Prius ECM problems! Please advise!

skyfieldskyfield Member Posts: 2
Hello, below I will describe the situation I am in with my Prius and anyone who has advice and information, I welcome your replies!! First, I will just ask the main questions I have in case you don't want o read the whole story:

1) How often does the ECM give false error messages on Priuses?

2) Are the ECMs of Priuses known to go out after their warranty ends around 80,000 miles?

I am the 2nd owner of a 2002 Prius with 88,160 miles. The master warning light of the hybrid system came on the other day. The one with the exclamation mark and that the owner's manual says, "Take immediately to dealership!" I called the dealership and had the car towed in, as per instructions.

They are saying it is the ECM (engine control module) and that in addition to this they must replace the gas tank...they said it was a "no start" code. I asked my husband's father about this and he said the bulletin on this problem is as they are saying...they aren't trying to do unnecessary repairs.

The service shop said it would be $1800. I said, Yikes! I asked them to restart the computer, you know, clear it and see if the problem happened again. They started it three times and I have started it and driven it twice with no problems since.

Thing is, we also asked them if we could get the Toyota rep to comp the part since it is close to the warranty. They said they could do this, making the repairs cost $1100.

So, should we go ahead and get the service done since this may be the cheapest we will be able to get it, considering that there may actually be something wrong with the ECM, it just hasn't happened yet OR should we just wait and have to maybe pay more later, thinking that sometimes the ECM gives false warning messages.

I know that around 30,000 or so miles, the first owner had all the warning lights come on and they just reset the computer and nothing happened after that, but I am not sure of the details of that situation, if that even matters.

Please, any advice/expertise would help! I have no idea what to do!

Oh, and the mileage has been down from around 55 MPG city driving to 40 MPGs. But we have been using the AC and it has been 106 F everyday in Memphis TN lately, making, I thught, the gas burn off faster. However, it may be a problem with the ECM and fuel efficiency of the car...


  • stevegoldstevegold Member Posts: 185
    I have a 2004 which of course is a very different kettle of fish. I had that problem a few times and was always able to clear it myself somehow. It did have the gas tank/odometer panel replaced under warrantee because I was and still get strange but consistent fuel gage readings. I also had the display screen replaced under warrantee when it went totally blank. If I had your problem I would leave it as is saving $1,100 which is more than $700. If you make sure they record the incident, since there was a TSB, there is a good chance they will honor the current offer, at least for the next six months or so. I would be more nervous about doing such a big job for a problem that may be gone unless it was 100% free.
  • czarlosczarlos Member Posts: 1

    I am having the EXACT same issues and problems as you are. My car happens to be at around 96,000 miles, but as of about 10 days ago, it has been fine with just a "reset" as you said.

    I am worried as well, but so far so good. I'd really like to avoid the expensive repair. Let me know if anything goes poorly with you, or if you hear anything new on this issue. I'm going to try to do more research on the internet too.

    [email protected]
  • janetw1janetw1 Member Posts: 1
    I'm about to hit 36,000 miles with my 2006 prius. I'm considering getting the 6 yr. 100,000 mile warranty, but Consumer Reports says it's not necessary. Please let me know if you have had any expensive problems with the Prius under 100,000 miles...thanks. janetw1
  • marinefiremanmarinefireman Member Posts: 2
    i need serious help i need a whole new ecm and i am not able to pay 600 dollars from the dealer for what do i do please help
  • brokerbikerbrokerbiker Member Posts: 1
    My wife has a 2005 Prius- the last 6 weeks have been pure hell for her due to problems with her Prius and the incompetence of Toyota of Boerne and the Toyota zone staff. At about 50k miles, the car starting generating random error messages and the warning lights all started to go on. The dealer has replaced a variety of components, after having the car for a week this time, and consulting with Toyota, pronounced it 99% sure it was repaired. Today after 112 miles, the warning lights, including the Red Triangle (Tow car to dealer) came on again. This time, the brake warning light and buzzer came on also. The Prius may be a good idea, but the execution and repair work is the worst we have ever seen in a car. It is going back to Toyota of Boerne on Monday and we are filing a formal complaint with Toyota and the NTSB. Thank goodness we bought the extended warranty, but we will never buy another Toyota hybrid again.
  • dmathews3dmathews3 Member Posts: 1,739
    I don't have a Prius as I could never get past the door stop look but thats another story. We have ordered a Fusion Hybrid after driving all the hybrids. But to get back to your problem/statement of never buying another Toyota Hybrid makes me ask. Is this problem you are having a hybrid problem or a problem that could have happened on any Toyota? To me I'd be finding a different dealer which brings up another problem for most Toyota owners. There most likely isn't another dealer within a hundred miles. This was one of the deciding factors on buying the Ford besides it gets better mileage then the Camry. There are 6 dealers within 30 miles of me. If mine turns out to be a dog I can try another.
  • stevegoldstevegold Member Posts: 185
    There have been a number of problems like this reported over the years. I had to have a new screen/odometer installed, a new fuel line and gas tank, and a few other major TSB's, all under warrantee. A number of Prius' just stopped on the highway (software/sensor problem) but I have not had any problem that wasn't already a TSB. I am waiting until the 2011 or late 2010 for a new one as my 2004 runs great. That way, I should miss the five or six annoying trips to Bighorn Toyota, in Glenwood Springs, CO who are just great.
  • sullypasullypa Member Posts: 2
    Toyota's ECMs have been prone to reliability problems. I have a Toyota Matrix with 86,000 miles, and the check light has been going on. The problem is with the design of the original ECM, and since the car is 6000 miles out of warrantee both the dealer and Toyota have denied any adjustment. I know the problem is the ECM. Toyota issued Technical Service Bulletins in 2006 and again in 2007 describing the problem. But again, 6000 miles beyond warrantee, no adjustment.

    I'm buying Honda next time.

    BTW, I bought the part at another Toyota dealership, installed it in 10 minutes, and will have that other dealership register the VIN. All at a cost $250 less than the original dealer where I bought the car. So be careful and shop around. Service shops have been known to jack the price up so that they can claim to adjust it down.
  • al1998al1998 Member Posts: 1
    Hello, Prius owners!
    I've got a red triangle warning and yellow "light icon" on the display for my 11/04 Prius.
    it has 115k miles. In the repair manual it's described as an automatic light sensor malfunction, but I don't have this option installed originally from Toyota.
    All the lights operate normally.
    Any suggestions before I take it to a dealer.

    Thank you.
  • johnwyojohnwyo Member Posts: 8
    Go to E Bay, and put prius ECM, or simular to that, in the search box. May find used one, with warranty.
  • johnwyojohnwyo Member Posts: 8
    I would get a second opinion at another deaslership, myself.
  • lchowlchow Member Posts: 4
    I am now going back to honda if it has to do with hybrid .never toyota hybrid again .never. The honda for normal gas engine weak point is transmission lag .But toyota hybrid is half good and half bad while normal gas toyota is better than honda.Toyota dealerships in Ca cannot cope with their growing number of toyota car and getting very irresponsible to its customer.Honda service department are much better than toyota in customer relationship
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