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Toyota Prius: Problems & Solutions



  • I have a new 2005 (Package #4) with 1,300 miles. Your description of your #1 issue describes well what I have experienced also. I thought about calling the dealer but in the recent 2 weeks this condition has minimized (I can't explain why except it also may be I'm accepting of it or used to it now).

    I can't help you with the steering issue as the steering and alignment on this car are perfect.

    Good luck!
  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    When you're applying the brake pedal, you're engaging the regenerative braking system. What's happening is that the motor in the hybrid system is using the forward momentum in the car to generate electricity to charge the batteries. The actual brake pads don't engage unless you're in an emergency braking maneuver or under 5mph. When you're feeling the car slow down, it is as a result of the regenerative braking system. I have heard from several prius owners who have gone 80,000+ miles with their original set of both rotors and pads.

    Hope this clarifies what is going on in your car.

    Toyota Ken
  • priuspusspriuspuss Posts: 4
    History: 2005 Prius - 9000+ miles, all kinds of driving (highway, long distance, around town, with and without AC, approximately 45 mpg), no problems; 5000 miles check up and computer card replacement.

    Six days ago - hot (upper 80-s), using AC, in downtown Baltimore, start and stop driving on my way to the Interstate --- the red emergency light comes on, "take to a Toyota dealership immediately" --- no power, the battery with one level available, enough power intermittently to open and close windows.

    Two days later, after a tow and "a computer chip replaced", all seems well.

    Ok, so now what!!?? When will it happen again? What caused it? Am I at the mercy of this lovely electronic marvel???? I want an understanding of what happened and what I can do to prevent another occurrence. Thanks for a response.
  • priuspusspriuspuss Posts: 4
    Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my Prius. It's spunky, quiet, gets great gas mileage, roomy, responsive. HOWEVER, it looks like the only way I'm going to feel it's reliable is to have "Trip Information/Energy Consumption" on screen all the time so I know what's happening with the various power sources. SO, I don't end up Dead On The Road again!

    Since the incident I have found it takes LOTS of battery power to re-charge my cell phone while I'm driving AND a good bit of battery power to keep the air conditioning going. I'm wondering if the Dead On The Road incident has compromised one of the driving batteries because it seems the battery power goes down faster than it used to. (Not that I kept much focus on it most of the time.)
  • That clarifies it and that's amazing. In addition to saving fuel and the $2,000 federal tax deduction, doubling or tripling the life of brakes is yet another way that you're really not spending more for a Prius over a comparably equipped traditional gas motor sedan that initially costs thousands less.
  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    You're welcome and as most have found with this vehicle, the wonders of the technology keep them pleasantly surprized.

  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "History: 2005 Prius - 9000+ miles, all kinds of driving (highway, long distance, around town, with and without AC, approximately 45 mpg), no problems; 5000 miles check up and computer card replacement."

    Could you do us a favor and post this in the "Prius Software Problems" Forum? We are tracking these kinds of problems there.

    BTW, there is nothing you can do to minimize the chance of a recurrance. Either the car works or it doesen't. Hopefully you will have no further trouble. I think this may be the 2nd report on these forums of a "chip replacement".
  • I have not had this with my Prius - it is a year and a half now. But I did have it with other Toyota products - Avalon - more often than it seemed to should happen.
  • imwoody36imwoody36 Posts: 1
    I have enjoyed saving as much as half on a salvaged vehicle.
    Imagine this are paying for your new car every month, wham, you are in a collision, you want your payments to be for a car like you picked out, not for something repaired... so you make the insurance company replace it.
    The insurance company simply sells the damaged car to the highest bidder.
    sometimes the damage is not very bad. If you are the kind of person who understands collision repair and can see photos of the damage, then by all means buy that repaired salvage title car! The money you save will far outweigh the ordinary repair costs ( that even new cars incur).
    I have repaired two Prius Hybrids, both run and drive just fine.
  • ktltktlt Posts: 1
    Hi. This might be a stupid question, but I wanted to get some outside opinions before I shell out money for a repair.

