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Toyota Prius Electrical and Lighting Questions



  • vcgenovcgeno Posts: 5
    It was not the other persons battery it was that the positve connection on the Prius is too small for the clamps on standard sized jumber cables.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    I made my own jumper cables using #25 Mueller solid copper clips on the Prius end and larger ones on the "doner car" end with #10 finely stranded wire (trolling motor cable). The Prius only draws a 1/2 sec. 40 amp pulse when you press on the brake, and another when you press "Start". This cable is heavy enough for that. I keep it in the "secret storage bin" in the front of the console (because you can't open the hatch with a dead 12V battery).

    When you turn off the car, if you sit inside, the headlamps stay on. This can kill the battery. If you turn the car on and off from the passenger side you will not open the drivers door, and again, the headlamps will stay on, draining the battery. This is how most people kill the battery. So always be sure to open and close the drivers door when you shut off the car.

    I haven't needed the cable, and probably never will. But I have it ready, just in case. ;)
  • lnmlnm Posts: 13
    I hope I can describe our situation accurately as I was not the driver when the problem occured. My husband drives our 2005 Prius approx. 50 miles daily. One snowy morning, he left the house and proceeded normally to the freeway on-ramp, about 3 miles from our house. As he got on the freeway, the Prius dropped to about 20 mph. The car wouldn't go any faster no matter how much gas was applied. The speedometer reading, however, displayed inaccurate speeds - 80 mph. Unaware of what to do, he completed his commute and drove it home that evening. I checked the car in the evening and witnessed the same problem - car wouldn't accelerate no matter how much pressure was applied to the gas pedal, and the speedometer displayed obviously incorrect speeds. The technology display didn't indicate any problem and no warning lights were present. In fact, the display indicated that the battery was at 3/4 charge. He had just filled the gas tank the night before (he never lets it go below 1/2 full).

    Feeling it was unsafe to drive, I had it towed to Toyota. They took a look at it and told me that nothing was wrong with it - the battery had just gotten too low. First question, if the battery was low, why would it start and drive normally for 3 miles at all? Second question, would a low battery cause all the problems described (no acceleration, incorrect speedometer readings), or is it possible that the dealer just charged the battery, the computer reset, and the problem temporarily disappeared?

    I'm pissed about having to pay for the tow and the labor to recharge the battery, but I'm more concerned that the real problem hasn't been solved. The dealer explained that the battery that became rundown was the second, technology battery, so I assume he's talking about the 12V battery described in other posts above. Also, my husband does not recall leaving any powered accessories on or doors ajar, so it's inconceivable to us how this battery would have gotten rundown overnight.

    Any feedback at all is appreciated.
  • lnmlnm Posts: 13
    I just wanted to add to the above post. I called the service guy back to clarify the problem further. He said the 12V battery was completely dead and the main battery was almost dead. I asked what could have cause this to happen overnight (was driving fine at 5 p.m. the day before, problems began at 8 a.m. the next mornign), and he basically boiled it down to something (door light) being left on. I asked him about the car possibly needing a software update, a cell being blown or faulty, cold weather and he said no chance to all of those things.

    It seems to me that the service guy relies on a diagnostic computer to tell him what's going on with the car. I asked if he visually inspected the battery to see if it was faulty or a cell had blown and he said no, the computer would tell him if anything was wrong. I think I need to get another opinion on the status of these batteries. I've read in other posts that AutoZone will check a battery for free. I will be taking it there and reposting if I find out anything new. There is just no way that we left something on in the car, and frankly I resent being blamed for it. Even if a light was left on, would this cause a battery to go completely dead after just 15 hours?
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    I have seen a few reports of a poor connection to the chassis from the 12V battery -ve terminal causing problems. It may be that connection failed. This -could- happen "suddenly", though it would be rare. Perhaps the bolt came loose.
  • Thanks for that info..
    This is exactly what happened to my brand new 2008 Prius with 1200 miles on it. I realise now that I must have left the headlight on as I powered off from the passenger side. After sometime, I was told that my alarm is going off (which is supposed to happen if the 12V battery is totally discharged (sounds counterintuitive to me !). My dealer Pat Lobb Toyota of McKinney was nice enough to replace my battery free of charge although the 'dead' battery was perfectly fine.

