How to reset a hybrid car for most non-catastrophic problems

by | Jul 21, 2019 | Hybrids

A Hyundai Sonata hybrid.

I always forget to post this kind of stuff so I’m gonna do it right now!

What do you do if you have a hybrid, any hybrid, and you get the dreaded “check hybrid system“ error? This is represented by that statement, a red triangle, a yellow triangle, or some other proprietary symbol on your dash.

I was just filling up at Costco and heard a customer tell the attendant that his car would not drive or even start because of “check hybrid system” error.

I asked him if he could put it into neutral, and he could. We pushed it out of the way so that the next person could fill up.

Now, I will be honest with you, I know nothing about the Hyundai Sonata hybrid. But what I do know is, all hybrids use the low-voltage battery as the “brain operator” for the car while the high-voltage battery starts the car. (The low voltage battery allows the computers to determine if it’s safe to start the car while the high voltage battery actually turns over the engine.)

We disconnected the low-voltage battery for 30 seconds, reconnected it, and he was able to start the car. What this in effect did was reset the system, removing whatever temporary roadblock was preventing the car from starting. Now, this is not a fix for a problem, all it does is clear a non-catastrophic error temporarily. I told him he should drive to whoever services his car to have it checked out.

So, if you are having a problem with your car and don’t know what else to do, this is a method of potentially, temporarily, clearing whatever errors your car might be experiencing.