    This morning I took my 2002 Prius (purchased used, current mileage 81,760) to a Toyota dealership for oil change, tire rotation, blah blah. I noticed that two bulbs for the brake lights (rear driver top, rear passenger bottom) were out. The mechanic replaced the bulbs but said they still weren't working. So they think there is an open circuit in the car. They said it would cost $286 to trace and repair the open circuit and get the two bulbs working again. (The other bulbs for the brake lights are fine.)

    The thing is, I had the rear passenger light shell replaced in March at the same shop. All the bulbs were working then. I also had the hybrid battery resealed in March, per factory recall, at this shop. The Toyota rep said that if the mechanic screwed up the circuit when he replaced the light shell, then it is Toyota's fault and the new repair will be on their dime.

    My question: Is there possibly a connection between the hybrid battery and wire circuit? If not, then I'll have to suck it up and pay the bill.

    Thanks very much.
  • schrad5schrad5 Posts: 1
    :confuse: I have had my 2005 Prius for 10 days (the last 2 back at the dealers). I am confused and I think the service guy is also.

    I am confused about the chart on the main screen that shows the bars of charged battery. There are 3 colors pink, blue and green. I am sure I read somewhere that green was fully charged, blue was charging and pink is discharged. (I can't find this in the manual now) Anyway the only time I every saw green bars was when I returned from a 100 mile trip (got 54 mph). It is usually blue and the gas engine always seems to be charging the battery. I very rarely only use the electric motor it is almost always gas and charging. Two mornings when I started it the battery bars we low and pink. I am only getting 32 mph in the city. Took it to the dealer and they had it for 2 days and said everything was working perfectly. The service manager told me to drive it in B all the time to charge the battery. The book clearly says do not drive in B all the time.

    Any ideas? Am I over reading the guage or do I have a problem?
  • jtom1jtom1 Posts: 1
    I have the same straight line steering problem. 2005 model 10K miles.Is this normal?
  • loverandloverand Posts: 6
    I ordered my Prius in 2000 -delivered in March 2001. Over the years, I've encountered several problems including continuous replacement of tires, windshield crack, decrease in name it. I've never experienced any problems with any other vehicle I've ever owned. I've managed to correct those but here's my latest problem:

    I was leaving a store parking lot and attempting to start the car-it wouldn't start. All of my warning lights came on (exclamation point/yellow triangle, car battery, check engine lights, brakes, etc...) After four tries, it finally started. I proceeded out of the parking lot down a small grade hill and it seemed as if I was "coasting" into traffic...I managed to coast into a gas station and it stalled. It was driving very differently. I sat for sometime and tried again. The car started after a few more tries but then I stalled at a red light. Finally, I managed to get to my destination but upon leaving (to take it to the dealership) I had an the driveway. I was doing a 3 point turn...hit the acceleration pedal to move forward (no more than 5 mph) and when I hit the brakes (to back up) it didn't stop. (The car seemed to have continued acceleration and then and didn't stop/stalled until I hit into the garage wall- as if the brakes weren't working.) Thankfully, no one was injured and the car is now at the dealership for repairs. My insurance estimates approx $3100 damage to my vehicle and more for repairs to the house/garage/lost items.

    However, the dealership is saying that my vehicle was "low on fuel" and shows no signs of any other problems. I know that couldn't be the problem as I had two bars of gas left when the accident happened. I've read other posts with similar problems but I haven't read a solution to it yet. I plan to get a second opinion at another dealership/different tech but does anyone have any other suggestions? This is not the first time this has happened (all the warning lights coming on for no apparent reason) but this is the first time it's caused me to have an accident. Any insight as to what is happening?
  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    Can't say what's going on with the indicator lights, but with the acceleration when using the brakes, I might have an idea.

    A few years ago there was a whole investigation on a few models of vehicles which had this "problem". One of them were Jeep grand cherokees. They had a fairly large number of complaints of vehicles accelerating rather than slowing down when the owners tried to use the brake.

    What they found was that the owners had inadvertantly been putting their foot either on the gas pedal when they thought they had put it on the brake, or they had hit both with most of the pressure going on the gas pedal.

    Just a suggestion, but might be a posibility.

  • sshengssheng Posts: 2
    Just bought a 2005 Prius last week. It is better than I expected. It runs quietly and very smoothly. For the 1st 150 miles, the mpg is between 46 and 57 for a freeway/city combined driving.