    Interesting side note: Realised that the 12V has to be active for switching the car to Neutral.. :)
  • I have had my brand new '08 Prius for 2 weeks and 2 days. I just filled it up for the first time this week, which is great. But, today I pushed start and the screen was still blank...Yikes! I thought...maybe I don't have the break pressed down. Nope. So, I turned the car off and restarted...Yikes! No screen. It drove fine, but I cannot operate things beyond the "manual" steering wheel controls. I'm taking it in tomorrow and hoping it's something simple...frustrating and I'm trying to be patient. If it's a fuse, why would a brand new car already be blowing fuses? Did I get a lemon?? :lemon: Hopefully not!! I was really excited about my first new car purchase and it felt like a good decision...too good to be true maybe?
  • Dealer had to replace my left HID bulb this week. They initially thought it was likely the controller card behind the light, but it passed all the diagnostics. So they decided it must be the bulb. I was told that the part would have cost $400 if not covered by factory warranty (only 23K miles). I think they had to pull off the fender or bumper to get at the assembly.

    Symptoms: headlamp would occasionally dim or go out completely. Cycling the lights off and back on always seemed to correct the problem for a while.

    The dealer (Bob Bridge Toyota in Renton, WA) did have to keep my car for a few days while waiting for the part. They said it was the first time they had seen this type of failure in a Prius. I didn't ask about HID failures in other Toyota models.
  • birgerbirger Posts: 80
    Hi viking,

    $400! That's unfortunate news. It's probaly correct that the bumper has to be removed to get at the headlight assembly, although it should not be necessary just for a bulb exchange.

    I take this opportunity to give an update on what's happened to our Prius (light-wise) since I last posted quite a while back. Sorry for the long post following.....

    The Philips H4 ExtremePower bulbs were (after having aimed the headlights a little less "conservatively") a pleasant surprise, for conventional headlights, although of course not a match for the Bi-Xenons on our then other car, a Mercedes ML 320CDI. But as a relatively cheap, easy solution, they're really OK:

    However, apart from the excellent lights, our particular ML was rather a :lemon: , so it was replaced in June by a Lexus RX400h, which - like the Prius - is pure bliss to drive.

    To my surprise I found out that the Lexus came with only low-beam Xenon headlights (it must be the only brand that offer swivelling, but not Bi-Xenon headlights), and driving long distances at night was something of a challenge, having been used to Xenon hi-beams for seven years or so.

    Quite quickly, I found a solution via EBay - a Chinese/American company who in no time shipped me a HID replacement kit for the 9005 hi-beam bulbs on the Lexus. And now even my previous Bi-Xenon equipped cars look weak in comparison!!

    The kit was really very easy to fit, of an impressive quality, and cost only around $100 (the price has since dropped radically to only $42.99). After a while, the idea of "Xenonising" the Prius too from the same source matured, and in the late fall I ordered a set of H4-compatible units from the same company. Because there's slightly more hardware and electronics involved, they are a little more expensive (the current price is $ 85.99).

    Shipment was again quick, but due to work I had the kit siting around for some time before fitting it to the Prius. Again, impressive workmanship, no wiring has to be cut, and I did the installation in a couple of unstressed hours. It achieves hi/lo beam by a retracting metal cutoff shade - just like the units used on some Volvo models, IIRC.

    The low beam light pattern is VERY close to the original, with minimal stray light and really no blinding of ooncoming drivers. And of course with a vastly improved output - this really is the thing to get if you didn't get Xenons from the factory, and you plan on any kind of longer distance night driving. The high beam light is very much better than standard, but not quite as much a revolution as the low beam is.

    We have just come back from a 1500 mi trip, most of which was done in the dark, and it was very, very zen - no stress from not seeing enough, and no stress from oncoming drivers flipping their lights at you either.

