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Toyota Prius: Problems & Solutions



  • texvegastexvegas Posts: 17
    I have read the owner's manual several times. The problem was caused by accidentally depressing the panic button on the key fob for about three seconds. Thanks for your advice though.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    My Subaru has the same problem. It is very easy to set off the alarm, and even lock the alarm up, as the alarm remote's buttons are not recessed enough. :cry:
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "I am looking into purchasing the prius. My last concern is how well it handles in the snow/ice. I live in upstate NY. Any input?"

    There were some reports of problems if you get stuck in snow. You cannot rock the car using the transmission, because the computer won't allow it - the car will overheat. It has to do with the traction control. But basically, it will just sit there.

    However, it would be nice to hear from some newer owners with snow experience.

  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    What I've read in the several forums I've been visiting is first and most important, the tires are not useful in snow. You should be prepared to get proper winter tires.

    Second, the VSC system is sort of like antilock brakes. If you release the pedal when it starts to actuate, you will get no stopping power. Same with VSC (traction control or stability control). If you let off the throttle when it shuts down the drive, you will go nowhere. If you keep the pedal depressed, it will try again and eventually find the proper combination of power and brakes to get you moving.

    Some have reported overheating of some system in the car (which one was uncertain), but that was in summer on a steep dirt road. They may also have not been keeping the accel. pedal depressed. There was a lot of discussion about that. No conclusions were reached, of course. ;)
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Check on

    There were several threads about driving in snow. Most report nothing special except as noted above the traction control system will not allow the wheels to spin wildly.

    How ever this new model of the GenII does allow some slippage in the traction control system to allow forward movement on slipply conditions.

    Check Priuschat...
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    ...the VSC system is sort of like antilock brakes. If you release the pedal when it starts to actuate, you will get no stopping power. Same with VSC (traction control or stability control). If you let off the throttle when it shuts down the drive, you will go nowhere. If you keep the pedal depressed, it will try again and eventually find the proper combination of power and brakes to get you moving.

    VSC is an application of the ABS and throttle control. It's primary purpose is to keep you driving in the intended direction when on the verge of going out of control. It's of no use when stopped

    Traction control is different entirely. It also is an application of the ABS but it's intended to keep one wheel from overspinning in relation to the other one. This would be only on the front ( drive ) wheels. When Trac senses a significant difference in the spin ratios between the left and right wheels it will apply the ABS to brake the overspinning wheel.
  • I've waited months for parts for my Toyota Prius. This last trip to the dealer meant 20 days in the shop, 16 days waiting for the part.

    NOW the dealership is DEMANDING that I pay for the part upfront. I guess Toyota pockets my money and sends the part, whenever.

  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    Sounds more like a crappy dealer and an owner (no offense) too willing to accept whatever they are told, rather than a "Toyota" issue. That many days in the shop, is totally unacceptable. Even if the part needed to come from Japan, five days tops would be normal.

    I am sure most of us would be very interested in you being more specific about what happened.

    Have you ever tried using another dealer :confuse:
  • I have been driving in Syracuse,NY winters since 1958. I have driven RWD,AWD,4WD and FWD with absolutely no problems.I have owned a 2004 Prius without VSC but with TRAC since December 2003. It is, without doubt, the WORST car I have ever driven on snow and ice. I have been scared s___less several times even while using extreme caution.The traction control will cause you to stop when you have to pull out into traffic. This could be fatal! The ABS along with the regen braking has caused me to go into a totally unanticipated skid that left me with white knuckles. Perhaps better tires and VSC would have made a difference but I think not.I love this car with 53+ mpg in summer and 46+ in winter and I am retired so I don't have to go out if the weather is bad. I cannot, however, take another winter with this vehicle and plan to trade it in for an AWD vehicle. I hope this helps you decide.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    Well, one would hope, Texvegas, you are changing to snow tires in the winter, given you aren't in Texas or Vegas anymore, and not trying to save a buck without them. That really could be fatal, in any car. ;)
  • What finally sold me on getting a 2005 Prius was seeing them at ski resorts in New England. Now I live in Salt Lake City (admittedly not ice central) and have not had any problem with handling as I tote my skis to the slopes. I doubt that I could get out of a ditch like I could by going 4WD in the old Yukon, but so far have avoided such scenarios by taking obvious winter driving precautions of easy acceleration and stopping.
  • Thanks for the response Terry. I really don't think that people who buy cars in the Northeast should have to buy snow tires for normal driving. I have successfully driven for over 40 years in this area WITHOUT them. INMHO the Prius is difficult to handle in winter conditions. Each individual hat to make their own decision. I was just giving an honest opinion to those in Upstate New York, where I live.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    I completely understand. I have relatives living in the area, and did so once myself.

