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 shall be away for at last 2 months later this year. I have 2019 NX Takumi, will a trickle feeder be sufficient to keep my
    battery charged ?

    1. Hi Michael,

      Yes, a trickle charger is best for when vehicles are left for this period of time.

      Your Lexus centre can assist you with sourcing a suitable one.

      Enjoy your trip.


  2. Hi I have a Lexus hybrid 2020 model ct200h I will be leaving it parked for 3 months. Will this cause any battery problems and cause the alarm to sound when low. If so is there anything I can do to help with the battery

    1. Hello Roy,
      Thanks for your questions.
      If you are leaving your vehicle parked for 3 months, it is likely that the battery could go flat.
      However, the alarm should not sound.
      We would recommend using a Trickle Charger to help prevent the battery from going flat.

  3. Hi
    I have lexus ct200t hybrid 2015.
    I only drive once or twice a week
    Can I trickle charge weekly to keep it topped up?
    Many thanks

    1. Hello Janet,
      Thanks for your question.
      If you have a 12V battery trickle charger, then this is a good option to keep the battery fully charged while the vehicle is stationary for a period of time.

  4. I have a 2008 LS600hL and I took the battery out to have it tested and the trunk closed and won’t open with the switch since the battery isn’t installed. I then found out that my key won.t open the door or trunk. Luckily the door was unlocked so I can access inside and under the hood but I can’t get into the trunk. Is there anything that I can do to get the switch inside to open the trunk? Thanks

    1. Hello Phil,
      Thanks for your comment.
      We are sorry to hear about the inconvenience this has caused.
      Please visit your Lexus Centre for further assistance with this, as they can physically inspect the vehicle.

  5. Hi
    I have a Lexus (2017) RC 300h coupe,every morning it’s taking approximately 8 attempt’s to start the car,it’s saying hybrid system not ready or put your foot on the brake or make sure it’s in park mode,I contacted Lexus at Birmingham where I bought it from 4 months ago and they told me to give it a good run down the motorway for 30 minutes which i did, hence still the same this morning,the car has a 10 year warranty or 100,000 miles (not happy)

    1. Good afternoon Michael.

      We’re really sorry to hear you’re having some problems.

      We’d recommend getting in touch with your local Lexus Centre again to arrange an inspection.

      Thank you.

    2. Hi Michael.
      Just off to the Lexus dealer to fit a new 12 volt battery. 3 weeks out of warranty and Lexus won’t replace.
      I did a round trip of 57 miles and the following morning my car started first time. Drove 10 miles then it wouldn’t start again and had to get the AA out with unwell wife sat crying.
      This is thd second time it’s happened . Totally unreliable system. Drive battery showing full!!!

      1. Hello Robert,
        We are sorry to hear about this experience.
        Please contact our Customer Relations Team if you would like to discuss this further.
        You can contact them on cr@lexus.co.uk or 0345 129 5484.
        Many thanks.

  6. I’ve just gone to drive my lexus ux 300e and none of my keys are working, Led light is flashing. Can’t see both batteries being dead or the card all packing in same time. Any one had this issue

    1. Hello Anne,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Please contact your Lexus Centre regarding this issue, so that they can inspect the vehicle.

    1. Hello Andy, thanks for your question.

      Which Lexus are you referring to? Please may you provide us with your Vehicle Registration.


        1. Hello Andy, thanks for your question.

          Our Technical Team have advised that if you are only using the car for short journeys, it is recommended to have a battery maintainer plugged in when the car is left at home. This should keep the battery at a good level.

          If this isn’t convenient, then a 1-2 hour long drive at least once or twice a week is recommended.

          Hope this helps.


  7. I have a 2022 Lexus UX 250h fitted with a black box for the insurance. If I leave my car in the garage without any use for 5 days the battery is completely dead, no lights and have to unlock the car with the small key. Can you tell me if this is normal or not.
    There is no telephone signal in my garage, could it be that the black box (gps) for the insurance is searching for a signal.????

    1. Hello Roger, thanks for your question.

      If you believe there is an issue with your vehicle’s bettery, please visit your Lexus Centre.

      We suggest using a 12V battery trickle charger, or a solar panel charger to keep the battery fully charged while the vehicle is stationary for a period of time.


      1. Thank you for your reply but it didn’t really answer my question. “ Can you tell me if this is normal or not.” . I did take my car to a Lexus center and was told they would check the battery and replace it if was faulty, my battery wasn’t faulty and I was told to keep the situation under control charging when necessary. So I presume the answer to my question is that it’s normal for my battery to only last for one week without driving my car.

        1. Hello Roger,

          A 1-2 hour long drive at least once to twice a week is recommended to keep the battery at a good level.


  8. If I was out and my Lexus UX 250h battery died would it be OK to use a BC K2000 Pro 12v 600A portable battery Booster to start my car?
    Sorry for all these questions but I’m worried about being stranded.

    1. Hi Roger, thanks for your question.

      Please provide your Vehicle Registration so that we can look into this for you.


        1. Hello Roger,

          Unfortunately, we can only advise on vehicles registered in the UK. Please contact Toyota Italy for assistance on this.


  9. Hello
    I drove my car in the day for a few hours, went out in the evening got in the car and it won’t start, it’s saying keys not detected and battery dead. How can this be ?
    Lexus CT 200 2015

    1. Hello Nadia,
      We are sorry to hear about the inconvenience this has caused.
      Your Lexus Centre will be best placed to assist you with this.

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