    Highly recommendable!

  • Hi Birger,

    Just to would have cost $400 plus labor, but since the factory warranty still applied, I paid nothing.

  • birgerbirger Posts: 80
    Hi Viking,

    yup - I know that. But since the Xenon bulbs/burners are supposed to last for the life of the car, a slightly premature failure would probably occur beyond the warranty period - and thus be a nasty surprise.

    OT: Sometime one might wonder how many modern cars are designed: The Mercedes "A" Class (not sold in the US) requires the front bumper to be removed to replace the side marker light bulb - and these burn out quite frequently. Cost of bulb: EUR 1.50. Cost of removal/replacement of front bumper: EUR 295 !

  • coontie66coontie66 Posts: 110
    I think you will find these Optima's at Sams Club for $155. I just got 3 for my boat.
  • aaperryaaperry Posts: 1
    Last night, pulled up and put my 2006 Prius in park and then depressed the power button. Got a little warm in the car and I wanted to open the windows; depressed the power button, cracked all four of the windows and depressed the power button again. Left the car, took the smart key with me...everything was 'off' as far as I could tell...All seemed fine until I got ready to acutally start the car and leave the store. Got into the car, fastened the seat belt, foot on the brake, depressed the power button...all of the shift position lights started to flash, the gas indicated went down to only having one bar (yet the car was over 3/4 full), the low tire pressure and ABS lights came on along with the check engine light. The park indicator light was green and the power indicator light was amber. I thought maybe I depressed the power button too fast, so I did it again only slower. Still nothing but flashing lights and then eventually no lights at all. I was able to put up all of the windows except the drivers (auto) window, thank goodness it was only 'cracked.' Finally called roadside assistance and had someone 'jump' the 12V battery in the front. After the car 'started' the red triangle with the exclamation point in the center on the dash board was illuminated. Also, the computer screen was only showing the lower 2/ the upper third in the left hand corner was (in red) an outline of a car with another exclamation point. I drove the car home; approximately 20 miles and backed into the garage (in case it had to be jump started again)...about 10 minutes later, went back out into the car and it started like there had never been any issues. Got up this morning and again no issues...called the dealer, they want to check for 'battery power' on Friday...this is not a good situation when you're alone hoping that your cell phone battery will hold up long enough to get some help.
  • buzbybuzby Posts: 1
    a friend brought a prius in from japan and is wondering can the display be changed to english, does this involve new software or hardware, is it possible. have been in touch with toyota in japan but they have been less than helpful directing me to toyota ireland, whom in turn have been less ######### so wondering is their any
    techies ot there who can answer the question
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    An electric boat? How v-e-r-y in-ter-est-ing!
  • femelatfemelat Posts: 1
    Can anyone assist me in removing the coverof the fuse box. I have been able to release the clips at the top of the lid, but cannot get the bottom clip to let go. I would like to be able to get to the charging post,inside this box before I really need it. Thanks Clem.
  • Twice in the last 2 weeks when I go to start our 2004 Prius, I step on the brake, push the "Power" button and all the dashboard warning lights come on, but nothing will happen. The car really isn't 'started'. You can't put it in gear. Pushing the "Power" button again does nothing, pushing the "Park" button does nothing. I tried inserting the key in the slot, and it went it, but nothing happened, and then the key could not be removed. After letting the car sit for awhile (10-15 minutes), I stepped on the brake and pushed the "Power" button and everything shut down. Then it would start as usual, and the key would come out.

    Called the local dealer service manager who said that they would have to get the car to do the same thing in order to diagnose the problem. He says there would be no computer codes in the system that could help. I find that hard to believe.