    However, I have observed that when I stopped the car, an indicator is always flushing. Is this normal? Is there a way to stop it?

    In addition, I understand that I have to charge the battery (by driving the car) at lease once every two weeks. How to avoid the battery from discharging if I have to be out of town for a long period of time, say one or two months?

    I will be really appreciated if some one can give me an answer or comments.

    S. Sheng
  • loverandloverand Posts: 6
    Hey Ken,

    Thanks for responding. I posted this in the "software problems" section as well, and had two other people respond with the same answer.

    I am sure that I hit the brake pedal-as hard as I could. Had I hit the accelerator, I believe a lot more damage would have occurred and subsequently hit my daughter and my ex who were in direct path (in the garage.) So no, I don't believe it was an operator error. Not that it makes much of a difference, but I've maintained a clean driving record (not even a speeding/parking ticket.)

    I spoke to the service tech just a minute ago, and he's stumped at the data/codes that came up. There were two engine computer codes (p3191 and p3101) and two hybrid computer codes (204 with information code 1 and 205 with information code 0.) All though he did his best to explain what that means, I don't think he knew any more than I did. He said the last two hybrid codes contradicted themselves. He also said there was an ABS brake code but didn't have that info handy. (He had turned the paperwork in to mgt and was telling me off the top of his head.) He thinks it was ABS C1259. I'm going to pick up a copy of that paper work this afternoon and have a tech at Atlanta Toyota to look at it. Thankfully, he didn't reset anything yet. Does this make sense to you? Have you seen this before?
  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    It's the first time I've ever heard of anything like you described other than in circumstances I mentioned in my earlier post. There really isn't any definative way of knowing after the fact. The way they determined it was operator error was that using the vehicles in question, they put the brake down fully and tried the gas. Even at full throttle, the vehicles wouldn't move. Just not enough torque to move the vehicle with full brakes.

    As for the codes you're mentioning, I honestly don't work in the service department, so they're as much greek to me as they are to you. However, bringing it to another dealer to diagnose is probably a good idea.

  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    There have been several Prius owners here on this site that have said that they've left their Prius's without starting them for up to 6 weeks without problems. However, if you're planning on being away for any length of time longer than 2 weeks, I would recommend that you disconnect your negative battery terminal on the regular 12V battery so that you don't drain it from the clock and other incidental electronics while its sitting.

    As for the flashing indicator, can you describe it? Could it be the seatbelt indicator? More help describing what the light is would help.

  • loverandloverand Posts: 6

    You know, he did mention something else about a throttle (body) valve...and a fuel pump relay something or another. Sorry, but I don't know the terms...I'm such a girl! ;) But I'm definitely going to get that second opinion, and the (current) service tech is polite enough and willing to help me by sending a copy of the records to another Toyota Dealer/tech.

    It's never a good experience when something like this happens, but it sure makes it easier when you have good service...and a great place (like this site) to get advice/help! I'm new here and I'll keep informativel! Thanks again!

    I'll inform ya'll of the outcome (in case this happens to someone else...Lord forbid!)

  • library1library1 Posts: 54
    I had a sudden acceleration in my Passat last month while driving. I shifted into neutral, put my foot a sideways as possible and stuck the toe under the accelerator pedal and lifted it up. It had been stuck on a misplaced floor-matt.:surprise:

    I am sure you thought you were pressing on the brake- or why would you have pressed so hard? But as troubling as it may be to hear this again- chances are you were pressing on the gas. The brake system (of every car) can provide more power to stop than the engine is capable of overcoming.

    Shift into neutral. Thanks to the government :mad: for making it impossibly dangerous to turn off the ignition key.
  • sshengssheng Posts: 2

    Thank you very much for your prompt reply.

    I double checked the manual. It is a "hybrid vehicle immobillizer / Theft deterrent system" indicator light (manual pages 7, 21, and 46.) The manual says "The system is automatically set when the hybrid system is off and driver's door is opened. The indicator light will start flashing to show the system is set." However, for my Prius, the indicator starts flashing as soon as I stop the car without opening the door. This is no big deal. However, I still wnat to get rid of this flashing indicator. Is anything I can do about it?

    S. Sheng
  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    It sounds as though there is a faulty sensor for the theft deterent system. I would have the dealer check/replace it the next time you bring it in for your routine maintanence. When you schedule your appointment, explain the situation so that if they need to order parts, they can.

  • I would like to know how common this problem is. I have a friend whose Pruis stopped on the freeway (she was able to coast of the freeway). I own a Prius also. At any rate the Toyota "Expert" here is stumped as to the cause and what needs to be done. Can anyone let me know what needs to be done? I believe this is something that Toyota should handle by having each Prius owner who brings in their Prius for servicing be checked for this malfunction. Otherwise a recall is necessary. Any info anyone can give me would be appreciated.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    Take a look at the "Prius Software Problems" discussion.
  • vshamesvshames Posts: 1
    I am about to buy Prius.
    Do you think it is a good idea?
    I am looking on all problems people mentioned and still the car rated 9,4.
    Please advise.
  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    Keep in mind that "all problems people mentioned" are a VERY small number compared to the 280,000 Prius's on the road right now. The MUCH greater majority are having no troubles whatsoever which is shown with the Con. Rep. rating. Keep in mind that this is a mechanical piece of equipment built by human beings. Hope this helps put things into perspective.

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,080
    If you are going to buy a new hybrid. Here is my advice. Beginning in January of 2006 you will be able to get a BIG Tax Credit from uncle Sam on the Prius. Take that into your negotiation with the Toyota dealer. I cannot imagine paying more than invoice for a 2005 Prius with that sitting 5 months away.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    I would not worry about the maintenance and reliability. Base your decision on if the car fits your needs, especially size. It is a small car.

    As noted before, if you can wait until Jan 1, 2006, you can get a large tax credit (estimated at $1600 - $2400 off off your Federal Taxes). If you buy now, negotiate below MSRP using the threat of walking out until January.
  • I have THE EXACT SAME PROBLEM with the steering in my car. I have been to the dealer three times (Sandy Springs Toyota in Roswell, GA) and they first said that it was an alignment problem, but even after they "fixed" the alignment, the problem remained. After 2 more visits, they insist that it is "simply a characteristic of the car". If so, then there is a major problem here. They expect us to believe that for $30,000 Toyota can not sell us a car that drives straight on the highway?!! Come on! This is an inherent defect and they must know it by now.

    I am working with my dealer now to have a factory rep come out, for the good that will do, but I am willing to work with them and assume the best of intentions on their part, for now. However, I will not accept a car that pulls me into other lanes at high speeds and requires constant vigilence and correction above and beyond that which any normal car would require. I have 5,000 miles on my car and drove it once up the eastern coast of the US. It was not fun to have the car swaying into other lanes for hours on end.

    I think all of us who are experincing this problem could come together and insist on a resolution. If Toyota does not make me and my family whole on this issue, they have lost a customer for life, and for generations to come. As well as bad publicity amongst my peers and internet associates. I hope they decide to do the right thing.

    Please let me know how you are making out in your situation. Hopefully, we can all help one another.

    On your first issue, (rapid rate of swtching b/t electric and gas power), I do not have that issue, nor have I ever. I would not buy the notion that that is a "normal" characteristic of the car. Something is wrong.

    Best of luck my friend.">link title
  • Hello everyone! My apologies if this topic's already been chewed to death-- I just bought a 2005 Prius, package 2, and I've got about 1700 miles on it. I've never gotten better than 42mpg, and lately my mileage has been getting even worse; it averaged 38mpg on my last tank. I've increased my tire pressure to 40/38, I accelerate briskly but not abruptly, I coast to stop signs and lights, I try to keep my a/c use minimal and avoid schlepping unnecessary stuff in the trunk, but nothing helps (can't do much about my generally short trips). I spoke to the 'Prius expert' at my dealership and the only insight he offered was that other people who bought the same car as me this summer are getting 50mpg. Gee, that's helpful! Am I neglecting something important? Or do I just have a lemon? I want to love this car, but driving is no fun when I'm worrying constantly about mileage! :(

    Thanks for your help!
This discussion has been closed.