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How many had a problematic check engine light that required more than a software upgrade?

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Discussion Starter #1
I just ordered a prius will be getting it in 6-8 months with option package BI wanted AG but they said it is an unlikely package option, blue or silver. Anyways I have been visiting johns site and reading about how much I love the prius and want one (I had a insight for about 8 months and didnt appreciate it because I wanted something alot more electric, plus the handeling in ice and snow and rain scared me a little. I got a good deal on it but still wasnt satisfied) So I now ordered the prius and at 24,000 roughly I can afford this car without making many sacrifices, the things that is a little unnerving is a few posts about earlier cars made in 2003 having more shop time than driving time, intermittent inverter and the battery relay registering 0volts and I think a few others and the guy whos car slowed down to 20 on the highway and almost got in a accident. I know there are some flaws but I dont feel comfortable, I am generally not a risk taker and a quarter of 100k isnt nothing to relegate foolishly, I believe in the product just like everyone else and whats understandable is the emission 300mile wear in and such but someone anyone ease my mind before I end up pulling out my deposit for a another non hybrid which I dont want to do, I LOVE THIS CAR !!!!!!!!!!!
1 last Q: Whats the temperature outside got to be for the engine to start up and run even if the battery is full? I live in NJ and it gets cold here below 40 for about 4-7 months. Thanks
-Anthony
"Driving is believing...... :) "
 

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Hmm,
Life's full of risk isn't it. If you get unnerved buying a Prius, you could end up with a traditional car that fails all the time also. There have been a tiny number of people reporting serious problems with the Prius. Probably a similar tiny fraction as any other car (even smaller since it's a Toyota and they generally have better quality). For every report of a big problem with a Prius, there are thousands of owners who haven't had any problems. All cars experience this, with the Prius, you have all these bulletin boards where people post their problems so you can learn from their experience and take the proper action quickly if any of the problems happens to you.

Also, 40 degrees is pretty balmy for any car. It's not even below freezing. NJ might get to -10F for a day or two, but mostly it's in the 20s in the winter. None of this presents even the slightest hint of a challenge to the 500 volt starter motor 8) Even in colder states like Minnesota and Alaska the Prius starts like a champ. Unlike the Insight you're used to, which sometimes reverts to a 12 volt starter motor when it's particularly cold, the Prius always uses its 500 volt motor. It never lets the high voltage battery get so low that it can't start the car (unless you set out to purposely discharge it).

I mean come on, one poor driver ran into a Moose. Does that mean you should avoid the Prius because they're clearly Moose prone? Would any other car fare better?

To improve your odds, take your $25K and by two $10K Hyundais. Then if one proves to be a lemon, you've got a spare :p
 

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Discussion Starter #3
reply back to all

Ahh maybe i suffer from paranoia unrelated to drug use lol, meaning i dont use illegal drugs. anyways the answer to my last question was this ( i was too vague) so here it goes when I first start the new prius on a cold december morning say its a nicer day temp 38, WILL the gas engine turn on (not that its too cold to start the car) OR will it operate in electric only mode (stealth) until gas is needed to assist? Or will it warm up the cold gas engine then shut off? And if it does will it charge the battery as well? The insight used to run for 15-20 minutes which was my whole commute just about on a colder day it turn off when I stopped one light before going to work which sucked although I still returned 4ompg. So sorry for the confusing and as for 2 hyundai's instead I think the prius is a much wiser choice and I do feel better about buying since my car will have most 2004 bugs if not all bugs worked out! Can anyone tell me anything else about this car, I am reading Johns site its cool so just asking. Thanks -Anthony
 

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We live in the south where it's never cold. Our experienc has been that the ICE always comes on during the first five minutes of driving until it gets up to optimum running temp.(I've heard thats to avoid possible emmisions, as a cold engine pollutes more) Remember the Prius is 98% cleaner than the average new car. For the first 5min of each trip we get only abt 25-30mpg. After the engine warms up it will come on whenever needed, either to provide propulsion or recharge the battery. I have seen ocasions where I've been driving "stealth" at 45+ mph. It is verry unlikely that the battery will ever be "too" low unless you try to trick the system into doing it. Today at the car wash they left the car switched on but didn't put the car into park, so the battery got depleted down to only one pink bar (the lowest I've ever seen). As soon as I got in and began to drive, it soon recovered. No problems. I can't think of any reason to advise you not to buy one of these, except the long wait.
 

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I have actually had zero problems with my Prius. That's right, zero. No guarantees that you'll have zero problems as well, but it's nice to know anyway.

As for your other question:

Even on scalding hot days here in Florida, the ICE always fires up within 30 seconds or so...even if I have only shut the car off for a minute while getting my mail.

