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What To Do In An Emergency Situation In Your Toyota Prius

There is no worse feeling than driving your beloved Toyota Prius in scalding hot 105 degree weather, when out of no where you get a master warning light and your car wants to shut down. I had this happen to me on a long road trip. Here is what you need to know to keep your cool even when your car is not.

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Emergency situations are never fun. Though they cause additional stress, and usually financial heartache, you can keep yourself cool and calm wen things are not. If your Prius sets a trouble code while you are driving, here are some helpful hints that could keep you ferom boiling over.

Understanding The Codes Of Your Toyota Prius

Toyota, like and car manufacturer has sets of diagnostic trouble codes that help the technician who is working on the car be able to locate the area in which the fault has occurred. DTC’s as the are commonly known in the automotive world are only aids, and to not tell you exactly what is wrong with the car. Trouble codes have gotten better over time but what they are telling you is vital to understanding the issue that is actually happening with your Prius.

When a car “codes” it means that there is a signal sent to the engine computer that has told it whether the system has a problem. For instance if we think about a simple circuit that has a battery a light bulb and a ground, if that circuit is connected the light bulb will light up until the battery power is removed from it or there is a problem with that circuit flowing electricity.

Our cars are no different than hundreds of these seemingly simple circuits that all do something. In our case with the Toyota Prius we have one circuit on there that monitors a fault in the electric water pump and will let us know if there is something wrong. This happened to me, while I was on a very long road trip. I had my family in the car and it was loaded, not to mention it was also 105 degrees outside in southern Utah.

Remember these codes are there to protect you. You do not have to know everything about them, just use your head and make sure you are doing what is right for you and your Prius. While this can be scary, it is even more scary to lose your mind over it. If you and your passengers are safe. Call for help, and know that you do not have to understand the code to be okay.

Everything will be okay.

Your Prius is a tank, if you do not believe me, ask the tens of thousands of Prius owners that will tell you all the cool stories they have and how many miles they have logged with their cars. It is pretty neat. They are not invincible though and sometimes like in my case, they rear their ugly head when the conditions are just right.

2019 Toyota Prius AWD Blue Rear

The first and best thing you can do when you encounter a problem in your Prius is not to panic. Find a safe place to stop and pull over. If you have an owners manual, take a look and see what options you have. From there if you need to call a town truck do it. If you are familiar with the vehicle like I am you first check to see that the area is okay and then proceed to see if anything is wrong.

Once you have done what you can do and still require further assistance call, if you can or try and get help. Stay cool, drink water, or wrap up if it is cold and know you will get help.

Read your codes, if you can

For me diagnosis was pretty easy, I am a certified technician and have years of training. You may not. If this is the case you may want to consider letting a pro handle the problem and just relax. But if you are anything like me, you carry a code reader or even the Dr. Prius app on your phone. While helpful sometimes there is little you can actually do in the event of an issue.

I needed mine this time and was glad that I had it. I was able to read the code, determine if it was drastic and clear it out. It did come back but when I let the car cool and cleared it again, I was able to get back on the road with no further issue. Sometimes we just get lucky.


If maintain your Prius well chances are you will have minimal if any problems. It is always helpful to have your vehicle inspected anytime you go on a road trip. While we can never now what will happen we sure can put the odds in our favor by being prepared.

Moral of this story is think ahead, stay cool if trouble happens and know that everything will be okay. Prius should not leave you completely stranded.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about new Prius Technology. Check out my other story 3 Top Tire Brands You Should Consider For Your Toyota Prius to find even more ways to make that fuel sipper go the extra mile.

See you in the next story where I am discussing why the Toyota Prius AWD-e is the best one yet.

Also Watch New tech means more MPG from your Toyota Prius and Click to Subscribe to Torque News Youtube Channel for Daily Toyota Prius and Automotive News.

Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He is an automotive technology instructor at Columbia Basin College. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and at Certified Consulting

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