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· Registered
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well it appears that I have had my first MAJOR problem with my 2003 Golden Pearl Prius that I bought on 02/28/2003. It currently has 11,500 miles on it. Bear with me as I explain the symptoms and what Toyota found.

My family and I headed out on a short weekend trip (400mi.), which was mostly interstate driving. Well 150 miles into the trip (Friday @ 5:00PM) I had the following symbols appear:
The Check Engine Soon
The Car with !
The Bake light on the dash
The car lost power, the engine was rough, the screen showed no energy being stored to the battery. I immediately pulled off at the next exit and called my local Toyota dealer. After consulting their manual, they said I needed t get to the closest Toyota dealer, which was another 40 miles away. So, we headed out to that dealer. Now all lights were on except the BRAKE indicator. The car was running normally. I called ahead and found that dealer had only seen two Prius in the last three years.

At this point I called the Toyota 800 number and talked with the Techs there. They indicated that a sensor might have gone bad and that it was just a false reading and it may be a matter of resetting it. I was given a dealer at my intended destination, and a case number so Toyota could follow up on this problem.

I called the dealer and they would be closed by the time I arrived on Friday, and Saturday he was booked in the morning, but would try to see me. I was given another dealer that would be able to see me first thing Saturday morning.

About 5 miles from my destination, the brake light came on and there was a loss of power again. I turned the engine off and restarted it; the Brake light went off and normal power returned. Note: the other lights remained on the entire time.

When I arrived at the alternate dealer the next morning, the tech when to look at the problem and the car had reset itself, NO WARNING LIGHTS! This dealer said there was nothing he could do and besides he had no Prius Tech on hand until Monday. So, I left thinking that I had a bad sensor. Then an hour later all Warning light re-appeared. I headed to the other dealer. After a 2 Hour wait they came in and said it was getting 6 different codes and it had to do with the Inverter. There was no hassle, I was given a loaner car and they would let me know when they had some information. I made them aware that I was returning home on Sunday (400mi.) and could not return until the next weekend. This would not be a problem.

Monday, I was told that the Inverter was bad and a new one had been ordered and would be installed either Tuesday or Wednesday. The part came in late Tuesday and was installed on Wednesday. The Tech kept me well informed on the process. They will be taking the Prius through its paces to be sure that there is no other problem. I am trying to find out what exactly went wrong with the Inverter so I can pass it along.

My overall experience has been good. The car never left my family stranded. I believe that opening a case number helped my situation, or it could be the professionalism of the dealer. In any case, I have been pleased with the process to this point. The dealer that I have been working with is De Luca Toyota of Ocala. Hats off to this dealership!

· Premium Member
2,439 Posts
Toyota Roadside Assistance?

I'm surprised that you were told to continue driving your car for such a distance with your problems...

Every Prius in the US comes with 3 years/36,000miles of complementary Toyota Roadside Assistance (towing to nearest dealer, lockouts, jumpstarts, out of fuel, flat tire, etc.).

Glad that things are working out for you! please keep us informed as to the progress of your car.

· Registered
6 Posts
Inverter Problem

I had a similar problem, but it was the Power Steering system.

A few months ago, I heard a 'chime' and the 'PS' warning was displayed on the screen. My Prius had a little over 3,000 miles on it, at the time. The first time it came on, it said 'Problem', then about 5 seconds later it chimed again and displayed 'problem solved' and the display screen returned to normal.

For the next two days the PS warning came on several times more, each time for a longer period of time. I tried turning the engine off to 'reset' it, as outlined in the owners manual. I could feel the steering 'tighten up' and it would 'twitch' even when stopped and the engine was off.

I brought it in to the dealer. They said that the light wouldn't come on again, but, the power steering began some serious vibrating. They have been in contact with Toyota. A complete, new steering rack was installed.

The Neill-Sandler Toyota Dealer in Middle TN has been great. They provided me with a 2003 Corolla to drive during this whole ordeal.

Let me know if anyone is having the same symptoms. You may need some serious repairs before you go past warranty!

· Registered
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Inverter Update

This is the follow up on the inverter. The only information that the Prius Tech could provide is that it had an internal short. This would account for the way the car would run fine for a while and then loose power. It has been on the road for 450 miles, with the dealer testing it for a 150 miles, and everything is working fine. Hopefully this was an isolated problem.


The dealership gets paid for all of the warranty service they provide. They would be more than happy to accommodate all your paid needs. The test may come when you need them to bat for you with toyota motors. They the reality that the charm is nothing more than the charm that a new or used car salesman pitches while reeling you in.

The uneven tire wear, high failure of the rack and pinion, and off centered steering wheel situations are ones that the dealerships may not have been forthcoming about even when they became aware of it. As a result, many folks likely spent time and money replacing tires and getting alignments for an apparent defect or workmanship problem.

When it comes to stepping up to the plate, the extent of toyota's commitment to you is only as far as they must. Nothing more. If a problem can be covered up, to save face and money it will be.

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