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Prius and filling the tank



  • yermellyermell Posts: 6
    Update on Prius tank issue. I wrote in March about only being able to fill my tank to approximately 7.5 gallons, and the Toyota dealership's lack of response and identifying that temperature significantly impacted the bladder. As the weather has warmed I have been getting more fuel in the tank and have been filling more slowly as many have advised. At the end of May we drove 3600 miles from MA to FL and back with stops on the way. Once on the road with warmer weather in the 80's the tank capacity returned to normal (note I have had the vehicle for 2 yrs with 45,000 miles). My fill-ups were back in the 8 gal range with 3 clicks left on gauge. It should be noted that when I filled up, even in winter when the tank shrinks, the gauge always shows 10 clicks so it is full at that time with however many gallons it fits. I don't think you'd run out of gas with 1-2 clicks left but you have to keep in mind that with the lower total capacity your 1/10th clicks represent less. I love my Prius, we will be buying a 2nd one and if this is the only negative, nothing is perfect.

    On the positive side my avg mileage per tank was 48.8. It was obvious that driving 80 mph the mileage was 44.7 or so, but when you slowed to speed limit of 65-70 the mileage went up to 49 mpg per tank; on two legs of the trip we drove up Hwy 17 from Wilmington NC to Ocean city MD and then to Wilmington DE area and our mileage over this area driving 55-60 mph was 53-54+ mpg for 2+ tanks of gas. It really drove home the point that driving the speed limit or lowering the speed limit to 55-60 as was done in the 70's has a tremendous impact on efficiency.
  • scottc3scottc3 Posts: 137
    The writer above is correct, we will all get about 50mpg.. +/- a bit. You drive 500 miles, you have used about 10 gallons of gas, so you should put 10 gallons in if you fill up. For me, I like to know how much gas I have in my tank when I get down to 1 bar left, or 1 increment on other cars I own. I just like to know this. For the first 3-4 months I thought I had 3 gallons left in the tank, based on a 9 gallon fill-up when I reached the last bar.. and the tank being 12 gallons. I thought I could drive another 150 miles when my car hit the last mark on the fuel gauge. My ASSUMPTION was that I had 12 gallons in the tank.. this is clearly NOT the case for must cars. If you have read my recent posts.. my last 'fill-up' was a true fill-up, with gas overflowing out the fuel inlet... not much, but it came out. I have now driven 600 miles on this tank of gas and my last light has not started blinking yet (indicating I need to get gas). So, I put in a bit more then 12 gallons in the tank on this last fill. I will know soon how many gallons, or less, I have in the tank when I'm no the last mark. For me, this will be useful information.

    I really like my car.. I just want to know the above info for my own sake.

  • pierre12pierre12 Posts: 1
    Hi all. I've read that the low gas gauge was supposed to show with 11,5 l left in the tank. I ran into a major hybrid system failure 25 km after the gauge started to blink. When the dealer filled it up, there was 5,5 l left in the tank. Now I,ve read about the difference while filling up and I got a copy of a page stating that the tank, made of resine, could compress up to 5 l in cold temperatures. That explains why we cannot consistantly fill up to the 45 l capacity. Has any of you come across this major failure problem with close to 1 ½ US gal in the tank? With suppositely 11,5 l (3 US gal) left, I expect to do a lot more than 25 km (14 miles)....

  • PIerre - way back in March I posted about running out of gaz with my 08 Prius - this being the first time in my life - anyway I did about 47 miles after the blinking started before the motor stopped - I was on the QEW close to Niagara - going 110Km/H. when oops the big red light turned on - so with the electric motor - I did about 1-2 km and was watching my battery. I decided to stop because the book clearly says don't empty your battery. Everytime - my light started blinking in the past I would go maybe 10-20 miles and tank up and I also saw that I had lots of gaz left - like I could still do at least 100KM and more. Anyway - I now know when it blinks - I find a gaz station. I still love our 2 Prius's (05-08) and I placed an order to get a new 08 for my wife and will have an 05 to sell in September - any buyers around?
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Just saw your post.

    You CANNOT trust anything posted over at CA because none of it is verifieable. BTW, Consumer Affairs IS NOT Consumer Reports.

    CA is a site run by lawyers, look at the fine print deeper in the site, who are trolling for scared and unknowledgable owners of anything who are angry or just don't understand how certain things work. They are trying to gather data from 'reports' in order to see if there is sufficient interest to open a class action lawsuit.