    Any help would be most appreciated.
  • HELP??!! 2007 toyota prius hid problem,,ocassionally while driving both headlites go out ,quick fix flick the switch and they will come on,next pass. side goes out acts as if it burned out, we opened hood and wow!! must have lost a pound of skin just trying to get to bulb, called dealer about replacing lites and almost had to call ems for heart attack symtoms,, next time lites were neede d they both worked fine she uses car every nite for work and lites are on 4 to 6 hrs. at atime do you have any ideas what problem might be? is it lite issue or something else would also like to omit HIDS and go to halogen can this be done? thanks for you r help
  • AlanB4AlanB4 Posts: 2
    I have a 2006 Prius with almost the same problem. Not only do both headlights occasionally go out and come right back on when I flick the switch, but sometimes the left light, sometimes the right goes out until I turn lights off and on again. I told my dealer about this months ago, but they said I neede a new left headlamp, apparently ignoring everything else I told them. I can't believe it's either or both of the lamps themselves--it looks like a problem with the circuitry, maybe the controller card that nw_viking mentions. I'm going to take it back to the dealer, but if anyone has found a solution to this problem, I'd be grateful to know, too.
  • I had this same problem, got pulled over probably four times because my headlights were intermittently on or off so I would check before leaving and they would be on, next thing I know I was pulled over, flipping the switch on off to reset lights and cops never ticketed me, however, I finally brought it to my dealer in VT because all my lights (dash and exterior) went off while driving at night once and scared the ...out of me. They changed the HID bulbs and the "casing" for the drivers side bulb free of charge...I have not had this problem since. This was occuring at around a year or so after buying the car, now I have almost 100k miles and have not had ONE problem at all I love this car. Just another quick note, I did send a letter to Toyota based on the scare of all my lights going out while driving 55 mph at night and did receive an appology letter and compensation for my troubles.
  • AlanB4AlanB4 Posts: 2
    Thanks. Very helpful. I've had the same experience with the local police. I've never had the interior lights go off, but both headlights have gone off twice when I was going down some very steep mountains, and I had the dot dot dots scared out of me, too.
  • I want to connect a 1000w inverter to the 12v battery, but am having a difficult time removing the red protective cover on the + terminal. also, could I connect to the terminals under the hood that are used to jumpstart ?
  • I failed to mention I have a 2005 Prius, In the above post. Thanks
  • TOYOTA CALLED AND SAID THEY WILL PAY THE DEALER DIRECTLY AND THERE WILL BE NO OUT OF POCKET COST TO ME!!!!! ----- I have a 2007 Prius with 42k miles on it. My headlights have been going on and off for a while now. I recently got a fix it ticket in California so I took the car to the dealer. Guess what? Not under warranty! Both HID lights need to be replaced for a total of $450. I left the car at the dealer and called Toyota at 800-3331-4331. They opened a case file for me. The next day a case worker called me and told me that they would pay the parts and I would cover the labor. (they would reimburse me) I told her I did not have the $450 and would have to wait to do the repair. She told me she would check to see if they could pay the dealer directly and call me back. Within a few minutes, the dealer called me and said Toyota is paying for the repair and my car will be ready tomorrow. Right after that TOYOTA CALLED AND SAID THEY WILL PAY THE DEALER DIRECTLY AND THERE WILL BE NO OUT OF POCKET COST TO ME!!!!! I still love my Prius! Toyota came thru for me. I was ready for a fight, but did not have to at all!
  • 2005 Prius, no problems that were not a simple misunderstanding so far. Until about ten days ago when I left an interior light on when the vehicle was snowed in for a few days. Then the battery was dead which is understandable but I have not been able to get things going again which is not. My attempts to jump the vehicle have all been in vain. I have been locked out but managed to get back in with the stump key in the fob but no matter how long I charge it from another vehicle, the battery seems to be dead. No action, nothing. Any suggestions? Also, I got the vehicle used and there was only one key or should I say electrical starting mechanism. Any way to get another without paying three hundred dollars or more?
  • irwingirwing Posts: 1
    Same thing happens to my 2005 Prius. Twice, I had to have the 12 volt charged. Dealer said the battery was fine.
    The other day, in a grocery parking lot, I tried to start the car and all of the lights flashed and I could not get FOB out. Waited and pressed power button and car powered off. Started again and it was fine. It seems that it had to recycle or something.
    Today, when starting I felt the brake push against me and the triangle flashed on for a moment. I pressed the power again with light touch on brake and it started. Seems many people have same or similar problem but no Toyota dealer seems to have ever heard of this!
    Anyone else with same problem?
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    My'07 had one headlight go out. I took it in to the dealer and the service writer all but admitted defeat. Saying, "well, we probably don't stock the HID bulbs", and "we will need you to leave your car to diagnose such a complicated system". I took it back and explained that the "outage" was intermittent. And that the light would fail if it was left on for about 5mins. Anyway, I got my car back and they were "unable to duplicate". By the time I reached the end of their driveway the light was again out. So I took it back AGAIN and they were able to replace the bulb.
    What are they going to do when something goes wrong on my car that is more complicated than a light bulb?
    It causes my head to hurt when I think about it.
    Incidentally, the armrest on the driver's door is broken under the upholstery. They removed the door panel to check it out. I had to return for the "factory man" to rule on the repair. They took the door panel off and examined it and said it was not covered by the warranty.
    They didn't put the panel on right and my triangular speaker fell off.
    The rear bumper cover is pooched out on the side and was never right from delivery.
    It is not clipped into the proper tab and is bowed out. I had to return when the "factory man" was in town again. The "factory man" ruled it was not covered since it was past the "adjustment period".
    It seems they are better at declining repairs than at actually repairing cars.
    I have never met, nor even seen the "factory man". I am not sure he even exists.
    Now, the coloring on the leather seat cover is coming off. I am concerned I will have to repeat the same kangaroo process.
    Arlington, TX.
  • There are HUGE differences between Toyota dealership service centers.