    However, even a casual review of accident report statistics show that driver confidence in doing without them is misplaced. Most people, including me, just won't put on chains for a "short hop" to the market, and that is when disaster often strikes.

    As with most bothersome safety precautions, it's hardly worth your life, or that of a family member, especially in areas of the country where lots of snow and ice are the norm, not the exception. Just chat up any State Policeman or Highway Patrol officer...

    All that said, I have owned several cars and trucks I found problematic in winter driving, even with snow tires or chains. So hardly something the Prius alone displays. ;)
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    I look at it this way:
    Four "proper" or "competent" all weather tires, such as Nokian WR, will cost $400 - $600. One accident will cost a lot more! If you escape with your life.

    The stock tires on a number of different vehicles should not be used in winter. The Prius is one of them, along with the RX-8 and others.

    I'm putting Nokian WRs on my Prius as soon as I get it. Don't care if the stock tires aren't worn. It isn't worth the risk! The Nokians will stay on year round.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    I so agree!

    When I lived in Maine, I kept an extra set of wheels, on which I had snow tires, and at the end of the season, changed them out. Most people there did. At least those of us who lived out in the sticks, lol.

    In an accident, even if neither party is totally at fault, even some percentage of "fault" means increased insurance rates, especially if they find out you are driving in the snow and ice without proper equipment. And that is totally fair. ;)
  • Thanks for the response. The fact still remains that Toyota or any car maker should not sell a vehicle with tires that do not meet standards that affect the area where it is sold.I personnaly feel that stock tires should not be so "generic" that people who pay the price for a car should NOT, repeat NOT have to spend any additional money for tires to make their vehicle safe.This is why I will not go through another winterwithtires that are unsafe. Those who are considering purchasing a Prius in the Northeast should consider this fact and plan on spending another 400 to 600 bucks on tires that should have come with the car. Please, no comments unless you live in Upsate NY. This in my opinion for people who live in my snow belt area.
  • Actually to be truthful, there are absolutlely no RWD that are good in the snow. The will kind-of sort-of work when you put snow tires on all four wheels, but RWD and snow don't mix very well.

    Any FWD car is pretty good in snow, even a Prius. And FWD car is especially good if you put snow tires on all four wheels. Now if you are in a really bad winter area use studded snow tires.

    Now if you want to try the absolute worst car in snow and ice get a manual shift 1970 odlsmobile 442 with anti-spin ( old name for antilock /traction control). It was RWD had a 455 cubic inch engine with 365 horsepower and so much torque 440 ft-lbs, it would spin the wheel when you slowly let out the clutch. Compared to any other car it is absolutely without a doubt the worst; especially with summer performance tires.

    Cheers YOMV the opinion express above was mine,

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Actually to be truthful, there are absolutlely no RWD that are good in the snow

    That is just NOT true. I will take a RWD vehicle over a FWD in snow any day of the winter. I did most of my first 10 years of Alaska winter driving with a Datsun RWD PU and a Dodge RWD van. My first FWD car was a 1973 Subaru and it was worthless in snow deeper than 4 inches. At the time only Saab made a good FWD snow vehicle. My 1978 Honda Accord was not much better than the Subaru. The very best vehicle for getting around in snow was the old RWD VW Bug. I went through snow a foot deep with highway tires in that Bug. If it was not impossible to keep warm at 20 below I would have kept driving it. After 37 years of snow and ice driving, I prefer a 4X4 Chevy PU or Suburban.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 320
    It depends on the situation. FWD cars are good as long as there are only 1-2 people riding and not going up steep hills.Put people in the back seat and try going up a steep hill. RWD is best naturally when there's weight in back and would have the advantage going up steep hills with a load in back. Your use of the Oldsmobile is not the typical rear drive car back then, but it is true that most of the rwd cars one would see stuck would be high performance cars, especially the people with fat summer tired Camaros,Firebirds, and Mustangs.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    This is a debate that can never be won because a good deal of snow driving success or failure depends on the driver's experience level...probably more than the tires or the car itself. When I lived in Colorado and witnessed the various disasters, there was no other explanation because some AWD cars were getting stranded on the same roads that RWD or FWD cars were getting through on, and even the same exact car had different kinds of luck.

