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Toyota Prius: Problems & Solutions



  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    What I find interesting about this situation is how quickly everyone is ready to blame the dealer and Toyota. I wonder why.

    Big car companies and their retailers are potential "scammers", but big oil companies and their refiners are surely OK?

    The fact is that modern induction systems need a level of detergent to function properly; in the absence of a true national standard for fuel quality [fat chance, with the current crew], every buyer is literally on their own. This isn't the first time, and likely won't be the last; the remarkable thing is BP owning up to the problem...and since they ship the stuff all over the Northwest, it will be interesting to see who else is at risk [including me and my Mercedes C240, which is mostly fueled at the Costco in Vancouver, WA - where does their fuel come from? I guess I'll find out...]
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    I think that Costco gets their gas from BP/ARCO refineries?
    I think the assumption that it was a Toyota dealership problem is correct. He had taken his car in several times for the same problem. If they had taken care of it as they should on the first visit they would be in the clear. That is not too much to expect from any dealership.

    Your consumer protection agency is the entity that has the control over these oil refineries. Sounds like it may be a BIG problem for many car owners.
  • "2. Air Conditioning vs. Heat: Maybe I wasn't clear on this before. When I turn on the heat, the A/C button is automatically lit. I assume this means that the compressor is working,"

    No, the compressor is not on when heat is requested. Far too many people assume that "air conditioning" means cooling only. It doesn't. The A/C conditions the air, which means heating, cooling, and dehumidifying. It's not wasting energy when AUTO A/C is enabled when heat is called for.
  • odie1odie1 Posts: 7
    Then news only reported two places in WA that had the problem. Skagit and Whatcom counties. I live in Kitsap county. I am certain other counties have received the bad gas too. Our dealer said that they have had many fuel injection problems. My car was in this dealer three times before for this problem in January. They said nothing was wrong. It got progressively worse over the next four months. I had no idea that the gas was "bad" since I used BP exclusively. Needless to say they will no longer get my business. It really was remarkable that they admitted to this. I guess you are right that we are all on our own. I have shredded the BP cards. I will let you know if I am able to get my 300 dollars reimbursed by the old BP company.....(phillips 66, conoco, etc)

    As for being a female and getting scammed by auto fix it places, let me tell you it is different when I send my husband in with the vehicle to the fix it shop. Funny how that is!


  • quasar4quasar4 Posts: 110
    Does any one know what will happen if the Start button or Parking button is pressed while driving (any speed)?

    --Yes. I tried this on my test drive. Pushing the Parking button while driving causes the car to beep and shift into neutral.
  • njtarheel1njtarheel1 Posts: 4
    this is the first time I have joined this forum. Wed I was driving a a busy road and all of a sudden my waring light comes on. there was no place to pull off so I drive along at reduced power on the shoulder. I start down a hill with a Toyota dealer two blocks away. I coast down a hilland into a parking lot afraid to cross busy traffic with no power. I sit for a minute and try to start the car. It starts and I cross the intersection at the light and enter the dealership.

    I leave to to be checked. The next day I am told that the car had the wrong program. This took hours of downloads at the dealership and sending info to national. They take hours to get back with info - and new program info. and three hours of new program I drive out.

    I talk with the dealer service guy where i purchase the car - he sees nothing in his system about this. I hear from a friend today that there was an article in the Wall Street J. about software problems. And that 13 case have been reported to the Nat highwsay safety ad. My question - is Toyota being honest with me. How could they not know if this was in the WSJ and NHSA.

    Any new from anyone else? charlie
  • drjrtdrjrt Posts: 1
    2005 Prius with ~500 miles

    There is a "shudder" when the ICE shuts down. Not bad but worse when it is warm. Only really noticable when at a stop sign. This is very subjective, but how much should I feel the ICE shut down?

    Is there anyway to adjust when the ICE cuts in? There are times when I'm trying to accelerate entirely with the battery but the ICE kicks in. The electric motor doesn't seem maxed out and the battery is indicating near full charge so I assume the ICE is kicking in to help with acceleration. I would like to have that threshold increased so it doesn't kick in so early. Is this possible?

