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Toyota Prius Software Problems



  • pennmompennmom Posts: 8
    I wanted to let you know my dealer today told me that he spoke to Toyota, and they are replacing the computer in my car. He is not sure how long it will take to receive the part, but hopefully only a few days. He said my car already had the software upgrade (prior to this incident) that has caused problems in other cars. I still love my Prius but it will take me a while to regain confidence in it. I also wonder how expensive this type of repair would be if I was out of warranty!
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
  • loverandloverand Posts: 6
    Surprisingly, I had a very similar experience the other day.

    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:

    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 was driving very differently. I managed to coast into a gas station and it stalled. I sat for sometime and tried again. The car started after a few more tries and I proceede 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 continue acceleration and didn't stop until I hit into the garage wall as if the brakes weren't working.) I know I hit the brakes as hard as I could. 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 and they put me in a rental until repairs are complete.

    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? What is happening?
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017

    Is there even a remote chance that you may have accidently pressed the accelerator instead of the gas pedal? That is a very common cause of such low speed collisions in all cars. It's called operator error. Most such operators are surprised to find that they may have been in that situation.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Was your Prius a 2001 model? I haven't heard of any issues with software. I did hear about a steering rack issue though. I agree with Blane. Unfortunately it may have been operator error.
  • loverandloverand Posts: 6
    Thanks for responding. It is a 2001 model. I am sure that I hit the brake pedal-as hard as I could. Had I hit the accelerator, I believe alot more damage would have occured 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.) Allthough 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?
  • molokaimolokai Posts: 313
    Hi.. Are you referring to Atlantic Toyota on Long Island? If so, there service department is not the best. I wish I knew more, but I am only familiar with the 2004+ models. I have an extended warranty for good reason. I hope you have one too!
  • loverandloverand Posts: 6
    Actually, I was referring to Atlanta Toyota in GA where I bought the car, but that's great info to know for anyone living in that NY area! All though Atlanta Toyota is where I've had it serviced regularly since purchase and they are more familiar with me/the car, I had to consider the closest location (as well as the safest and least expensive way to get it there.) The tech at Sandy Springs Toyota seems polite enough and willing to help me in getting that second opinion. He's even going to send a copy of the paper work to the other dealer tech himself. Kudos to him! It's never a good experience when something like this happens, but it sure makes it easier when you get good service! Thanks again!

    I'll inform y'all of the outcome of the case this happens to someone else in the future. I'm so new to this site and I'll keep reading...Very Helpful!
  • pennmompennmom Posts: 8
    I know what it feels like to have the car go haywire, as it did when my 2004 stalled. You should consider reporting this to the National Transportation Safety Highway Administration, as I did (see: I filed a report on my incident, and I received a personal email back 1 day later asking me for additional information. I think it is good for this to be investigated and resolved before (hopefully) someone is hurt. My new computer for my car is supposed to arrive Friday 7/28; I will be getting my car back after 10 days, and I am praying that it is okay now.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    I started this topic to discuss the software issues, but we have to remember that sometimes it is the hardware that fails. Occasionally the CPU just goes bad. Let's hope that is what is occurring here with the 2005 and the 2004 that had the software updates already.