    Just a wild guess, I'd say 50% driver experience, 25% tires, 25% car itself. My hat's off to anyone who can get a light RWD pickup truck through the snow.

    If I had a Prius, I'd run FOUR snow tires on it and very slightly lower tire pressure.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • Gagprice,

    I will have to ascede to your years of driving experience, I have only been driving since 1963 and in my limited experince RWD sucked in snow and ice.

    Now if you didn't have snow tires and a if you had a very low ground clearance then maybe just maybe a specific FWD would have more problems than a specifc RWD. But itill contend for most cars and for most people, a FWD does much much better than a RWD in the snow and ice. The funniest to see are AWD or 4WD they can get going better and therefore they drive faster, but all cars stop the same or DON'T.

    I think more in part is what are host, Mr. Shiftright said "Just a wild guess, I'd say 50% driver experience, 25% tires, 25% car itself. My hat's off to anyone who can get a light RWD pickup truck through the snow." I would chnge the percentages somewhat, I don't think drivier experience is that big of factor maybe 1/3 (33%). If Mr. Shiftright gives hats off to a RWD pickup driver , I would give hats off to a 60s mucle car driver that could do the same; I had a 1970 Oldsmobile 442, but any of those vintage cars would do.

    The absolute best car I had for getting around in the snow was a 1970 Audi LS 5-speed , 5 cylinder, FWD. Would drive up snow and ice covered hills when other cars were in the ditch. However, the Audi mechanics knew me by first name since I visited them almost weekly.

    Lately I haven't e countered any snow or ice problems either FWD or RWD, but then there isn't any snow or ice here.


    Is you name like "sticker shock" ?
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    remember back when the very first Toronados came out in 1965. Front wheel drive. They built a rear drive one for advertisements that they showed against the front drive on a solid ice road. The FWD walked away from the RWD.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    Is everyone ignoring the reports that have been posted in this forum, detailing how the Prius can render itself immobile in snow situations, due to the fact that the traction control cannot be disabled?

    I mean, getting stuck in the snow with the car refusing to move at all - because the computer is preventing it - seems a bit frustrating to me... :sick:

    Some posts have claimed that Toyota changed the Prius to allow some wheel movement in these situations, but I have never seen justification for those claims.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,604
    no, no, I think we all understand that Prius owners have long had to deal with the TC acting up on slick inclines, ice, etc. and rendering the vehicle somewhat immobile. There seems to be no real solution other than to try the non-Prius aspects of a cure---that is, driver technique and better tires. I have heard (but have no idea if it works) that if you just keep the pedal floored eventually the Prius computers will allow you to creep through the slippery part or up the hill.

    But your problem is REAL, no doubt about that....question is, what can one do? Better tires, maybe "charging" a hill, maybe reversing the car before going forward again, etc.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Is everyone ignoring the reports that have been posted in this forum, detailing how the Prius can render itself immobile in snow situations, due to the fact that the traction control cannot be disabled?

    For the 2006 models and later this changed.
  • I just purchased a brand new 2006 Prius 2 days ago. As soon as I brought it home, I noticed a whirring noise that would last about 5 seconds coming from the front of the car. It only seems to happen when I am at low speeds-- sometimes when braking, sometimes not. I think it is the same sound as when I put my foot on the brake before powering the car on. When I called the service department at Toyota the person had never heard of such an issue. Is anyone familiar with this sort of problem?
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    If it's when you are braking to a stop it's the friction brakes being applied. If it's that then it's perfectly normal as part of the regen braking. It just sounds different.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Be aware also that the car had to be designed so it would operate properly without the ICE (internal combustion engine) operating. To get most things the gas engine provides on other cars they had to put in electic units, such as the A/C, some coolant pumps, etc. There may be an electric vacuum pump for the brakes.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    kdhspyder, you wrote:
    For the 2006 models and later this changed.

    would you know what they changed?

    assuming it was software only, perhaps a programming change is available for the earlier models? i'm thinking however, that the modules associated with these functions also changed and a reprogramming isn't all that would be required to upgrade the older units.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    In the situation where the Trac Ctrl brakes the wheels to keep them from overspinning, which in prior models caused the vehicle not to move now the computer allows some spinning to allow the vehicle to move forward slowly as it's supposed to do.

    Whereas in the past on a slippery climb the Trac would keep the vehicle from spinning out of control but also wouldn't allow any forward movement. Now the spinning is kept to a minimum but forward motion is allowed.

    I can't speak for the older models since I don't know if it's just software or might also be mechanical.
This discussion has been closed.