    This has nothing to do with Toyota specifically. CA wants to sue every manufacturer of any product; drugs, carseats, autos, toys, you name it. Its only purpose is to gather data so that the lawyers can make money by filing class action suits. The one thing that they DONT have is any verifiable proven data on any complaint, it's all 'he said...she said stuff'. In addition and this is most damning, the complainers don't even have to own the product on which they are filing the complaint. A complaint(s) on the Prius can be filed by the Chrysler Marketing Dept. Complaints about Chevy trucks can be filed by a Toyota dealership. And....complaints about the bladder variability issue can even be made by the CA staff themselves to see if this net catches any unsuspecting fish.

    That's all that CA compiles, complaints. Better you should look at the NHTSA website.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I have my 2005 at 83000 mi plus. I too have experienced the 'bladder variability issue' on rare occasions.

    But going over the top on such a silly inconsequential issue is silly. HINT: Use your common sense.

    I'm sure that you didn't have this explained to you when you took delivery of your Prius. If it had been explained to you up front then you'd be able to deal with the variability.

    Simply put, don't let the bars go below 2. At the 2-bar level you will have driven about 350-400 miles ( MFD indication ). When the bars hit 2 look for a gas station. At that time you will put in about 7-8 gal of fuel ( 380 mi / 48 mpg = ~8 gal ). That's it. It really is that simple. Trust me on this after 83000 miles. I have a friend who's at 205,000 miles on his 2004 and he's never run out of gas.

    Common sense has a lot to do with it. If you've driven 350 miles and your MFD is showing 50 mpg then you should 'expect' to add about 7 gal. So what if the pump shuts off after 4.5 gal? Common sense. Bleed in another 2.5 gal. It will work it only takes common sense. How do I know this? I've been at 1 bar knowing that I should put in about 9+ gal. However for whatever technical variability the pump shut off after 3/4 of a gallon. Well I know that can't be right. Common sense tells me that somehow I have to put in more than 3/4 of a gallon. I'm sure that I have to put in between 8-10 gallon, 3/4 of a gallon just will not fill the tank.

    Now if you WANT to blow this out of proportion that's always your choice, just don't expect a lot of love from anyone other than CA. If you're a troll, then enjoy your life as one.
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    Stick it in! All the way!
    Or maybe try another pump with a different nozzle.
    No problem w/my '07.
    Sometimes have problem w/wife's '06 Hybrid Mariner. I just reposition the nozzle and go on filling.
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    What the heck is a T4, 05?
    Izit a M.Y. 2005?
    T4, does that refer to the latest Terminator model? I thot they were in the 2000s models by now.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "T4, does that refer to the latest Terminator model? I thot they were in the 2000s models by now. "

