“Traction Battery Needs to Be Protected” Message: Explained

It’s not uncommon to see warning messages on the multi-information center of your Toyota. Still, many of them appear to be cryptic. If you aren’t familiar with the “Traction Battery Needs to be Protected” message on your hybrid, you are going to wonder what it means.

In this article, I give you the definition of the traction battery. I also explain the meaning of the warning message and clarify if you need to worry about it. Plus, I show you how to prevent the message from coming on in the first place so you have less to think about.

traction battery needs to be protected

What Is a Traction Battery?

The EV traction battery is also known as the electric vehicle battery (EVB). It’s a rechargeable battery that powers the electric motors of a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV). It’s also used in the battery electric vehicle (BEV).

This rechargeable energy storage provides power to the electric motor instantaneously. For this reason, EVs can attain rapid acceleration, better performance, and better fuel economy.


What The Message Means

traction battery needs to be protected

According to the owner’s manual, the traction battery message appears when the battery charge gets too low. This occurs when the shift lever remains in Neutral (N) for a specified amount of time. To get rid of the message, you would need to shift to Park (P) and restart the vehicle.

While your Toyota is in Neutral, the traction battery isn’t charging. If left in this position for too long, the battery endures a low charge, which can lead to permanent damage.

Most often, Toyota owners see the message when going through certain car washes. Some car washes require you to have the vehicle in Neutral for an extended amount of time, which could lead to this warning. Although, it can occur any time you leave the vehicle in Neutral.

Should You Be Worried?

It’s normal to worry about the traction battery message because it can also come with an alarming beeping noise. While you should pay attention to the alert, you don’t necessarily need to stress about it.

I don’t advise getting worked up about the situation. Instead, I believe you should remain calm and take prompt action to fix the problem. It’s important to shift out of Neutral as soon as you can. If you continue to leave the vehicle in Neutral beyond what’s needed, you may damage the battery.

There are times when shifting out of Neutral may not be possible, such as when you drive through a car wash. Shifting into Drive could cause damage to the vehicle. In this case, remain in Neutral until you get out of the car wash and shift it back once you exit. Most car washes aren’t that long, so there won’t be any permanent damage done.


The easiest way to prevent this message is to avoid putting the car in Neutral. That sounds easier than it actually is, especially if you want to go through the car wash.

If you must put your vehicle in Neutral, consider building up as much of a battery charge as possible before shifting into Neutral.

Aside from these steps, you can’t do anything to prevent the message from happening. It’s necessary to ensure your battery remains charged.

Frequently Asked Questions

Toyota traction batteries are designed to last 150,000 to 250,000 miles. However, the condition of the battery is heavily dependent on your driving style and how frequently it is charged.

Toyota uses lithium-ion batteries in vehicles. The automaker has been using lithium-ion technology since 1997 with the launch of the Toyota Prius Hybrid.


With a hybrid Toyota vehicle, it’s critical that the battery is up to optimal levels if you want to maintain efficiency and performance. With warning messages on the multi-information display, you need to take prompt action to avoid a dead battery.

The Traction Battery Needs to be Protected is one message that helps you understand what’s going on with your Toyota. Do what you can to turn off the message and your Toyota will continue running as it was intended.

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  1. 2020 Rav4 GX AWD, I have recently purchase with 75000 km /46000 mli, on the odometer (in Australia), I am struggling to get this vehicle to fully charge, I have been driving on economy mode for over a week, the most i have reach is 80% charge.
    is this normal? can i take this back to Toyota car yard and question this point with confidence that is something is up or i should work out how to plug this vehicle in some where.