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Prius and filling the tank



  • Thanks for clarifying - the battery concern - I've left my car in cold Canada weather for about 10 days and never had a problem - I will remember to press that button in the future if I leave the car for 2-3 weeks.

    I also didn't know that we were allowed to drive 75 - 85 mph on the highways - I would be concerned more with an accident than running out of gaz.
  • I live in south Florida. I took delivery of a 2009 Prius on 2/11/2009. The air temperature was 82 F. The gas gage had one bar and began blinking as soon as I left the dealer lot. I took it to the station where I have been filling various cars (8 different makes and models) since 1995 without incident. After pumping 5.4 gallons, the pump shut off like the tank was full. I moved the nozzle around in the fill tube neck and got 11.9 gallons in the tank before the pump shut off. When I removed the gas delivery nozzle from the fill tube neck, gas began back flowing out of the tank with such considerable force and speed that my shoes and pants were soaked with fuel. I estimate one quart of fuel spilled on the driveway. I stuck the fuel pump nozzle back in the gas tank fill tube neck to reduce the back flow. That stopped the geyser effect but some fuel continued to bubble out. It took several minutes for the fuel to stop bubbling and drain back into the tank.

    I only average 8,000 driving miles per year. Most of the time my car sits in the airport parking lot for 5 days a week. It will be some time before I have an opportunity to fill the tank again as I fly almost every week. I will post on this issue after I attempt a second fill-up.
  • I have a 2004 Prius. I live at 8,000 ft in Aspen, CO. I never had a problem in 04-07 but last winter I had the same problem you and many other described. It went away by itself last spring and just came back again yesterday. I will put a bottle of gas protector in the tank this morning and keep track of my mileage driven so I can estimate what it should take to refill the tank. It is a real pain. Otherwise the car is great.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    I wonder if the vent on the tank is plugged, but I also have to wonder why you spent all the extra money on a Pruis if you only drive 8K a year. Also I have never bought a new car where the dealer didn't fill the tank and I've bought a whole lot of cars.
  • gfr1gfr1 Posts: 55
    I'm pretty sure that it was a fueling pump nozzle shutoff that was the culprit, not the car, in this case. You said that it shut off early, the first try and then you jiggled it around. I don't know if your actions might have caused the problem, but routinely, the nozzle should have shut off before the pressure built up. I had this happen once with a nearly new Mercedes S-model. It gushered probably in excess of a gallon and hadn't stopped on its own even then. I just happened to pull the nozzle out to check the level for I thought it was overdue. This was on a indian reservation station and I suspect that the nozzle hadn't been checked or maintained. If I hadn't stopped to check, with the available nozzle pressure, it could have caused some real expensive damage. The car stumbled for awhile after I drove away, but finally cleared and seemed to suffer no lasting ill effects. -- GR
  • Well, wonder no more. I have not purchased a new car in 24 years but I have driven 8 new vehicles during those 24 years. All those vehicles were part of the fleet that my employer deploys to the field. We keep them for 3 years and then turn them in for a new vehicle. I am part of a study to determine if we want make the Prius a majority of our fleet (about 3,000 vehicles.) As I indicated in my original post, I fly almost every week so the vast majority of my driving is to and from the airport. The 2006 vehicle I turned in for the Prius had 21,877 miles.

    If you buy a new vehicle the dealer may fill the tank, I don’t know because I have never had to buy a new vehicle. If the dealer is only making what is called a “courtesy delivery”, they put the minimum amount of fuel in the vehicle. The subject of the fuel procedure or quirks involving the Prius was not mentioned by the courtesy delivery dealer. The process of taking delivery consists of signing off on the old vehicle, signing paperwork for the new vehicle, accepting the keys and driving away. Interaction with the dealer is for a minimum amount of time because they only get a fee for the transaction and they know they will not be selling a new vehicle to me in the future.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    That explains a lot but maybe the employer could put these to better use instead of having someone like you who puts a small amount of miles on the vehicle into something else. They are paying at least $3K more for a Prius than say a Chevy Cobalt of compatible car and get in the high 30's on the highway. Keeping them only 3 years they will for most of the vehicles never get a return on their investment though I don't know what kind of deduction they get on their Fed taxes. Personally they shouldn't get any deduction on a non american made vehicle but the Prius may or may not be built in the U.S. one of these days.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    This 'topping off' that you did is something you NEVER should do. There are two reasons..

    In the nozzle there is a charcoal cannister to capture the evaporative emissions, clean them then release them into the atmosphere. Topping off can damage this cannister and cause a major expense.

    In your Gen 2 Prius there is a fuel bladder inside the gas tank. This is what causes so much variability in the quantity of fuel that will be accepted. In new vehicles this bladder is stiff and new. In very cold areas this bladder will be very stiff and unyielding in freezing weather. The risk of topping off like you did is that raw fuel can get between the gas tank and fuel bladder. Then you've got to replace the whole fuel system.