    I seem to recall that the latest Terminator was the the cyberdyne T1000.
  • :lemon: My 2008 Toyota Prius has had challenges with both filling the "tank" and calculating mileage since I purchased the car. I have never expected the car's average mileage to be dead on, but close would be nice. I certainly never expected not to be able to fill up my gas tand wither. I just got back from another lengthly road trip. In the summer, I still have challenges acutally getting the tank filler. Also, the mileage, when calculated by hand, differed as much as 11 mpg ... with the car noting the fuel economy was better than acutally achieved. I was only getting in the high 30's on this trip ... ugh!!! Recently, I took the Prius into Toyota to have the fuel gauge recalibrated (this would have been the third time). Toyota told me that the difference can be up to 15 mpg difference and that there was nothing wrong with the car. While waiting for the car to be taken care of, I looked around the car lot ... I now have a 2009 Toyota Camry SE (my 1992 Camry has over 250K on it). No more worries about all the different issues I experienced with my Prius ... I am looking forward to seeing how my Camry runs! No more Prius issue, no more wondering what else will crop up with the Prisu ... :blush:
  • Well I am sorry to hear that the previous poster had such a bad experience with his/her Prius. Since having trouble filling my tank last winter it did cure itself as the weather got warmer. I have also kept track of all of my mileage since the first fillup. I now have 52,000 miles on an '06. My car's recorded mileage and my hand calculated mileage are usually within 1-2 mpg and neither is one or the other routinely higher or lower, they vary. The one new thing I'd like to publicize is that when I needed new tires this past spring, I reviewed this and other websites and ended up buying the Nokian (althoughI had never heard of them before.) Since putting on the Nokian's filled with nitrogen my mileage calculated either way has been 53-55 mpg with every fill up. Prior to this my mileage was 48-52 mpg (non-winter).
  • jjohurjjohur Posts: 3
    I have an '09 which I just purchased. Having purchased and driven other cars without tank problems(lol) I drove 400 miles on my first tank and was assuming I should get roughly 450 miles since the gauge told me my average mpg was 45. That would leave me roughly with 1.9 gallons since the tank holds 11.9. So at this point I'm at the 1 bar level according to the gauge. I get to the gas station and I can only fill 5.3 gallons. I keep trying but I can't add more so I think to myself that this is very strange (not having heard of this gas bladder problem). I proceed to call the service advisor at Toyota only to be told the most ridiculous answer. She said I should never let the tank get below 1/3 empty (about 3-4 bars) and if I do it could take 3-4 refills to bring the tank back to normal. I almost busted out laughing at this highly technical response. What a load of %$%$#@ BS. I said to her if that were truly the case Toyota would have the early early very early running out of gas light come on to notify the driver. I did not hear or see anything at the 1/3 level. I looked at the manual and didn't find any reference to this absolutely stupid statement. In my opinion, this tank issue is a clear product defect and bad design at best. I can still only fill 5-6 gallons of gas in this tank even though I have 1 bar showing. I'm going to start documenting this deficiency during my next few visits to the dealer and then I will proceed to check with a lemon law attorney (they are free by the way) if the dealer doesn't fix this problem. I want to be able to use and fill up my tank completely any time, any day, and at any gas station and not worry about if it's warm or cold, if it's gas station x vs y, and if it's a blue moon as the service advisor continued to tell me ...
  • I've owned over 50 cars in my life and very few had a gas gauge that I'd trust with certanty. With new technology (ie: bladder-tank) comes unique issues. I have over 91K miles on an '04 Prius and I can honestly say that the filling of the gas tank has usually been uneventfull. Very cold weather has been troublesome but every Prius owner knows that. I actually think it's nit-picking abit to make such an issue but perhaps there are some owners that are experiencing more irregularities with filling up. Lastly ...If you can't deal with this quirk.....Sell it and get almost most of your cash back.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    The Cliff Notes (TM) is that in the beginning the fuel bladder can be somewhat variable. Simply ignore it. If it only wants to take 5.5 gal you might try to gently bleed in a little more but if it keeps shutting off the pump it might also be the pump! Just recap it and drive away.

    Almost assuredly you will have a less than full tank but over the long haul, meaning 1-5 yrs, this one short tank will be inconsequential. On the following tanks you'll very likely be adding 10 gal as you expected.

    Now if you can only add 5.5 gal on every tank then there might be a problem in the filling. BUT.... if you can only add 5.5 gal and you're getting 400+ miles on 5.5 gal then you've gotta tell everyone how you're doing that. ;) :shades:

    The fuel bladder issue is well-known and well-understood ever since this Gen2 arrived. It is different and it's been an intentional design parameter. The vast majority of owners have no issues or can work around them. Over 93000 miles I've encountered it about 3 times. I just ignore it and enjoy the vehicle. It's the most minor of inconveniences.
  • Well, if you have owned over 50 cars in your life you must have owned quite a large number of crappy cars or you have too much money to waste and as such you might want to make a more objective response next time. If the car manufacturer advertises 11.9 gallons and I can only add consistently between 5 and 6 gallons there's either a design flaw or you're smoking some [non-permissible content removed] in which case please let me know what it is. You might want to check but there was a TSB with this particular issue and it's nothing I'm dreaming up. With regards to your statement that "every Prius owner knows" that' there's a problem with cold weather that might be the case where you live but NOT in Southern California. I've had the air conditioning on at home for the last week because it's so hot and today is November 1. This weather comment is for the birds ... Come on, face it there's a problem with the design. Don't get me wrong I love the car but the tank is certainly putting a damper on the whole thing. It's not just a quirk as some people besides me have made much more detailed comments about this particular issue. Mark my words, if Toyota doesn't address this problem it will become a larger issue.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Every once in a while some one on one site or another 'discovers' this minor annoyance and goes sem-ballistic about it. It's been present since the Gen2's first arrived and it comes and goes in nearly every vehicle.

    It's an intentional design parameter.

    Now because it is intentional and since it does annoy some owners, apparently Toyota has modified the fuel tank design for the TCH and the HH. Whether the Gen3s will have the same design or still have the bladder will only be known in several weeks. For the present in the Gen2's it is what it is - intentionaly - and hundreds of thousands of owners enjoy the vehicle every day with little or no annoyance.

    As I noted after 93000 miles I've encountered it maybe 3 times and one of those was due to the pump I'm certain.
  • Filling up your tank is not the only problem.

    If you leave your Prius at an airport for two weeks you will come back to a dead battery. That is, unless you disconnect your battery.