    Thanks to all for posting your experiences, here and with the NHTSB.
  • HELP! I JUST bought a 2002 Prius and upon driving it for the first time since purchase, the MFD froze up---the dealership says it needs to be replaced, but since I didn't buy it from the dealership there is no warrantee to cover it. They quoted me $3800 plus labor. I don't have that kind of money since I literally JUST signed the papers for the loan on the car and gave the bank my down payment TODAY. Can you believe the luck??? Does anyone know where I can get a remanufactured MFD as mentioned in the previous post? My car has the GPS system. THANKS
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Geez.... $3800 ! That's insane!! I am surprised you didn't get a warranty with it. I would never buy a used hybrid without a warranty. When I buy the 06 you better believe I am gonna get the extended warranty. $985 well spent!! Good luck to you!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    I would try to give it back to whoever you bought it from. Maybe get a hold of the bank before the check clears the bank. You were had I have a feeling. I would imagine the NAV system is integral with the MFD. Will the car run properly without the MFD? If not Toyota may have to cover it under the 8 yr 100k mile PZEV warranty. You may just be out of luck unless someone out there is rebuilding the unit that is broke. Good Luck,
  • Be quick to get intouch with Toyota and see if there is a possibilty of "Warrantee" coverage. I'm surprised that the dealer failed to steer you in that direction. Gagrice(Gary) is right too ...You need to investigate more avenues.
    Railroadjames(Good Luck) :D
  • mtorres1mtorres1 Posts: 2
    Hi guys. I wouldl ike to buy a Prius, but would like to know if anyone has experience problems with the LCD going dark in Arizona. Like when you leave a calculator or cellphone in the car too long, and it goes dark. Thanks,
  • In Arizona, Cal., and Nevada I'd say, with extreme temps anything can (and usually does) happen. I once left my sports car in the sunny parking lot at a motel in Vegas and several items were destroyed by the inside the car temperatures. My speaker grills completly melted into mush! As to electronic equipment I'd say that extreme temperatures SHOULD cause trouble with them as should be expected.
    Railroadjames :cry:
  • mtorres1mtorres1 Posts: 2
    Well, I ended up buying it tonight, and I need help already. How can I set the LCD to display the engine status? It just turns off after a few seconds. Pressing display while it is off doesn't do anything, but pressing the other three buttons brings up the appropriate menu...thanks,
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    If you press the info screen it should bring up the picture of the engine, battery and four wheels. It should stay on until you go to another function (NAV if you have it). If you press climate, audio, it will bring you to the appropriate screens.
  • pennmompennmom Posts: 8
    I finally received my dead Prius back after 10 days in the shop. They told me that it was not the computer that was bad, but a fuse/transponder that had blown and had to be replaced. They did tell me that they also replaced the ECU (computer). So far it is driving ok, but I am definitely keeping my eye on the battery level at all times now. Hopefully, as time goes on I will regain confidence in it.....
  • molokaimolokai Posts: 313
    Please keep us in the loop. Iv'e never heard of that happening before.
  • jpricejprice Posts: 58
    They told me that it was not the computer that was bad,... They did tell me that they also replaced the ECU (computer).


    jprice SoCal '05 Silver, #1, 6400 miles, [non-permissible content removed]. mileage 46.7MPG
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    a thousand off sticker, is it possible the price is dropping or is it because people are waiting for the tax credit availible on the 06's? :P
  • pennmompennmom Posts: 8
    Are you asking why they replaced the computer? I'm not sure -- In fact, one service person told me that the computer was not replaced, but the manager insisted that it was and showed me that the part number was listed on my service order. They had never heard of a transponder going bad either -- however, let me tell you, that it rendered the car completely powerless, whatever it was.
  • jpricejprice Posts: 58
    Are you asking why they replaced the computer?

    They said the computer wasn't bad - and they replaced it? Do they talk to each other?

    jprice SoCal '05 Silver, #1, 6600 miles, [non-permissible content removed]. mileage 46.7MPG
  • stevewastevewa Posts: 203
    I was getting the P3191 on our 2002. There IS a TSB on these codes (P3191 and P3101). Basically there are three possible fixes:

    1. Fuel Pump due to insufficient fuel pressure. Fix is to replace the fuel tank. The pump is integral to the tank.
    2. Circuit Opening Relay. This appears to be the relay that allows the gas engine to start. Toyota charges about $50 for this part but you can get it at a local parts store for under $20. Installation is trivial.
    3. Engine Computer. This is only required if the computer is of a certain 2002 computer was newer...but your 2001 may be within the range that it would be a candidate for replacement.

    Tell the dealer to look at TSB EG011-03.

    None of these explain your brake failure, however.
  • tomzpritomzpri Posts: 33
    Looks like the government investigation of the stalling problem is continuing

    Investigation of Prius Stalling
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Do you think it was a blurb in the news just 4 weeks ago? Get real! It will be some time before they come to a conclusion as to the cause. I recall reading about the Audi incident from the 80's. The concluded it was NOT the fault of Audi but driver error. That will not be the case here. There is a software update that people need to get in order for the problem to be rectified. I have been following the Prius forums and no one who has a late model 05 has ever experienced the problem. Time will tell.
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017

    You wrote "Looks like the government investigation of the stalling problem is continuing". Perhaps you didn't read the rubber-stamped June 8, 2005 date at the top of linked document. It is two-month-old news.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    The letter is two months old. At that time they had 67 complaints of stalling with the Prius. If you go to their site you will see many more since June 8th. In spite of some posters being in denial it is not just the software that is flawed with the Prius. There is also an issue with the fuel bladder causing shut down on the highway. I imagine the complaints are way over 100 by now.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I think Toyota should send out letters to all people who purchased the Prius to get their software updates. Problems will continue if people don't update the ECU. As to the bladder issue, I have not read anything about that. Can someone post information on that?
    I am also curious as to why there have not been any reports of European Prius having stalling issues.
This discussion has been closed.