I don't know it for a fact, but I suspect that it always cycles on at least for a little while when starting the car just so it can pull that coolant out of the little thermos bottle, and back into the engine.

Whenever I know I'm going to park the car for more than an hour or even just 30 minutes, I'll just go ahead and drive that last couple miles on electricity, road conditions and traffic permitting. Whenever I restart the car, it will run the ICE for the first 3 to 5 minutes, just to warm up (yes, even here in Florida).

By the very nature of the HSD, the battery will recharge at the same time the engine is warming up. The battery is always charged up (5 or 6 bars) by the time the engine is warm enough to allow stealth again.

Yes, I would order this car all over again. Yes, I would pay that big down payment all over again. Yes, I would wait on the waiting list and put up with the dealer's dodging of my phone calls ALL OVER AGAIN.

It is worth it THAT much.
 

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Anthony, I can understand your concern. These cars aren't exactly cheap, and there is so much tech involved that it's easy to get caught up thinking that if it can go wrong it will go wrong. Just so you know, I've been wanting one of these (hybrids) for two years, and I've been on the waiting list for an '04 Prius for 5 months, and I have never ridden in any hybrid model, period.

I am excited by the advanced technology and engineering that has gone into these cars. And as RSnyder pointed out, thanks to forums like this one, we're able to learn about real world experiences with these vehicles and share our collective knowledge. I have been scouring these boards and websites for nuggets of information in anticipation of getting my own Prius and I have picked up so much more insight (no pun intended) than I had before adding my name to the list. My eagerness to own one has only grown.

The problems some folks have had pale in comparison to stories I've been told by a Ferrari technician I know. How much do those cars go for? So many people buy them as toys and status symbols, and they live in the city, or don't know how to drive them and they spend 75% of the time in the shop. These hybrids however are the start of a new trend, a new technology. There are going to be some hiccups and growing pains, but the advancements are worth supporting and investing in.

I've poked fun at some of my Macintosh zealot friends (I use and own both Macs and PCs) about how many problems people are having with their new PowerMac G5s. There are Apple forums with threads so deep that admins have to lock them off. The truth is there are just as many problems with every other flavor of computer out there, but we're not going to know until we go looking for them.

I am biased, I come from a Toyota family. My mom has a '90 Celica that she bought brand new and it has close to 300,000 miles on it. The thing runs like a champ. I just sold my '95 Tacoma to get ready for the Prius. I put 125,000 miles on it. I did have a wiring problem early on, but after that it was all just regular maintenance. I have some brand loyalty going for sure, but I'll chime in on these boards if I have any issues crop up with the Prius. Hopefully I'll just share bragging rights on some sweet MPG instead. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
i didnt know

When I test drove the prius the engine did fire up almost immediately because the battery seem to be below normal, I dont think for very long I drove in stealth mode, I was highly dissapointed. I would love the fact if could go a few block down or maybe a mile or 2 without the ice kicking on for very long, maybe I understand the coolant must cycle into the engine and it must get into optimal operating tempature to reduce emissions, can somebody give me a break down of a 5 minute drive, how long the car runs in ice mode and how the battery looks and how much heavy acceleration and whatever you can tell me... I dont want to be dissapointed with high expectations when I finally do take delivery, also does any one have the AG package in the midatlantic region. My dealer told me it would be impossible and to switch to BI.... I saw an AG package in VA where there are 4 new prius's available if I had the down payment I would just go there. Also how much are you putting down and how much are you paying a month?? at what finance rate? thanks again all!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
looking

Can anyone tell about a 5 minute run in the 2004 prius and a 10 minute run on any type of land. Please be detailed from walking up to the car to getting out of the car. I am sorry if that sounds ridiculous but hey I write alot and like details!!!!
 

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Re: looking

anthonynd4prius said:
Can anyone tell about a 5 minute run in the 2004 prius and a 10 minute run on any type of land. Please be detailed from walking up to the car to getting out of the car. I am sorry if that sounds ridiculous but hey I write alot and like details!!!!
I am not exactly sure what you are looking for as far as info goes. I have had my 2004 Prius since May 12. I pretty much get a consistent 50+ MPG. But-- my driving habits are now pretty much controlled by the consumption and energy screens.... I try to coast alot and do anything (take the 'ole foot off the gas pedal-- alot...) to boost my mileage.

And don't let them tell you that you get better mileage in the city. The combo of city and highway driving gives you the boost in MPG. Because I want that high MPG, I am pretty controlled by the screen-- and hence, driving is not always as relaxed as it is in my 17 1/2 year old Toyota mini-van- where I just drive normally (though I now coast in THAT CAR too...) and get 25 miles per gallon!