    The highway mileage is based on 55 mph UNDER IDEAL CONDITIONS. So don't expect to get highway mileage as posted on the window sticker. That is, if you want to stick your neck out on a interstate at 55 mph. No me.
  • Look folks. There are various factors that are part of the big picture. I too have well over 93K miles and have experienced the fill-up issue. More often than not it was because the fuel pump was excessive of flow. When I squeezed the nozzel to a slow fill it worked much better. I've never been able to fill to the max (11.9 gallons) The most I ever put in was 11.2 gal's. That was after 26 miles on flashing "E". As to mileage I just know that it varys. I get as good as 51 mpg's in summer and 43 mpg's winter. Head winds even reduce it to upper 30's sometimes. What I think is the most important highlight of the Prius is the overall trouble free hybrid that it has proven to be. I've owned over 50 cars and never had such success and worry free transportation before.
  • I agee with the previous post. The car is very reliable, gets great mileage and most important of all has 70% less greenhouse gas emissions. It also is a lot of fun to drive. Getting ready for my 5th round trip to FL from MA in my Prius and I am really looking forward to it. In the winter the bladder tank does not take as much as it does in the summer, and in the winter the mileage is lower, this is something that is a fact. It would be interesting to find out if the bladder tank functions like it should for Toyota engineers in spite of the issues we may have from time to time. New Prius owners should give the car a chance for you to understand its capabililties. If in the end you'd prefer something different, go back to one of the other car companies, but remember this is 2nd-3rd generation technology while Ford is using Toyota's first generation.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Filling up your tank is not the only problem.

    If you leave your Prius at an airport for two weeks you will come back to a dead battery. That is, unless you disconnect your battery.

    The highway mileage is based on 55 mph UNDER IDEAL CONDITIONS. So don't expect to get highway mileage as posted on the window sticker. That is, if you want to stick your neck out on a interstate at 55 mph. No me.

    Two inaccurate statements above....accuracy is important in all discussions.

    If you leave your Prius at an airport for two weeks the 12v battery will NOT be dead if you DO NOT have to disconnet it before leaving it unattended for a period of 2-4 weeks.

    This is the accurate information: If you are going to leave your vehicle undriven for up to FOUR weeks then disabling the 5 proximity sensors in the SKS is recommended. This is done by pressing the 'KEY' button under the steering wheel it takes about one third of a second.

    IF you are going to leave the vehicle undriven for more than 4 weeks it is recommended to disconnet the 12v battery.

    The highway mileage was NEVER estimated at 55 mpg. At no time. Under the original EPA figures it was always estimated at 51 mpg if one drove according to the EPA test parameters. This is absolutely accurate. I've done it every day for the last 3 yrs and 95000 miles.

    However...if your personal preferences or driving situation have you driving at 65 or 75 or 85 mph then you cannot get 51 mpg in a Prius - or any other vehicle at the moment, the laws of physics cannot be superceded.

    Your preferences may be for another vehicle, just keep your complaints accurate.
  • Thanks for clarifying - the battery concern - I've left my car in cold Canada weather for about 10 days and never had a problem - I will remember to press that button in the future if I leave the car for 2-3 weeks.

    I also didn't know that we were allowed to drive 75 - 85 mph on the highways - I would be concerned more with an accident than running out of gaz.
  • I live in south Florida. I took delivery of a 2009 Prius on 2/11/2009. The air temperature was 82 F. The gas gage had one bar and began blinking as soon as I left the dealer lot. I took it to the station where I have been filling various cars (8 different makes and models) since 1995 without incident. After pumping 5.4 gallons, the pump shut off like the tank was full. I moved the nozzle around in the fill tube neck and got 11.9 gallons in the tank before the pump shut off. When I removed the gas delivery nozzle from the fill tube neck, gas began back flowing out of the tank with such considerable force and speed that my shoes and pants were soaked with fuel. I estimate one quart of fuel spilled on the driveway. I stuck the fuel pump nozzle back in the gas tank fill tube neck to reduce the back flow. That stopped the geyser effect but some fuel continued to bubble out. It took several minutes for the fuel to stop bubbling and drain back into the tank.

