https://we.tl/t-t60WojPxlU

      For any further advise using this charger, we would recommend referring to the operating manual or contacting the device manufacturer.


  6. I have an RX450h (BF66UME). The car is mainly used for relatively frequent long motoway runs but not so over the last 3 months. About 3 weeks ago we did a 30 minute drive, but today the battery is flat. We have an extended warranty with roadside assistance. The AA are at this moment changing the battery since it is only capable of holding 45% of it’s charge. The AA said that the Lexus 12V battery is smaller than most and consequentially depletes faster than most. Each depletion reduces the life of the battery. We have family abroad and the car remains idle for weeks several times a year at the airport. Are we at risk of the battery failing prematurely?

    Also, is the 12V battery recharged through the EV system or the petrol engine, or both?

    1. Hi Colin,

      Thanks for getting in touch. The 12 volt battery in our hybrids are smaller than most as they are only needed to run small systems in the car. One of these, is turning on the relays that allow the hybrid system to turn on. Once the hybrid system is on (as indicated by the READY light), the 12 volt battery will be charged by the high voltage hybrid battery, which is powered by the engine.

      In some cases, infrequent usage and short journeys can mean that the 12 volt doesn’t fully charge – which seems to be the case in your current situation. When you can get back to the frequent, longer journeys this shouldn’t be an issue.

      The long drive to the airport combined with regular maintenance by following your service schedule should mean your car will be okay to leave for a few weeks at a time.

      However, if you are concerned about leaving it unattended for a longer period of time you could consider using a solar powered intelligent charger.


      1. I’m having the same problem and it’s now affected my confidence in leaving the car at an airport when I go away. What is the intelligence charger, where can I get one and how do I use it? Thanks

        1. Hi Kerry,

          Thanks for getting in touch. We’re sorry to hear about that. Leaving your car for a few weeks at the Airport needn’t be a concern as when you’re driving to the airport the hybrid system will be on (as indicated by the READY light) and the 12 volt battery will be charged on the way. This, combined with regular maintenance of the car should leave the battery in good condition and with enough charge to be left.

          A solar powered intelligent charger is a battery trickle charger that monitors the battery’s charge and starts and stops charging the battery when it is needed. We don’t currently offer trickle chargers ourselves and can’t recommend any specific brand but whichever you choose will come with relevant information on how to use it. In addition, in your owner’s manual you will be able to find the rate at which the battery should be charged.


  7. We have an RX450h and just had to have breakdown service as we could not even unlock the doors. If we could have Opened the doors, and therefore the bonnet, we would have tried to charge the 12v battery with our intelligent charger. However, the breakdown mechanic said that we cannot charge this under bonnet 12v battery with a normal charger.
    I think he may be confusing this battery with a stop start engine battery. Please can you confirm that we can trickle charge with either a small solar panel (9w) or a normal intelligent charger.

    1. I too have a RH450H L and have experienced a flat battery due to non-usage.
      Fortunately some time age I bought one of those mobile phone size battery storage units .
      It lives in the glove pocket and when it was needed it worked wonders ,I’ve used it twice but now start my car once a week.The battery unit cost less that £20

      1. As an update. We left the car for a week recently and the 12v was dead again on return. These batteries are just small versions of a normal lead acid battery and once they have been really flat there will always be further problems. This time the intelligent charger could not even start operating. The battery read 5v.
        Replacement batteries difficult to obtain online so paid the extra premium to have Lexus Bristol replace it. Breakdown accompanied us to the dealership. It was about £130.

  8. Hi team, I have a ct200, the car was fine last week. But for some reason today nothing works, the lights on the dashboard does not come on and the power button does not work. How may I proceed as I have tried to jumpstart as well as changing the battery in the key (holding break whilst touching the fob with the power button and pressing it)

    1. Hi Rafiu,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Without being able to assess your car ourselves, we aren’t able to accurately suggest what may be causing this. We would recommend contacting your nearest Lexus centre for further. They are best equipped to run a diagnosis and make any necessary recommendations. You can find your nearest dealer via this link: https://www.lexus.co.uk/forms/find-a-centre


  9. My 2010 RX450h has now twice experienced a dead vehicle battery, no doubt due to the lack of driving activity since lockdown. If I cannot recover the battery via my trickle charger, what specification of battery should I be looking at ? I note that the previous owner (who had the vehicle from new for 3 years) had at some point fitted an RAC R1-030 (068) 7.5ah; was this a suitable replacement made by my predecessor?

        1. Hi Craig,

          Thanks for getting back in touch. While we aren’t able to cross reference the battery you mentioned, the battery would need to meet the minimum specification as below:
          Auxiliary Battery Capacity (5HR) – 12 v & 43 Amp.hr.

          In this case, we would recommend contacting your nearest Lexus centre as you will not only be able to buy a suitable battery from them, but they are also best
          placed to assess your car in person and make any necessary recommendations. You can find the contact details for your nearest Lexus centre here: https://www.lexus.co.uk/forms/find-a-centre


  10. Hi
    I leave my Lexus nx300 for two weeks and when I wanted to start it nothing happen it isvv C dead can I use jumping battery with another car?how long I must drive car after charging battery to make it full?

    1. Hi Afshin,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us. You can find advice on how to jump start your car with another vehicle in your owner’s manual which you will be able to find here: https://www.lexus.co.uk/owners/about-my-lexus/manuals/. We would only recommend doing this if you feel confident in doing so and that you can have the car checked over afterwards at a Lexus centre. If you prefer, you can also contact your Lexus centre directly for further help with this. You can find your nearest dealer’s contact details here: https://www.lexus.co.uk/forms/find-a-centre

      In terms of maintaining the charge, the 12-volt battery recharges automatically while the hybrid system is operating and taking your car on a longer journey will give the 12 volt battery more time to charge.


      1. I have had my 3/4 year old ct200h sitting in underground paid parking for 4 months untouched in lockdown. I went to start it yesterday and it is completely dead. The parking attendant had a large booster battery which we used to jump start it. The car started. But after 1-2 minutes, the engine stopped automatically as it normally does. When we tried to restart it, it was completely dead again. So we jumped it and restarted it again. But it stopped again automatically after 1-2 minutes. Once again it was completely dead when I tried to restart it. I do not know what to do. I’m scared to drive it in case the engine stops again automatically and I can not restart it. The parking attendant thinks that the battery needs replacing. What do you suggest?? THANKS!

        1. Hi Martin,
          Thanks for getting in touch with us. We sorry to hear about the issue you’re experiencing with your CT200h
          As we are not in a position to assess your car, we would recommend contacting your nearest Lexus centre. They are best placed to offer a diagnosis and any necessary advice.
          You can find your nearest dealer’s contact details here: https://www.lexus.co.uk/forms/find-a-centre

          1. I am experiencing the same problem right now and I don’t know what to do.. I’m driving a Lexus Ct 200 2015. Could the problem come from the hybrid battery?

          2. Hello Ivelina,
            Thank you for contacting us. We are sorry to hear you have been experiencing a problem with your CT.
            As we cannot accurately assess your car, we would recommend taking it to your nearest Lexus centre, who will be able to make any necessary recommendations after diagnosing the issue.
            You can find your nearest centre, here: https://www.lexus.co.uk/forms/find-a-centre

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