    Thanks for anyones input!
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    I always use Exxon/Mobile, Shell, or Texaco (sometimes Chevron). I have found their gas addatives keep the injectors cleaner than other brands. BP / Union 76 / Arco are the worst in my experience.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    What year is your Prius? Can you post your experience in the Prius Software problems forum?
  • odie1odie1 Posts: 7
    Thank you for letting me know about Chevron or Texaco gas. I just applied for a Chevron card and will not use the BP/Union 76 brand. Conoco Phillips said they would pay for the cleaning of my fuel injectors on my 2003 Prius which I am grateful for. Since having the injectors cleaned I do not have any more problems with my Prius. I cannot use BP gas anymore and Chevron will now get my 250 dollars per month. (We have a GMC Jimmy also...paid for!)
  • carsareuscarsareus Posts: 10
    I was listening to ABC radio and they mentioned this town hall meeting. I went to the website and they had it archived:
    (this is the audio from ABC radio)

    and there was a story called the prius is stalling
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    The story had an error:

    "The Prius is a full-hybrid vehicle which means it can run on either gasoline or electric power or both."

    The Prius cannot run on Gasoline alone. It either runs on both (charging the electric traction battery while running the engine and electric motors), or for short periods on electric only.
  • Has anyone considered the possibility of using a small solar panel and charge controller to keep the 12V aux. battery fully charged when the car is parked? A 10 watt solar panel and charge controller would only cost around $150 so it makes economic sense to use one. BTW would an optima blue top marine deep cycle battery physically fit in place of the factory original?
  • We purchased a 2004 Prius in Spring, 2004. After a few weeks, the car died and I was told that there had been a recall and the console was changed. The car did very well.....and then about two weeks ago ( year later), while driving, the car died again. I was fortunate to be able to turn to a side street and park. I was not able to turn off the car and had to be towed.

    The first time I had to rent a car and I then changed dealers.....and with the current dealer (who have given excellent service) there was no rental available, tho one day of a rental was covered. This in no way makes up for the three hours of waiting and being unable to keep appointments and then having to pick up the car the next morning.

    Can we be certain that the dealer notifies Toyota to correct the problem? Might be a little adjustment and reprogramming to the service department, but they are not behind the wheel whern it happens! We have loved this car, but this is both disappointing and dangerous. Thanks.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    Would you mind re-posting this in the "Prius Software Problems" forum? It would add to the kowledge base. It sounds like you have already had the TSB applied to the car.
  • c2rosac2rosa Posts: 76
    Officials eye Toyota Prius stalling

    Regulators plan to conduct investigation over engine stalling.
  • black4black4 Posts: 4
    Sorry to deviate from the "software" problem, but thought Prius folks would want to know about this. Also, very interested to learn of any other Prius fires. My wife and I purchased a new 2005 Prius in NOV 04. After driving the vehicle to work and allowing it to sit nearly 8 hours in the employee parking lot, our new Prius (with approx 8k miles) burst into flames. Insurance has listed it as a "total" loss. Indications from fire investigation (fire dept and insurance company) are that the fire originated in the dash near the drivers side. Have notified Toyota (over 1 week ago). Waiting to see if this was a simple "electrical" fire OR if it had something to do with the Hybrid components. To this point, we had been very happy with the Prius and our other Toyotas (through the years).
  • loridlorid Posts: 4
    I wondered if changing the tires to something a little meatier might both improve traction in bad weather and raise the car a bit it sits so low and these nyc pot holes are BIG!
    any thoughts?
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017

    "Meatier" tires will probably lower your fuel economy due to higher rolling resistance. "Raising the car" might entail having to purchase larger diameter wheels to accommodate larger diameter tires. Aside from the expense, you will screw up your odometer and speedometer readings since larger diameter tires will make fewer revolutions per mile.

    What you need, is to get Mayor Bloomberg to fill more potholes faster.
  • Hi all, I have a 2005 option A that I purchased in April. I have about 1000 miles on it. Overall I love the car, but I have two issues that I have experienced since the beginning, that I am not sure are normal behavior for a Prius or not.

    1) When I am cruising at a constant speed, whether it's 35 on a surface street or 65 on the freeway, the electric motor begins kicking on and off every 1-2 seconds, and continues to do so until I either accelerate or decelerate. It seems to mostly be switching between charging the battery and powering the drive train. I would expect some on-and-off to occur, but at that rapid rate it seems abnormal, and I'm wondering if there may be a software bug. Each switch is accompanied by a slight forward or backward tug of the car, which makes for a slightly jerky ride. Of course the dealer tells me it's normal. What do you think?

    2) The steering has always been "loose". I mostly notice it on the freeway where it will suddenly pull slightly to the right or left, requiring constant adjustment to keep a straight course. It feels like I'm constantly driving in very windy conditions, with the car being buffeted around. It also had a severe pull to the left when I first drove it, which an alignment seemed to have fixed, but now I am starting to see again.