  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Two problems with your SOTP comparo.

    The Prius is a 5 door hatchback. It's more similar to the Matrix/Vibe rather than the Corolla/Cobalt.

    The other is that whatever 'premium' is being paid upfront is almost completely recaptured at resale time after 3 years.

    In the case of the Matrix/Vibe the 'premium' is $4500 but almost all of that is recaptured when the vehicle is resold. The resale price of a Prius is $3500-$4000 higher than a Matrix/Vibe after 3 years. In ridiculous times like last summer a 3 y.o. Prius with < 30000 miles was actually selling at nearly full sticker price. Little or no loss in depreciation.

    The tax credits on Toyota hybrids are complete. Ditto Honda. Soon Ford's will begin to phase out.
  • lk7lk7 Posts: 2
    I have read the messages from sherry9 and would like to know more about the arbitration process and how the matter was resolved. My 2007 Prius (50,000) will consistently (all weathers) have traveled about 237miles when I have two bars left on the gas gauge. I was not warned of this problem, it was not this way when the car was new and I have received the same evasive answers from Toyota with no soluion. Since I live in Wyoming where towns are far apart this is an important issue to me. Thanks for any info.
  • I love my 2004 Prius despite several annoying issues, but the gas tank issue is really serious and more than annoying. It is probably caused by the bladder in the gas tank which can't possibly add anything really important especially at the great innonvienience it causes. My Prius was OK the first three winters and then the problem surfaced. Very bad
  • Why buy? to lower one's carbon footprint? To save fossil fuels. To drive an otherwise great car. I just got back from a trip and found my tank "filled" from half way after 2.2 gallons.... all the while I was constantly clicking the gas nozzle on b/c it kept shutting off as if full. I drove away and the gauge read the same. 15 miles later, the same thing, 15 miles farther and the darned thing overflowed but it finally read full.
  • I have a 2008 Toyota Prius I purchased new about 21 months ago and have driven 21,000 miles. The gas gage has never worked correctly and the mileage goes from 33 to 50mpg but mostly around 39 mpg in winter. The worst problem is not being able to fill up the tank. It will not allow the tank to fill at many gas pumps. It is the bladder problem that has been posted here. I have an appointment with the dealer Tuesday as I told them I am tired of them telling me this is not a problem. When you can't fill up your gas tank - it is a big problem.

    The impression I get from the posts is that people are willing to put up with this because of the other good things about the Prius. I can't believe I paid over $22,000 for a vehicle that has a serious problem like this and the manufacturer thinks it is not a problem. I want my money back!
  • stevegoldstevegold Posts: 185
    I would like to remove or puncture the bladder as it causes more serious problems than it solves. Any clues where to start?
  • I don't like to pile on but this may be a good time to raise the Prius gas tank issue with Toyota, Washington, the press or others.
    I have a friend that is a reporter at that I can contact.
    Does anyone have any thoughts, one way or another?
  • I'm surprised how little people are complaining about this issue. There are just a few things I hate about this car. The bladder gas tank is number one on my list. I can never fill up the tank and I don't get the advertised total miles achievable. If they advertise an 11.5 gallon tank I should be able to add that amount approximately if I'm completely empty. What gives??? This was another engineering blunder by Toyota.
  • My 2007 did the same thing.Only filled the tank about .75%
  • Since the fill ups are consistently inconsistent,how does one check the accuracy of the trip computer MPG and for that matter what your actual fuel consumption is.
    If you fill the tank very slowly,might that cause an overfill and damage something?
  • Hello Steve.....

    You do make a good point about the tank on the prius. the bladder is one of
    the many systems in the veh that allows it to be a partial zero emission
    designation. no void in the tank= no fuel vapors (into the atmosphere or
    having to burn them on decelleration as do most veh's).

    plastics are not developed that allow full flexibility when at our winter
    temps, and protection during those
    100+F days of summer. (we would not want your
    fuel tank to pop like a water balloon in the Mohave) & there are sensors
    that would light up the dash if the badder would rupture.

    as all products will, there will be advances in technology sooner than
    later. i.e. batteries and computors.
    but i would not look for a major change in the tank designs as of yet.

    thank you for your input,
    Don Nisbet, Bighorn Toyota, Glenwood Springs, CO
  • That may be true, but misleading... As the THC is a PZEV, and does NOT use a bladder. Nor do any of the other PZEV's. It is an engeniring blunder that TMC has ignored and does not care to address. The bladder is terrible, period. I owned and drove a Prius for 2 years, and hated the fuel system. Great mileage, terrible fuel system. Don't be a fanboy and sugarcoat it.
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