    I only average 8,000 driving miles per year. Most of the time my car sits in the airport parking lot for 5 days a week. It will be some time before I have an opportunity to fill the tank again as I fly almost every week. I will post on this issue after I attempt a second fill-up.
  • I have a 2004 Prius. I live at 8,000 ft in Aspen, CO. I never had a problem in 04-07 but last winter I had the same problem you and many other described. It went away by itself last spring and just came back again yesterday. I will put a bottle of gas protector in the tank this morning and keep track of my mileage driven so I can estimate what it should take to refill the tank. It is a real pain. Otherwise the car is great.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    I wonder if the vent on the tank is plugged, but I also have to wonder why you spent all the extra money on a Pruis if you only drive 8K a year. Also I have never bought a new car where the dealer didn't fill the tank and I've bought a whole lot of cars.
  • gfr1gfr1 Posts: 55
    I'm pretty sure that it was a fueling pump nozzle shutoff that was the culprit, not the car, in this case. You said that it shut off early, the first try and then you jiggled it around. I don't know if your actions might have caused the problem, but routinely, the nozzle should have shut off before the pressure built up. I had this happen once with a nearly new Mercedes S-model. It gushered probably in excess of a gallon and hadn't stopped on its own even then. I just happened to pull the nozzle out to check the level for I thought it was overdue. This was on a indian reservation station and I suspect that the nozzle hadn't been checked or maintained. If I hadn't stopped to check, with the available nozzle pressure, it could have caused some real expensive damage. The car stumbled for awhile after I drove away, but finally cleared and seemed to suffer no lasting ill effects. -- GR
  • Well, wonder no more. I have not purchased a new car in 24 years but I have driven 8 new vehicles during those 24 years. All those vehicles were part of the fleet that my employer deploys to the field. We keep them for 3 years and then turn them in for a new vehicle. I am part of a study to determine if we want make the Prius a majority of our fleet (about 3,000 vehicles.) As I indicated in my original post, I fly almost every week so the vast majority of my driving is to and from the airport. The 2006 vehicle I turned in for the Prius had 21,877 miles.

    If you buy a new vehicle the dealer may fill the tank, I don’t know because I have never had to buy a new vehicle. If the dealer is only making what is called a “courtesy delivery”, they put the minimum amount of fuel in the vehicle. The subject of the fuel procedure or quirks involving the Prius was not mentioned by the courtesy delivery dealer. The process of taking delivery consists of signing off on the old vehicle, signing paperwork for the new vehicle, accepting the keys and driving away. Interaction with the dealer is for a minimum amount of time because they only get a fee for the transaction and they know they will not be selling a new vehicle to me in the future.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    That explains a lot but maybe the employer could put these to better use instead of having someone like you who puts a small amount of miles on the vehicle into something else. They are paying at least $3K more for a Prius than say a Chevy Cobalt of compatible car and get in the high 30's on the highway. Keeping them only 3 years they will for most of the vehicles never get a return on their investment though I don't know what kind of deduction they get on their Fed taxes. Personally they shouldn't get any deduction on a non american made vehicle but the Prius may or may not be built in the U.S. one of these days.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    This 'topping off' that you did is something you NEVER should do. There are two reasons..

    In the nozzle there is a charcoal cannister to capture the evaporative emissions, clean them then release them into the atmosphere. Topping off can damage this cannister and cause a major expense.

    In your Gen 2 Prius there is a fuel bladder inside the gas tank. This is what causes so much variability in the quantity of fuel that will be accepted. In new vehicles this bladder is stiff and new. In very cold areas this bladder will be very stiff and unyielding in freezing weather. The risk of topping off like you did is that raw fuel can get between the gas tank and fuel bladder. Then you've got to replace the whole fuel system.

  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Two problems with your SOTP comparo.

    The Prius is a 5 door hatchback. It's more similar to the Matrix/Vibe rather than the Corolla/Cobalt.

    The other is that whatever 'premium' is being paid upfront is almost completely recaptured at resale time after 3 years.

    In the case of the Matrix/Vibe the 'premium' is $4500 but almost all of that is recaptured when the vehicle is resold. The resale price of a Prius is $3500-$4000 higher than a Matrix/Vibe after 3 years. In ridiculous times like last summer a 3 y.o. Prius with < 30000 miles was actually selling at nearly full sticker price. Little or no loss in depreciation.

    The tax credits on Toyota hybrids are complete. Ditto Honda. Soon Ford's will begin to phase out.
  • lk7lk7 Posts: 2
    I have read the messages from sherry9 and would like to know more about the arbitration process and how the matter was resolved. My 2007 Prius (50,000) will consistently (all weathers) have traveled about 237miles when I have two bars left on the gas gauge. I was not warned of this problem, it was not this way when the car was new and I have received the same evasive answers from Toyota with no soluion. Since I live in Wyoming where towns are far apart this is an important issue to me. Thanks for any info.
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