    Sounds like you got one like Gosch Auto in Hemet, CA.

    That's where I got my Prius.

    Great car, bad dealer to make many long stories short.
  • peakoilpeakoil Posts: 8
    On the highway a couple months ago my super '04 gave a little jolt and the cruise control popped off and wouldn't reengage. The triangle with the exclamation point, the engine with the half circles around it, and the engine with "check" warning lights came on at the same time. I called a Toyota garage who said "bring it in", and hadn't heard of this before. I then called Toyota regional and asked them. The guy said "nothing important, it'll be okay next time you drive. Just a minor glitch." Whoa!. Next day the lights were still on, but the cruise control reengaged on the first try. After a few miles the three warning lights went off. Frugal me didn't bring the car in.

    Yesterday it happened again. However, this time both the cruise control AND the A/C compressor went off and stayed off. (Its 90 plus in Sacramento today). The fan kept fanning. All else is fine. Anybody heard of this one, and if "yes", what was the fix?
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    My experience with the Sylvania Silverstar replacement headlight bulbs was somewhat less satisfactory. I put them in my '02 VW Passat, and was somewhat pleased at first. They were NOT the difference between "night and day", but they "seemed" a little brighter/whiter to me.
    Several months passed, then one headlight failed. I tried to replace the bulb, but was surprised to find the female electrical connector had melted and fused together with the bulb itself. As a matter of fact, the wiring was melted back about an inch from the connector and the insulation was GONE.
    Since I was unable to "unplug" the bulb from the connector, I was dismayed to find that VW offered only a COMPLETE headlight [non-permissible content removed]'y ( $$$ ) as a replacement part for the melted wiring and connector.
    Fortunately, my experience as a M-B mechanic provided me with a safe and reasonable "way out". I ordered replacement connectors from the M-B parts department and repaired the melted wiring on BOTH headlights.
    I now have "normal", factory headlight bulbs back again in my VW and hope never to forget the lesson life has taught me concerning "super duper" replacement light
    My '07 Prius ( pkg #6 ) came equipped w/HIDs and I have had to replace only 1 headlight bulb ( under warranty, 3 trips to the ?Service? Department ), so far.
    Incidentally, my 30yrs experience as a M-B mechanic also taught me that the ML :lemon: was, at the time, the very worst vehicle that M-B ever produced for sale in the US.
    That vehicle has been superceded by the W211 E-Class :lemon: as the very, very worst Mercedes-Benz EVER produced for US clients/customers!
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