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Toyota Prius: Problems & Solutions

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  • bcorybcory Posts: 1
    My 2005 Prius is great, except that it has sustained two windshield cracks in the six months I have owned it. I have never had even one windshield crack in any of the other cars I have driven in over 40 years. No gravel trucks, construction, or other similar conditions were involved. Is this a design flaw due to the large unsupported expanse of glass? Or are they making the glass too thin in recent years? Another owner I accidentally met also had a crack within six months. Has this happened to anyone else?
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    I have used a lot of map programs as my son lives in SC and I find many streets aren't named in SC. I don't believe the SC government keeps up its data base of streets and sometimes I don't even think they are real steets.
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Posts: 668
    The tax credit (it is not a deduction) is $2000 for Prius purchases in 2005. The credit drops to $500 for a Prius purchased in 2006, and zero after that.

    The Nav system in the Prius (I have an 05 package 6) is not as easy to use as those found on a Honda or Acura (and some Chryslers). The Alpine system Honda/Acura uses is very intuitive and the voice control seems to work (My Acura has only a touch screen Nav, but I have tried the voice activated ones on test drives. Looks and works like my system, but with vice activation added).

    By comparison, the system on my Prius is a poor second. It is counter intuitive and requires significantly more effort to program, AND the voice activation must have been programmed in a different language (it does not understand what my wife or I say).

    The voice control in my Prius for climate control and radio work okay, but seems useless for the Nav system. We also find having to stop the car to program in a new destination using the touch screen frustrating, though because of the clumsy interface I would not recommend a driver try to reprogram on the fly (but why not a passenger?)

    Is it worth the cost? Maybe. There are portable Nav systems that work at least as well as the one in the Prius and they may cost less too. The screens are not as large and you will not have a built-in look. While we find the Nav in our MDX very easy to use, so much so we use it a lot around town too (being able to reprogram on the fly is a big plus), the Nav in our Prius will also do the same job, but not worth the extra effort required.

    Maybe with more time, the Prius Nav system will not seem so counter intuitive (and maybe there will be a fix so the voice activation works as well as it does for other functions). We use our Nav systems a lot, so, to us they are worth the cost, even the crummy one (to me) in the Prius.

    .
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,166
    If you buy a hybrid new, you may be eligible for a one-time federal income tax deduction of up to $2,000! Individuals must use Form 1040, not one of the shorter forms, to claim this deduction. They should put "Clean-Fuel" and the deduction amount on the dotted line to the left of line 35, including this amount in that line's total adjustments to income

    http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=104549,00.html
  • eprupiseprupis Posts: 30
    The statement that the tax benefit is a credit and not a deduction is flat out wrong. It is only a deduction and therefore only worth a per centage based on your tax bracket. The Prius' air conditioning, unlike most cars, does not effect mpg--it is electrically operated and does not use engine power. As a result warm weather improves mpg despite air conditioning use.
  • Is it legal in california to drive in the HOV lane, with just the driver?
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,863
    "Is it legal in california to drive in the HOV lane, with just the driver?"

    No.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,863
    "Is it legal in california to drive in the HOV lane, with just the driver?"

    No, unless you are using a CNG or pure electric vehicle.
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    The statement that the Prius' air conditioning does not affect mpg is flat out wrong. Until such time as the Prius is a plug-in hybrid, all electric energy in the Prius ultimately comes from fuel. Using air conditioning will reduce MPG...
  • alexwcalexwc Posts: 2
    Well, it just happened to me. I had several warning lights come on (the red triangle, check engine light, and the VSC light) while I was driving at about 45-50 mph. I coasted into a parking lot, stopped and skimmed the manual, which didn't say much about that combination, so I tried driving a little further, but very quickly realized that I was driving on batteries only, even with the accelerator down to the floor. The towing and repair were done for free; the dealer said that the problem was in the software. Here's what I've gleaned from the service report: Error codes P3191/P0A0F. Recalibrated ECU per TSB EG 047-04. I'm gathering this means that there is a Toyota service bulletin about the problem, so it looks like they are aware of it. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a recall notice in the works. Luckily, I was about 30 seconds away from merging onto a very busy highway during rush hour; if the problem had occurred any later, I would have been SOL. From the limited amount I've driven since getting the car back, it feels as if the engine kicks in sooner, and the mileage estimate seems to be reading lower, but it's a bit early to tell yet. I'll try to post again, but I don't monitor this board closely.
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Posts: 668
    I stand corrected. It is a deduction, not a credit.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,863
    Could you please post this in the Prius Software Errors forum? We are trying to keep a running talley there.

