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Toyota Prius Software Problems



  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Most owners who frequent the Prius forums have already had their software updated.

    How about the 95% that do not frequent any forums? Toyota had an obligation to inform ALL Prius owners when they found the problem, back in March 2005. Toyota kept it under wraps. Several people that reported the problem had been in for service after the fix was available and the dealer did not update the software. You had to specifically ask for it. If it was not for the NHTSA investigating, Toyota would not have done anything to inform all the Prius owners.

    Many Prius owners that came to the forum looking for answers, were run off by rude comments, by those that think that the Toyota Prius is the answer to all our problems.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    There were many people, including my sister and other people I communicate with that received post cards telling them about the updates. If you think for a moment that Toyota will try to brush this under the rug, you are sorely mistaken. They have a lot riding on this car as it is a stepping stone to the hybridization of their other vehicles. Perhaps your cynicism should be directed at GM. They constantly have to be prodded into making good on their cars/trucks. Same for Ford. Funny how their bonds are similar to their products now... JUNK STATUS.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    By your standard, Gary, are car makers obligated to send a letter to owners for every little blip and minor problem that occurs to an INCREDIBLY SMALL NUMBER of owners of any particular car?

    My HCH has the ignition slot behind the steering wheel, and it makes it hard to see, and the plastic around the key hole is all scratched up. Should Honda have let me know?

    Sometimes my AutoStop does not engage when I think it should. Should Honda have let me know?

    My fuel consumption display is usually off by about 1 MPG from my manual calculations. Should Honda have let me know?

    My gas tank is rated at 13.2 but owners have put in as much as 15.2. Should Honda have let me know?

    Toyota has not kept anything "under wraps." They were doing what is known as an INVESTIGATION to see what the cause of the problem was. Does every car company need to send a letter to say, "hey, a few owners have had a problem, so we are investigating it." ??? No, of course not, that would be silly.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    If you think for a moment that Toyota will try to brush this under the rug, you are sorely mistaken.

    The evidence is there and very clear. Some will refuse to see it. Maybe your sister has a good Toyota dealer. That would be a big plus for her. Exposing the shortcomings of other automakers in no way excuses Toyota from covering up this issue. It was a lot more serious than a window that will not work properly. Toyota and the Prius owners are very fortunate that the software problem did not cause a serious accident.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    At least Toyota has a fix for the software issue. As our cars become more complex, issues relating to computers and such will be much more prevalent. I myself find it appaling that DC has not recalled the Liberty diesel. They still won't admit there is a problem. THAT to me shows that they don't care about the customer. In the scheme of things, the Prius will prove to have extremely high reliability. Just wait and see.
  • rsharprsharp Posts: 103
    DC also has a growing problem with the quality plagued Pacifica (or as some owners now call it Pacificrap). The PACs are stalling at highway speeds and there is no computer registration of any problem when the dealers look at it. So the owners are simply sent on their way while the dealers and DC says we cannot find any problem.

    At least Toyota was coming up with a fix!
  • Larsb said: "The stalling problem was never (by anyone with credibility anyway) rejected as "not happening."

    Actually is was denied, by one of the staunch defenders of the Prius movement. Just to refresh your memory look at messages #119, #201, #207, #210


  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Actually...those are the updates that are being addressed IN PUBLIC. I personally, never doubted people that have written about their experiences regarding the stalling.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I wasn't aware of the Pacifica problem. It's funny how people who have no interest at in hybrids, participate to propogate falsehoods. I wonder why?
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Post #119 - no denial here:

    "There were actually only 11 reports. (Some people posted their complaint twice.) And many of them were likely caused by not having SSC-40A (Electronic-Control-Unit reprogramming) and LSC-40E (Engine Compartment Seal) done for their Prius. They are required updates to prevent this type of problem.

    Post #201 - no denial here either:

    "Why be concerned? You are more likely to be in an accident caused by someone else than for this to happen. Just stay alert. This is still rare and just sounds like the updates weren't applied to all the cars that needed them. I have driven 95,000 miles with my two Prius. No engine trouble whatsoever. None of my Prius owning friends have ever had any either. The real problem is the lack of detail in these reports, causing people to speculate & worry. If they would report what the month/year their car was built (found on the driver's door-jam) and which updates they've had done (documented using stickers placed inside the hood or door-jam by the mechanic), they'd we'd have something actually helpful to work with.

