The 2012 Toyota Prius V
Patrick Rall's picture

Toyota issues service campaign for Prius V exhaust system

Toyota Motor Corp has announced a service campaign for the 2011 and 2012 Toyota Prius V, focusing on a possible problem with the exhaust heat recovery system that could lead to coolant leaks – forcing the Prius V into safe mode.

Part of the hybrid drive system on the 2011 and 2012 Toyota Prius V is the exhaust heat recovery system, which uses engine coolant and a system of valves to help the car heat up more quickly. As the coolant carries heat from the exhaust system to the engine, the proper operating temperature is reached more quickly. This system can also help the heating system to warm the inside of the car more quickly. However, in the 2011 and 2012 Toyota Prius V, there is a chance that the actuator valves that control the flow of the coolant for the exhaust heat recovery system may not be strong enough. Should the control mechanism of the system not function properly, there is a chance that the coolant could leak from the system and in addition to the obvious issue of coolant loss – the Prius V may go into the “safe mode”. Safe mode allows the car to be driven but only at very low speeds, essentially bringing the car to the point of being inoperable with the exception of being able to get it off of the road.

It should be pointed out that while there are about 20,000 Toyota Prius V units in the United States being called back to the dealership for repairs – this isn’t technically a recall. Service campaigns like this one are not required or handled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and, unlike an NHTSA recall, there is no safety issue posed by this problem. The light coolant leak causes aggravation and having the car drop into safe mode will certainly force a driver to change their plans that day but there is no safety risk involved with this issue.

When the 2011 and 2012 Toyota Prius V returns to the dealership under this new service campaign, the exhaust heat recovery system actuator system will be inspected and repaired as needed. Even though this isn’t a mandated recall, the work will be done to the vehicles free of charge to the owners.

Toyota has not offered any detail as to how many real world failures there have been in the exhaust heat recovery system of the Prius V but having faced a similar problem with the traditional 2nd generation Toyota Prius, the Japanese automaker has made a very bright move getting the vehicles fixed before the feds can be lead to get involved through consumer complaints.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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