The car has been a pretty happy camper. The first 2 weeks it did a few odd things. But then, maybe I did a few odd things and it was just responding. But since then-- it has been a quiet baby.

I still have not conquered the darn map thing. I have read the directions many times. I think we need to take a course to use it....

Need more? Oh. Yes, I walk up to the car, place my fingers DOWN in front of the handle, and it beeps twice and opens. When I first got it, it did not wat to open. But since the first day, it is happy.

I ALWAYS lock the car with the key. Why? So that I do not lock my keys in the car. I make it a point of forgetting that black button on the outside of the car. Key lock only for safety.

Nice car. BUT I hope none of us want to take a trip that lasts too long-- because this little car controls your life. You cannot leave it for more than 14 days-- and I would not want to push the envelope and do the 14 days test. They tell you to have someone you trust take the car out and drive it for 30 mintues if you will not be in town. Yes, sure. Most folks will not know how to even start the car. And I do not think that I want anyone to take the car out for a joy ride. You had better know that "friend" REAL well before you let someone have acress to your darling Prius while you are out of town...... This was longer that you anticipated...

Hope it was helpful.
 

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Re: looking

becky said:
I ALWAYS lock the car with the key. Why? So that I do not lock my keys in the car.
Interesting... I make it a point to always use the black button and NEVER take the key out of my pocket for the same reason. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
hey all

Yes helpful, and thank you. I am a bit more concerned about when the ice engine turns on and off, starting from the first second to powering up to the time you power it off. A short ride is all I want info on. The honda insight ran the ice about 90% only at dead stops it kicked off. That was horrible if you ask me. So just wondering how often I can expect stealth and the temperature outside does it affect how long the ice comes on and when?!!?!?!?!?!? Thanks -Anthony
 

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Ouch... retina burn on the text color... :shock: Need sunglasses to keep up with this topic... 8)

Not sure how "short" a ride you're referring to. In my own experience, there are a couple of 25-30 mph zones on my route to/from work in which the car usually drops into "stealth" for the entire length (minus starting up briefly after full stops; I don't "crawl" back up to speed). Longest stretch is probably 5 minutes with 1-2 stops.

However, I should also note (as posted elsewhere here) that I do seem to get better mpg by trying to keep the battery full vs. trying to "force" it into "stealth" and draining it. :)
 

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Re: looking

becky said:
You cannot leave it for more than 14 days
Sure you can.

Lots of owners have.

And the bigger 12-volt in the 2004 makes it even easier than with the classic.

If you are worried about the security system draining the battery (like with other vehicles), just unplug it.

Heck, you can even secure the car the old-fashion way, with a Club.

It's not a big deal.
 

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As for stealth & temperature, the 2004 is great. My classic took a few minutes to warm up. That was sad reality I slowly learned to accept. Then when I got the 2004, whoa!

Having the engine shut off at my first commute stop (2 short blocks from my house) is fantastic. So when it starts right back up the moment I begin to drive again is not bothersome. Just like others said, having the battery-pack topped off during that time is nice. Then when stealth is finally possible (this depends a lot depending on outside temperature), you've got more electricity stored up for that.

During the summer, just the first 5-minute segment is rather low. In the winter, it's the first two segments. Then, even in below zero temperatures here in Minnesota, stealth is still possible!
 

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Re: looking

TechnoMage said:
becky said:
I ALWAYS lock the car with the key. Why? So that I do not lock my keys in the car.
Interesting... I make it a point to always use the black button and NEVER take the key out of my pocket for the same reason. :)
Didn't know you could lock the FOB/keys in the car with SE/SS

roll down the window ( just for safety ) and try locking em in
 

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Discussion Starter #17
hey john

when you mean segments what are you refferring to? Also it sounds like the prius is acting like the insight ( i know the insight I used to own one) The insight would shut off after about 5 minutes of running in above 35 degree weather and 10-15 minutes with 10 degree weather. ONLY at stop signs and lights. There is no stealth so honda is stupid. Anyway I guess I can expect barely any stealth under 32 degree weather? I am so dumb sorry.... I have been on johns website and am looking at the log but I cant seem to find the intricate details of riding the car....
 

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> when you mean segments what are you refferring to?

The green bars on the "Consumption" screen.

> I can expect barely any stealth under 32 degree weather?

No, I think you are attempting to combine pre & post warm-up behavior.

Stealth works all the way down to about -13F, even with the heater on low. Colder than that, I'm not sure. When it was -18F, I wasn't interested in experimenting... just taking photos.

Anywho, the engine will shut off as soon as warm-up is complete (and the load on the heater isn't too demanding in the winter), stopping is not necessary.

In the summer, it's an electric dream. