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Toyota Prius: Problems & Solutions



  • After dining out tonight, I stopped into one of the local Toyota dealers for a brochure on a Prius, plus to check on avail of test car.

    No car in stock, no test ride, the salesman tried to get a prospective sales sheet filled out.. Too much personal information. I offerd to give just my name and phone number if he wanted to call me when a car came in and asked where the info was I asked for. He said no, he had to have a sheet filled out..

    Told him to stick the car up his auxillary cup holder. He then said, "do you still want the brochure?",,

    Sorry to you decent dealers out there. But,, here is a tip. If you have brochures printed up, hand them out. I have to give kudos to the Honda dealer located in Central CT.. No hassle. Pleasant to deal with. :) I felt he was honest on issues he could share. No, I am not sold on either one yet, but the salesmen at the Honda dealer has still got a shot, where as that particular Toyota dealer will never see me back. :mad:
  • I went to another dealer tonight to test drive a used 05 Prius, I got my brochure right off the bat. We headed for the car, hit the remote key a couple of times,,, nada.... :sick:

    Dead battery. So, I says to da guy,, "Hey! Grab the owner's book from da glove box, and we can figure out how to boost it!!" Great idea, except the owner's manual is missing from the glove box. The dealer dosn't have a spare, and the service people are all gone for the night..

    I tried to show the kid how to look up this secretive info on the web, but it might be possible that he dosn't have the computer skills to do it.. I looked it up myself later while at COmpUSa. So, at least I have figured out a few things that seem to be an issue with the prius.

    Seems like with all that electronic crap in the car, it hasn't figured out to preserve the battery by shutting down the power if lights are left on, etc.. Jeepers, even my 2000 Dodge minivan does that for me and I am always thankful that I don't have more dead batteries!! :-))
  • I've found many, if not most, car sales people know little about the product. Finding a dead battery car on a dealer lot is not that uncommon.

    As for your experience with Toyota dealers, you will probably find they are no worse than other brands. That is, a few are good while the rest leave a lot to be desired. It also depends on the sales people at the time.

    If you really want to know what it is like to drive a Prius the way you drive consider renting one for a day or so.

    My 05 is far from perfect, but as long as driving fun is not a requirement I would recommend one because of the room, ride, quiet, and available safety features (stability control, xenon lights, full set of air bags, and backup camera). The availability of nav and outstanding mpg is a bonus

    BTW, I had a terrible experience with a Toyota dealer today - and they had a new Prius available for sale.
  • I wonder why the Prius isn't being produced in higher numbers considering that the wait in CT is around two to six months??

    Honda is offering 100k civic hybrids its first year as a second gen, full hybrid.

    Sure, there are good apples,and bad ones.. The job is to sort through the basket and come up with a keeper,, or in this case, a dealer that I feel comfortable with. The guy who sold me my Dodge mini was a great guy. His dealership is made up of lying rotten bastards who could care less if the car blew up.. AND,, they keep sending me junk mail even though I have called and asked to be removed from their mailing list

    I may go up later today, or Monday to test drive the Prius.. They got the dead one alive.. I have to look up more info on this triangle of death to see what it is about.. Sure, somebody could have left the door ajar, or a courtesy light on..

    Thanks for the tips.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    There are a couple of answers to your question, badtranny. One is local/regional the other is national.

    In Toyota's system those stores actually selling/moving a vehicle get more to sell. It rewards the more agressive ones. It's true for all vehicles. It's also true for each store and each region.

    I'm from your area No. Jersey and CT and commuted into NYC for 20+ yrs. I dont know why the area has not had a greater interest/success with the Prius but they havent. In terms of actual sales on an annual basis
    No. 1 is California with about 25000+
    No. 2 is Virginia/DC with about 5600+

    everyother region is behind these two. I'm surprised that the CT dealers are still quoting 2-6 mo deliveries here in SE VA we have them on the lot and sell about 20/mo. True they don't last long but some do hit unsold.

    The Prius is expected to hit about 120K this year
    The HH/400h about 50K this year
    The Camry Hybrid 25K this year
    The GS450h maybe 10000 (?)

    'Triangle of Death' event. The computer shuts down the whole system in order to protect the safety of the main battery. I had one in my Prius but it was because I was beginning to run out of gas.
  • I purchased my 2006 Prius a month ago. Noticed the engine surging the first time I drove it on the freeway. Not noticable when the cruise control is on, and not AS noticable at lower speeds, but very definite at speeds above 60 mph. This was NOT the case with the demo car. When I have driven without cruise control, I have made a very concious effort to "lock" my foot in place and make sure the accelerator does not move. Still feel the surge. I have seen several other posts with this problem. Anyone found a solution?
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Actually you dont want to lock your foot in place normally unless you are feathering the pedal after P&G. to answer your question No I have not felt it but I can understand why.

    P&G... speed up to say 67 mpg in a 65 zone and let off the pedal entirely until the instantaneous bar goes 'to the roof' at 100 mpg+ then gently 'feather' the pedal and try to hold that bar up at 100 mpg.

    By letting off the pedal at 67 mph you turned off the ICE and are gliding. By feathering you are trying to engage the electric motor to keep you around 65-67 mph as long as possible.

    At some point your speed will decrease toward 60-63 mph... then Repeat process. You will get better at it.

    The 'surging' you feel by keeping the pedal locked in accelerate mode are the two motors turning on and off. They are supposed to do this but it's not wonderful for fuel economy. Use the Pulse and Glide then Feathering.

    Also... very important... look way ahead. If traffic is slowing for any reason, stop light, accident, heavy congestion let off the pedal as soon and as safely as you can then just glide up to the stoppage. You will burn zero fuel doing this.

    Also... if you have been driving a while, say 30 min, and are almost at your destination, for example in your neighborhood where the speed limit likely is 25 or 30 anyway, let way off on the pedal til it 'hits the roof' and then just glide to your destination. As long as you are not blocking traffic you might glide/feather at 25 mph for 2-3 miles.... on zero fuel.
  • WELL, I GOT MY TEST RIDE.. Not bad. The dead car came alive after the service guy showed the salesman where the jump lug is. Still want to know why there isn't a remote hatch latch.

    OK. Very nice ride. Relatively quiet on the highway. Faster than a Honday? It got up there. Nobody was trying to run up the rearend. I never even played with the radio as I was too busy trying to get used to the headsup display,,, I have mixed reviews on the MPH readout. The tv screen becons for my readers to be on. Don't know why, it is plenty big enough.

    I reality, the consumption display would probably get more usage at first, then I wouldn't care.. Getting to KNOW how to drive a hybrid is a mater of doing it, and paying attention. After that, I think it is reprogramming of the driver, and just enjoying the vehicle.

    The dealer offered to let me take the car for a couple hours. I may take him up on it. Again, the test ride was good, but it would definitely take some getting use too. But, I am committed, or should be, on purchasing a HYBRID..

    KD,, thanks for the info. I will have to see who the volumn dealer is.. The dealer I had yesterdy plans on cutting back their hours. I told him that Sunday I stopped into a dealer who is open periodicaly on Sunday.. The place had lots of customers.. Many had their brats,, children, with them. But, if that is when the family can go look, the dealer wins.

    I like lighter colored cars because of internal heat build up. I want to get an inferometer, lazer thermometer and check the colors of silver, white, and green pine. Any of those three,,,would probably be ok.. White would be last color of choice.

    PRICE?? Hmmmm... Here is where it gets interesting. With the nav system we are looking at 28k... that ain't cheap. Probably the #7 group,, without the nav I guess they are about 26...

    The bottom line, how bad do I want one?? That is to be determined. Alternate reasons for getting a hybrid: It is almost a single finger salute to the oil companies, and an admission to the environment that something has to be done about global warming..

  • I would say there was a little bit yesterday with an 05 prius. But, I would expect that from two power supplies working with each other. Not offensive. I was heading up through 65mph, and it creeped up to 70 on its own.

    Coming back to the dealership was off highway. Battery nearly 100 percent, and running nearly steady on electric while doing 35mph. That was fun.

    Good luck.
  • Last year, I test drove the Civic hybrid and the Toyota Prius, and while I liked both, I went with the Prius, because it had been on the market longer. In fact, Toyota had introduced them in Japan in the early 90's. While I loved my Prius, it was terrible in snow, so I recently traded it in for a 4 wheel drive Matrix. One thing to check on with the Civic- Make sure that if the front tires start to spin, you don't lose all power, which is what the Prius does. When the "slip indicator" icon comes on, both the electric and gas engines shut down, and you have no way to get yourself out of a skid. Toyota claims it's a safety feature, but I feel it's a safety hazard. If the Civic doesn't do that, I'd go with that one.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "One thing to check on with the Civic- Make sure that if the front tires start to spin, you don't lose all power, which is what the Prius does."

    Two things - the Prius was first sold in the late 1990's - in Japan. First sold as a 2000 model here in the US (with a lot of teething pains).

    The Honda IMA system always uses the ICE to move the wheels from a standing start (with electric boost if available), thus it will not "freeze" like the Prius. In fact, it will run without the electric motor at all, unlike the Prius, which must have the electric side available, at above 20% charge, to run at all. This is one of the advantages of the IMA system, the other being that it is easy to adapt to an existing vehicle design.

    Of course, it won't start up on electric power only - a disadvantage for max MPG, but an advantage in snow, apparently.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    The problem with the Prius for certain drivers is that the Traction Control can take over in heavy acceleration/slippage. By take over it senses too much slippage and puts the brakes on as it should, but you end up not going anywhere. In other 2WD Toyota's there is a disable button to cancel this out in heavy snow.

    However Traction Control is an integral part of the Prius because of the extreme torque from the electric motor from the first instant. The Prius has 295 lb-ft of torque at revolution one from the electic motor ( instantaneous massive torque ). For example the new V6 Avalon and Camry only have 248 lb-ft of torque @ 4700 rpm's.

    Without Trac being there to dampen wheel spin all the time a driver would likely wear out a set of front tires in several months. Thus there is no disable button as in other Toyota vehicles.

    However for some drivers in snow this may cause difficulty in driving. For others it doesn't ( search on PriusChat for driving in snow )
  • psicottepsicotte Posts: 2
    I have a 2003 prius which I bought new and have maintained well. I had no major problems until recently when the motor assist went out on the steering for no reason. The motor is electrical and an integral part of the linkage. Cost to repair $2000.00.
    This last week a loud noise came from the engine compartment that sounded like a bomb going off. A piston rod broke and drove itself through the block and the oil pan leaving a four inch hole through everything that is vital. I have had a coolant leak that the dealership has been unable to find and fix for a least 9 months.
    Cost to repair this last problem is in excess of $7000.00
    odometer reading is 60,001 miles
    This doesn't sound like what you would expect from a toyota. every one has no problems with them. In Vancouver B.C. they use the prius for taxis and put on over 150,000 miles without a problem.
    I think Toyota Motor Company should help make this right, How about you?
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    There has been no problem for over 60K and all of a sudden it goes. I wonder what you did to help it along. 60K of rodding comes to mind, lack of oil/change. I think you are asking alot for a vehicle outof warranty. Also $7000 on another engine seems high but it always is on a foregn car.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Well this is the first report I've seen about any recent ( 15 yrs ) Toyota having an engine problem this serious. but stuff happens. I am frankly a little suspicious of your post since the odometer reads exactly 60001 miles. Hmmmm ???

    Are there other intents to this post. It sounds like a skeptical competitor trying to troll for reactions.

    In my experience, 600,000 miles in Camry's and other vehicles none has ever had even one of these happen. curious post ( subjecting to smell test ).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    Please try not to impune other posters' motives. Starts fights. thank you


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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    I think Toyota Motor Company should help make this right, How about you?

    Have you written to Toyota asking for help? I would think they would be interested in that kind of catastrophic failure. If they show no interest you should at least file a complaint with the NHTSA Office of defects investigations. I don't see any other failures of that nature listed.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    OK, I will respect your input but continue to subject this ( first post ), and possible subsequent others, to my own personal 'smell test'.

    If the poster has a legitimate problem then certainly he is due some advice and there is a lot of very skilled people here. As a current owner I'd certainly be interested in the details of what happened. Some additonal details might be worthwhile also such the local dealer's reaction to not finding the purported leak and if he has taken it elsewhere. What has been the local dealer's reaction to such a catastrophic event; Toyota's reaction ( I know already what it would be ) to such an event.

    I'm certain however that you dont want the Edmunds Forums to become the home of unsubstantiated attacks either. ( "Fusion blows up destroys school bus" "Cadillac accelerates uncontrollably through department store window" "Honda.... " etc.)
  • mk004mk004 Posts: 5
    The least no of miles I have ever seen on a new car was 2. Most new cars have 10-20 miles on the odometer when they are delivered. The warranty starts at whatever miles are on the odometer at delivery. Therefore, with 60,001 miles on the odometer the vehicle is still under the 5 year 60,000 mile warranty and Toyota would have to honor the claim, assuming proper maintenance was performed. Makes the smell test even more interesting.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Therefore, with 60,001 miles on the odometer the vehicle is still under the 5 year 60,000 mile warranty and Toyota would have to honor the claim

    I didn't know that. I just assumed the new owner gave up the 10-20 miles. You learn something new every day.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    I definitely hear what you are saying, but people are responsible for their own opinions. We don't censor content unless it is profane or insulting. If the person keeps hammering and bashing a make, sure that's different. But reporting a bad problem is their business, we aren't in the verifying business. Telling someone their post "smells" is not a good idea for peace and harmony on the boards though. How can we ever know what's up?

    When I read the post about the Prius engine blowing up, what struck me was mention of the coolant leak that was unsolved. This suggests that there is going to be sticky business between dealer and owner. If the coolant leak was reported numerous times and not fixed, and then the engine overheated and self-destructed (which is one good way to throw a rod), then who is at fault? The dealer who failed to find the problem or the owner who failed to shut down an overheating car?

    ANY car can blow an engine at any moment in time. It happens to Rolls Royces, Benzes, Ferraris, you name it. Statistically it is inevitable that some engines will blow up prematurely. What is made by man will perish sooner or later, and with cars, sometimes sooner.

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  • psicottepsicotte Posts: 2
    Powertrain: 60 months/60,000 miles (engine, transmission/transaxle, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, seatbelts and airbags).
    Unfortunately the warranty is either or not both
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    I think what was pointed out is the fact that the car had a few miles when you bought it. That would have you still under warranty at 60,001 as you stated. You really need to contact Toyota if the dealer is not willing to do it for you. I have seen cases where people were a lot further past than 1 mile and Toyota covered the repair.
  • mk004mk004 Posts: 5
    I was assuming a 2003 Prius was less than 60 months old.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Fortunately in your case there is a more overriding concept.

    However as the previous poster stated the original odometer statement from you original contract is what governs the mileage limiter. Thus you have..

    A) until some time in the year 2008
    B) some mileage 60000 greater than the original odomer statement. If you started with 20 miles on the new vehicle you have 60020. But in this regard if you have done all the maintenance as you stated, and there was no accident involved, there is a bigger concept.


    .. how did the leaking coolant issue get resolved? Since the local dealer didnt find it did you take it elsewhere and have it fixed or just let it continue to leak?
    .. what was the local dealers reaction to the $7000 bill for your 'blown engine'?
    .. what was the regional Toyota rep's response to the $7000 warranty claim?

    We need to know the answers here in order to help you solve this.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    On a lot of cars by the time the light comes on that it is over heating it's already to late more so on alm. block engines.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    that might be true for say a head gasket, yes, you're right...but to throw a rod, that requires a severe overheat for a length of time. I'm surprised more cars are not equipped with overheat alarms...

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  • alonzo2alonzo2 Posts: 46
    No the 2005 model has the same problem as I just bought one. I note that as the front tires wear down the problem gets better. I think it has to do with the very tall profile of the car combined with the narrow wheel base. It just doesn't track at all. In my Q45 I can take my hands off the wheel and go 100 yards without a correction on a flat road. In that same stretch I bet I've made 30 course corrections in my Prius. If you buy this car be prepared to sue two hands at all times.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "t just doesn't track at all. In my Q45 I can take my hands off the wheel and go 100 yards without a correction on a flat road. In that same stretch I bet I've made 30 course corrections in my Prius. If you buy this car be prepared to sue two hands at all times."

    I would bet your Q45 has conventional steering. The hydraulic fluid has a tension to it that keeps the wheel steady. Electric steering has no such tension, although I suppose one could program it to simulate the effect, similar to the way that come manufacturers have "simulated" a conventional transmission shifting feel with CVTs.
  • vtinio45vtinio45 Posts: 8
    Wow! I have a brand new 2006 Prius with all the options and barely 2500 miles on the car. I was driving with my wife freeway speed 65-70 mph early evening in Northern California, raining and then... bang! I thought I hit a major pothole but then the big red engine light and oil pressure lamp went went on. So I move to the side from harms way and eventually had the car towed with the 24 hours assist and service was fair. Car was towed to the nearest Toyota dealer and then they told me I broke a connecting rod and punched a hole in the engine block. Can you believe that! On a vaunted Toyota with barely 2500 miles? Toyota engineer supposedly inspected and took pictures of the engine and they tell me they are replacing the lower half of the engine (engine block, crankshaft, rods, pistons) but not the top half. I thought they will just replace the whole engine because the cylinder head and camshaft(s) might have also sustained damage because of no oil pressure and the car did run for about a mile after the incident. It was my first Toyota (had Honda's, Benz, Infinity, VWs and BMW X5), I had a short happiness with the Prius and I don't know if I will stay happy :(
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