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Today, the outside temperature was -20 degrees Celsius and I forgot to connect the cord for the block heater, cabin heater and 12V battery charger. My 2016 Toyota RAV4 hybrid blinked the "READY" light for several seconds longer than it usually does. After the "READY" light was permanently on and the internal combustion engine was started, I noticed that the power steering was really stiff. The problem went away after a minute or two.

Is this normal? Or is it a symptom of my 12V lead-acid battery starting to die? I assume the power steering is operated on the 12V battery and not on the HV battery in this car.

Note the internal combustion engine is started using the HV battery, but the computers of the car may put a high drain on the 12V battery when booting up.

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Sounds like nominal behavior of power steering fluid at -20c.

Unless there is no fluid involved with whatever that thing does to make the wheels turn, then it sounds like nominal behavior of an electrical system at -20c.

  • Ok, perhaps I was too scared of the power steering breaking. There is no fluid: it's electrical system, and I assume operated by the 12V battery. – juhist Feb 22 '18 at 19:18

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