I have a huge soft spot for Prius. It is one of my all-time favorite cars that I have owned. It has helped me understand what incredible engineering feats can do to shift an entire industry into thinking differently about how we get ourselves around.
Owning Prius and other hybrids have also given me the inside perspective that while these cars are fantastic, they have their faults too.
I asked myself if there was one thing that happened to my car to ask Toyota to recall what it would be? I had to answer this question, so; I thought of all the possibilities I could to see if Toyota had tried to do their part in taking care of me as a Prius owner. Here is what I found out.
Recall For The Hybrid Battery
While the only recall information I could find out about hybrid batteries and recall is the special service campaign or SSC 40G, this service campaign is for gen 1 Prius and only a specific VIN range with some of the modules in the HV battery leak electrolyte.
The campaign, which is not a recall, ensured that Prius owners who experienced trouble codes associated with the leaking would get the battery repaired at no cost to them. This service campaign is long outdated, of course, so it did not help me in my quest.
The second part I thought about was maybe I would have Toyota recall the battery on my other new Prius. To which I found another reply. Toyota used to have an 8-year 100,000-mile warranty on the HV battery. Toyota did something they did not have to do here that helped us Prius owners out.
Toyota took the liberty of increasing the warranty of hybrid batteries to 10 years or 150,000 miles from the date of first use. I think that it has been a great move on the part of Toyota for a few reasons. First, I think it shows how much Toyota cares about its customer base. Second, it tells me that they want hybrid technology to succeed, and third, they believe that a hybrid battery's lifespan is even better than what was initially estimated.
While I think it would be great to have a new Toyota battery replaced under recall, I cannot help but think that Toyota has very much done their part to try and help the mass majority out with battery replacement.
Brake Systems Recalls
Again, if you have ever had to do a major repair like the brake system on your Prius, you know it can be expensive. I have heard some estimates from owners that $3000 to $5000 was the final bill to get their beloved hybrid back on the road.
Toyota here again has tried to work with the public. In 2013, Toyota issued a recall to replace brake accumulators that failed and caused a pressure loss. The dreaded brake system failure did not go unnoticed by Toyota, but not all customers are happy.
The campaign is expired, but I believe Toyota did try to make things right with as many people as possible (though I know someone will read this that did not get help.
Okay, so probably would not be able to get that covered as Toyota has already tried that. What else?
Hybird Inverter System
While this issue mainly plagues generation 3 Prius, Toyota again has stepped in here and tried hard to make things right. Issuing and inverter recall is no small task, and the price to pay is not tiny either.
The gen three redesigned inverter had some fatal flaws and left some owners stranded. As more complaints about failing inverters became known, Toyota listened and responded accordingly.
The inverters' recall would take care of a customer who experienced the issue in possibly two ways. First, if the VIN fell into the category but did not have any symptoms, the computer would be updated to reflect changes. Second, if the customer were having the issue with a faulty component, it would be replaced at no charge.
So, count me out on this one for gen 3. Gen 2 I have never seen an inverter fail, so I really cannot gripe about that.
Several other things came to mind as I searched through these potential recalls. All of which Toyota seemed to have had a handle on the situation.
I fully believe that Toyota does try to do the right thing as much as possible for their customers. You have to realize that it is hard to fix everything with all the Toyota vehicles on the road, not to mention expensive. The other thing you have to take into account is that these vehicles age, and they do break. I know Toyota has a fantastic reputation for longevity, but it has a shelf life with anything.
I hope that you have found this article helpful. Do you think there is a recall Toyota should do for Prius? Let me know about it. I would be happy to try and push the information along.
Thank you for reading, and I look forward to seeing you in the next story. The Hybrid Guy Shares His Proven Techniques For Getting 50 MPG On A Old Prius
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.