    There won't be a recall; this TSB is a year old. It just happened that your car had not been fixed yet.
  • jdole1jdole1 Posts: 2
    I was wondering if you know what the tax credit/deduction will be on the new 2006 Highlander Hybrid will be? Also (off the subject) we are selling a 2001 Prius and need to put in a new aux. 12V battery and new tires on it. Is there anything special about the battery or tires that require us to purchase these items from the Toyota dealership. I hate getting hosed at the dealership if I can buy these things from some other place much cheaper.
  • jdole1jdole1 Posts: 2
    We currently own a 2001 Prius, a 2004 Prius and just got a 2006 Highlander Hybrid a couple of weeks ago. Needless to say, we are very pleased with our hybird cars:) On the 2001 Prius, we actually got a $3000 credit from our state, a $2000 credit from our federal taxes (total 5K), on the 2004 model I think we just got a total of 3K in tax credit and am not sure what we'll get on the new 2006 model.
    Obviously, the 2006 models are out already, since I'm driving one. I think the 2004-2006 Prius models are pretty identical, although some of the software (recall) issues may be fixed on the newer models. We've never had any problems with any of our hybrids that have been mentioned here, although we have had about 3 factory campaigns on the 2001, 2 on the 2004 so far. A few weeks back I took the 2001 in for a regular servicing and they replaced the NiMH battery and the computer on it for a campaign, although I had not had any problems with either one. Didn't cost me a cent.
    Having never used any other nav systems, I don't know if Toyota OE ones are any better or worse in comparison, but I love them. I'm a little "directionally dysfunctional", so I find it handy to use, even in town here. Sometimes there are new neighborhoods that are not on the map yet, so it shows on the screen that I'm out driving in a field somewhere, but new software upgrades seem to solve that.
    We've driven the 2004 Prius a lot in Phoenix and never had any problems relating to the heat (but it's a DRY heat:). Using the A/C at full blast seems to effect the mileage quite a bit, but that happens in any car.
    We've gotten a pretty reasonable average of about 40mpg in the 2001, about 60mpg in the 2004 and so far about 37mpg in the new Highlander (only have about 450 miles on it). And that's been quite a bit of mountain driving with the A/C on.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,863
    "On the 2001 Prius, we actually got a $3000 credit from our state, a $2000 credit from our federal taxes (total 5K), on the 2004 model I think we just got a total of 3K in tax credit and am not sure what we'll get on the new 2006 model."

    Here we go again. It is a tax deduction, not a credit, on the federal taxes for 2004. I can't speak to 2001. People are getting confused on this issue, but the IRS rules for 2004 are clear - deduction, not credit.
  • wooddorkerwooddorker Posts: 300
    My 71 year old FIL replaced a $1500 steering rack today, on an '02 Prius with 27k on the clock. The car is 3 1/2 months out of warranty. This vehicle is babied, and literally driven to church on Sundays. The complaint was extreme shuddering at low speeds, when manuvering, especially a left-right-left motion in reverse. This was the second time the car was in the shop for the problem, two months ago, the techs could not duplicate the problem. That complaint is documented. The car has never been hit, run over curbs, etc...

    There is NO WAY a steering rack should completely fail on a 39 1/2 month old vehicle with 27k on it!

    I've heard rumors of warranty extensions on steering racks on Priuses, but have found nothing on Toyota's pay-per-use TIS site. No TSB's, campaigns, etc...

    Can anyone help me find him some ammo to get some relief? I love Toyotas, and really believe they will stand behind this if I can get to the right people.

    Thanks!
  • mtransue1mtransue1 Posts: 15
    Hi :

    Just wondered what you paid for your Highlander. I have a Prius which I just got. I had leather... no GSP or anything and paid out the door about $24.599 I didn't think that the SUV got as good mileage as you indicate you are getting. Is that around town or highway. Air or no air.

    Thank you
    mltsp
  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    Keep in mind that if they have two previous generation Prius's, they have had quite a bit of time to get to know how to drive these vehicles to maximize their real-world gas milage. It is not unreasonable to think that they are not only beating what is average for most first time drivers (which from the board seem to be getting VERY reasonable milage figures), but also to beat the EPA number by a fair margin.

    jdole1, Nice job and I'm glad you're enjoying your new highlander.

    Ken
  • Nice tip, Steve. You just saved us a trip to the dealer.
    We were driving slowly through a school parking lot on pure electric when we got the red exclaimation point, yellow VSC and check engine. After that it seemed that the gas engine wouldn't kick on but it ran fine on electric. Being a software engineer who works with embedded systems, I figured time to reboot.
    So we pulled over and hit the power button, counted to ten and turned it back on. The red exclaimation was still on, but now the gas engine kicked back in to charge the battery which had gotten pretty low. We drove home and I hit the internet. After trying the gas cap (nice and tight), I hit the power button and the red exclaimation was gone! Only the orange check engine light was still on. I drove it around the block to get one more drive cycle, Then power cycled for one more "drive cycle" and lo and behold, no more alert icons!
    Hopefully it will be another 15,000 miles before the next software gremlin appears. And now we know rebooting 3 times is the cure, I don't mind.
    I suspect there is a way to get the fault code to display on the prius display, but I haven't found it yet. Seems a shame to have to go out and buy some scan tool to get info that could easily be shown on the standard prius display.
    :shades:
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    I wouldn't be surprised if you can get it on the display. A Toyota shop manual would tell for sure. I had a Caddy that if you pushed the proper air conditioner buttons at the same time the display on the dash would switch over and you could pan through about 30 different functions.
  • markdelmarkdel Posts: 56
    Facinating, your AC uses electricty that comes from God. Apparenty your engine does not have to provide the power that charges that paritcular battery. Just where is that battery located? :surprise:
  • wooddorkerwooddorker Posts: 300
    UPDATE!