    Post #207 - no denial here:

    "Also note that the TSB doesn't only apply to Prius, though you'd never know it based on the way info is sometimes posted. Highlander & Land Cruiser are also listed, since they use the identical hardware.

    Post # 210 - no denial here:

    "Ask your dealer and/or call Toyota directly to find out if updates are needed. What else is there outside of normal care for a vehicle? And all the routine stuff is already documented and available online from several sources.

    I don't see any denial there. Just questioning the severity of the problem and noting the small number of occurrences does not equal denial that a problem exists.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    By your standard, Gary, are car makers obligated to send a letter to owners for every little blip and minor problem that occurs to an INCREDIBLY SMALL NUMBER of owners of any particular car?

    Yes I do. I got a letter on one of my GM trucks about a bolt that may work loose on the passengers seat. Mine never did but I took it in and they put a different bolt in the seat. This software issue was known for a long time. Toyota came up with at least two software updates. Do you think all those people would have reported the problem to the NHTSA if the dealers were taking care of the problem? I don't think so. Those reports were by frustrated owners that were towed in and the dealer reset the computer and told them it may happen again.

    As far as all the little problems you are having with your HCH, I would jump on Honda and get them resolved. The issues you mentioned don't seem important to me. Stalling at 65 MPH on the Interstate is a tad bit more dangerous than your fuel calculator being off by 1 MPG.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I wonder if GM had to take a loan out for the postage.
  • rg9rg9 Posts: 10
    Toyota blew this one big time. Toyota should have been upfront and proactive on this issue, but they chose not to be.

    Toyota chose to dodge and weave the problem. Toyota tried to minimize the issue, saying stalling at highway speeds wasn't an issue bacuse you could limp off the road. Toyota said it wasn't a problem because there weren't any accidents reported (yet).

    If NHTSA did not step up to the plate and hold them accountable, and if it weren't for the hundreds of consumers who took the time to file reports with NHTSA, Toyota would still be dragging this thing out like they have for the past two model years.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    It costs a LOT of money to have a recall. The company's reputation takes a little hit, and the service fees are covered, but still PAID to the dealer by the Corporation.

    So there is no good reason ( other than critical, known safety issues ) to RUSH into a recall - do the investigation and see if it's absolutely required before you do it. No one died, no one was endangered, no cars were damaged, no one's insurance went up.

    Vehicle recalls should be a last resort, not a first step. Dont forget - car makers are in business to make money, not to spend money fixing every little glitch that might only affect 1 in 10,000 owners.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Toyota did so expeditiously and certainly NOT under the radar. As evidenced by your date of joining Edmunds and your immediate jump to THIS forum, one must assume that you're agenda is merely to bash Toyota for being successful in the hybrid market. I guess their success has brought on the beast in some people.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    From a current (today 10-14-05) news story:

    "Toyota plans to notify buyers of its Prius hybrid that the car could potentially stall out while driving due to a software bug in the Electronic Control Module (ECM). The problem affects approximately 75,000 cars, although only 33 official complaints have been lodged thus far.

    Due to the bug, the Prius' gasoline engine could stall out while driving between 35 and 65 miles per hour. However, the car's electric engine would take over, enabling a driver to safely reach the side of the road. Upon stopping, the gasoline engine would properly restart, Toyota says."

    That's a whopping

    0.00044 percent

    of the recalled cars which have had a problem. Woo, that's a HUGE problem ! :P
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Actually ...

    It's 0.044 percent. You forgot to move your decimal point two places to the right.

    Still a small number though --

  • bruneau1bruneau1 Posts: 468
    While I encourage and recognize the necessity to increase fuel economy in this country, I don't know if the hybrid route is the way to go. It would make more sense to produce smaller more economical vehicles that don't require expensive technology, don't use resources to produce batteries of unknown life, reliability, and which will be difficult to dispose of. No one will really save money with a hybrid considering the large initial cost. It also isn't really germane to talk about recalls on other vehicles. Toyota has a problem. Anyway, the Prius is ugly and who needs a really fast hybrid Highlander.
  • Too me, making a problem seem insignificant or trying to make it seem insignificant, instead of owning up to the 75,000 or 160,000 recalls(depending on the source) is DENIAL that the problem really exists. Oh it's just an anomaly Oh! it's only a few cases and it is statistically insignificant.

    By the way did you know the HSD CVT planetary transmission has GEARS ?

    Anyway, I hope Toyota finally owns up to the problem/s and fixes everyone's car without any additional incidents.