    These two issues combined make for a very unsteady ride on the freeway, almost to the point of feeling unsafe. I've been to the dealer twice and they insist it is all normal behavior.

    Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.
  • I've had my 2005 Prius (AM package) for about 3 weeks now. I love it and am pretty happy with the car's performance. I drive about 34 miles to work every day (50-50, highway/city) and am averaging 51-53 mpg. Two questions from a nubie Prius owner:

    1. When I'm driving on the freeway, going, say, 45-65 mph, I sometimes feel a sort of pulsing of the power, as if I've left the brake on a little. It's hard to describe, but it's rather like the car is fighting me a bit as I try to maintain speed (it's not when I'm accelerating, it's when I'm just driving at a more or less constant speed). Has anyone else had this experience? If so, what might be the cause?

    2. We've had a few warm days here and I've been using the air conditioner. I notice, sometimes, that after the air conditioner has been on for several miles, the air in the car smells like dirty socks. I always turn off the air conditioner before I shut off the car. I've read postings on other sites that suggest the problem might be using recirculated air instead of outside air when I'm running it. I admit it: I was trying to save fuel.

    Should I be using outside air until the air in the cabin cools, and then shut it off and just recirculate the air? I hope the smell dries up and disappears without my having to spend money on repairs.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    It sounds like water is sitting in the ducting system and it is has mildewed. Not a healthy situation. Your Toyota dealer needs to fix the problem.
  • I have had problems with my 2004 Toyota Prius for about 6 months now. The Door does not always lock using the Key Fob. This could be extremely annoying when I have my hands full and in a hurry. I have to run back to my car to lock it manually. I have had 6 computers replaced and now I am trying to put it through the Lemon Law. I love the Prius but it seems that I got the lemon of the bunch. Anyone else have that same problem? :lemon:
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,110
    Welcome to the forum. Have you taken your Prius to any other dealers? Replacing 6 computers does not make sense. Some device is not working correctly and burning up a driver would be my guess. When they replaced the 2nd computer they should have dug deeper. My advice is document every trip to the dealers. Keep all the paperwork. You will need it if you try to invoke the Lemon Law. I'm surprised they don't give you a new one and send that back to the lab in Japan. I hope they give you a loaner each time they take your car.
  • Thanks for the suggestion.
  • I have taken it to 2 different dealers. The first dealer changed two computers and the door did not lock as soon as I got home. I then took it to another dealer. They then gave me 2 new computers (According to Toyota dealer #2: The work done at Toyota dealer #1 is not logged in their system because Toyota dealerships to not communicate with each other so they had to start over with the diagnostics.)

    I am not sure why they replaced the last 2 computers.

    I am trying to invoke the lemon law right now. They need me to take the car in again on Wednesday to tell me if I get a new one. I will ask them to check the driver this time. Thanks for the advice.
  • Hi:
    I am moving to Florida with my family and am thinking of purchasing a Prius.
    1st question, has anyone actually received the tax rebate for the Prius? (
    2nd, Should I buy and 05 or 06 model? When do the 06 models come out?
    3rd,is there any reported problems in warmer temperatures.
    4th, is the navigation system worth the bucks?

  • eprupiseprupis Posts: 30
    There is no tax rebate on the prius---there is an income deduction which was $2000 for 2004 and I did deduct it from my income for last year. My turbotax program took care of the deduction easily. I live in SC and heat caused no problems---in fact, it improves mileage. I have the navigation system and it is not worth it unless you drive frequently in unfamiliar places. It is impossible to program, its directions are frequently inefficient and it doesn't contain streets in my neighborhood that are 3 years old. The map of current locations has on rare occasions been of minimal use. Save your money. The problem is that a lot of neat features (smart key, say) were available only coupled with the navigation system.
  • kornklankornklan Posts: 29
    I took delivery of my 2005 Prius in December of 2004. It has package #5 which does not have the navigation system. I didn't think I needed it and didn't think the extra cost was worth it.

    The $2000 tax rebate is actually a tax credit off your taxable income. I think you can still take it if you take delivery of a Prius in 2005.

    I live in Connecticut and, yes in hot weather when you use the airconditioner you will see a drop in mileage.

    I love the car and have had no problems with it. Its quiet, comfortable and I'vr averaged over 50 miles to the gallon so far. I've got 5000 miles on the car .
This discussion has been closed.