    The FIL found a letter buried in his Prius paperwork that indicates the steering rack warranty is five years for his car.

    The bad news? He paid for the repair Friday, found the letter over the weekend, and showed it to the dealership on Monday. Toyota of Wallingford, CT refuses to refund his money, even though they agree this is a warranty repair. I feel that they should have KNOWN this was a warranty repair. Mistakes happen, so we feel they should refund his money and bill Toyota. They disagree, since he's already paid. He has been directed to contact Toyota directly for his reimbursement.

    This guy does ALL his service at dealerships. He even buys TIRES at dealerships! Too bad Toyota of Wallingford won't see any more of his money.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,166
    Toyota of Wallingford, CT refuses to refund his money

    Sounds like they were trained at the same school as some of the CA dealerships. I agree that is a shabby way to treat a loyal Customer. It happens all the time to the unsuspecting.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Most warranties I have ever seen will reinburse the person for repairs on something that happens before you find out it is covered. I would call Toyota and ask about being reinbursed.
  • wooddorkerwooddorker Posts: 300
    "Most warranties I have ever seen will reinburse the person for repairs on something that happens before you find out it is covered. I would call Toyota and ask about being reinbursed."

    That's not my beef, the dealership agrees this is a warranty issue.

    The sticking point clarifies as follows:

    * He brought the car in 6 weeks ago for the same problem (six weeks out of warranty) - no trouble found
    * Last Thursday was visit #2 - diagnosed as bad steering rack (39 month old car - 27k)
    * He asked about warranty coverage on Thursday and again, when picking the car up on Friday. Clerk at service desk states "negative", so he coughs up the necessary $1500 to fix his favorite car.
    * Monday, the NEXT BUSINESS DAY for the service dept., he produces the warranty enhancement letter.

    I believe he should have been refunded his money, and the job rewritten as a warranty job, directly billable to Toyota. If he had shown up weeks or months later with the letter, I would understand perfectly if he was told to persue Toyota for reimbursement.

    I feel Toyota of Wallingford should have made more of an effort to investigate warranty coverage on a repair this expensive, and that they could have been much more willing to help resolve the error. He is not a demanding guy, not at all the type to yell, scream, or make any sort of public scene. Personally, I would have respectfully and objectively taken this all the way to the highest dealership employee, had I been there.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    Everyone bad mouths the GM's and Ford but I find that they are much more likely to take care of a customer even out of warranty. I had a GEO Tracker (Chevy) that the shifting screwed up out of warranty by almost 2 years but didn't even have 25,000 miles on it and I also pointed out that I had all maintainance done by the book and some that wasn't called for yet plus at less mileage than allowed. I called Chevy after taking it in to dealer and due to the shifter going through the top of trans had to drop trans and transfer case to get at it. This alone was $400. Another 4 to reinstall all plus parts etc. for almost $1500 bill. Customer Service at Chevy called dealer worked out a plan and called me back and said my share was parts and labor for installing them plus a couple others that as long as it was apart was smart to replace. I paid $372. Now Toyota or the other foregn companies I doubt would have stepped up to the plate.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,166
    I think the problem is that Toyota would not have paid the dealership that much for the repair. So they have money in hand and let your friend fight it out with Toyota. Seems short sighted on their part. Toyota has had a good run of reliability. They are not too good at handling cars that are not so reliable. They are rated below average on customer service by CR.
  • I have a 2005 Prius with 1,200 mi. I go over a mountain to get to my job--elevation approx. 2,700 ft. When going down the mountain I shift into "B". It works nicely to help brake the car as I decend the curvy hill. However, at about 3/4 the way down, the engine starts to rev quite high. At this point, I have to put it in drive the rest of the way.

    I asked my dealer service dept. about this and he said he heard of one other similar case. He checked with Toyota and was told that the revving is a "fail-safe" to prevent the electric system from overcharging. Seems to make sense.

    Anyone else experience this?
  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    Keep in mind that in your Prius, the calipers don't actually engage until under 5mph unless under emergency braking. So by stepping on the brakes going down the hill, all you'll be doing is regenerating the battery anyway. So it is not really necessary to shift into "B" mode on the trans. on this car to save on the brake life.

    Hope this helps.

    Toyota Ken
  • Thanks for your response, Ken. You mention the calipers don't engage in normal braking. I don't quite understand that. When I'm going downhill and coming into a curve, I apply the brakes. I can feel the car slow down and by applying the brakes the brake pads contact the rotors so I assume there's some brake wear in addition to engine braking in B mode. However, it's true that the dealer service dept. told me that Prius brakes last very long.
This discussion has been closed.