  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    quote Meade-"It's 0.044 percent. You forgot to move your decimal point two places to the right."-end quote

    No big deal, but actually, unless my calculator is wrong, 33 divided by 75000 (seventy five thousand) comes to


    I'm no math whiz, but I think that comes to 4.4 thousandths of 1 percent.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    "That's a whopping

    0.00044 percent

    of the recalled cars which have had a problem. Woo, that's a HUGE problem !"

    How many more would have to fail to be a big problem? Are we waiting for people to start dying before we take this stalling issue seriously? You folks are funny. This is a HUGE issue. You equate it to a scratch on the steering column or a mileage figure being off. This is a matter of life and death. Toyota is hanging thier whole auto company on fuel mileage right now--watch the ads on TV. If the Prius turns into a dangerous vehicle--and I hope it does not--it will become the next Pinto instead of the savior of the world's fuel supply.
  • rg9rg9 Posts: 10
    Some of you are providing perfect examples of how some people bash anyone who has had this stalling defect with the Prius, and dare to complain about it.

    Some people even distort the numbers to try to minimize the problem.

    According to NHTSA, there were 6,697 warranty claims for stalling.

    That works out to 9% of all Prius's, yes that's almost 1 in 10, not .00044 or whatever some would like us to believe.

    The 9% number is much more widespread than people thought, and must really come as a shock to those who thought only 36 people had the problem, and affected only .00044% of the owners.

    We never would have know how truly widespread this problem is except for the NHTSA investigation.

    Fortunately, NHTSA said they will continue to monitor the problem and see if the repair will actually fix the defect
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    33 divided by 75000 (seventy five thousand) comes to

    If you check ODI there is well over 100 stalling reports on the 2004-2005 Prius. Toyota has admitted that the potential for failure exists in all 160,000 Prius they have sold world wide. Hopefully people will get the upgrades & not just throw the notice in the trash.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    "According to NHTSA, there were 6,697 warranty claims for the stalling problem. "

    Those are people who got the software update notice and got the update done at Toyota's cost - that is NOT people who had the stalling problem !!

    You think it would have taken this long if 6697 people had stalled on the road? Get REAL !!

    Let's not pass around falsehoods people !!! :mad:
  • rg9rg9 Posts: 10
    6,697 is the number of warranty claims for stalling problems per the NHTSA.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    The point of the software error is not how many cars happened to come into the exact problem boundaries and actually failed.

    The point of this forum and this recall is that each and every Prius out there (except for those that have already been fixed) has the software problem residing in the computer code, just waiting for that "perfect storm" of conditions that cause it to fail.

    It is true that the exact conditions apparently have not occurred often.

    I applaud Toyota for admitting the error and recalling the cars so that everyone driving the Prius can feel confident that they will not experience this problem.

    We should also note that part of the premise of estabilishing this forum is that the Prius is somewhat unique in it's software, and I think this recall validates this as fact. I know of no other car in which all of the warning lights illuminating would cause the entire propulsion system to fail.

    Of course, if any other car lost it's ICE, it would stop moving pretty soon anyway. So there is some benefit to having dual propulsion.

    This is not to detract in any way from the quality and concept of hybrids or the Prius. It is a new but good technology, and the "kinks" will be worked out in time.
  • rg9rg9 Posts: 10
    I agree, downplaying the defect does a disservice to owners. Things like claiming the defect only affected like 36 people is a joke.

    if Toyota's feet weren't held to the fire through the opening of the Investigation, Toyota would have dragged this out for another model year.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I actually like the sleak lines of the Prius. Different from anything on the road. Sorta reminds me of the old Citreon cars. Carefuly when you say UGLY. People may think your ugly, yet again some people may find you attractive. That's what makes the world go around.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    You think it would have taken this long if 6697 people had stalled on the road? Get REAL !!

    I think you should do a little more research before you speak. The NHTSA report I am looking at indicates that there was 6,697 CLAIMS that could be related to the stalling problem. Hopefully more than that would have gone in to have the update done, Also Toyota in their letter to the NHTSA identified 416 cases of stalling that were reported to them. We may never know the full extent. If this fix resolves the stalling all will be good. Investigation PE05-029 also notes that ODI received 166 complaints.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    At least Toyota solved the problem swiftly. What's wrong with that? Your motives in this forum are certainly suspect since you joined today and ALL your posts are cynical of Toyota. Your posts have no validity to them. Post some links to support your allegations.
This discussion has been closed.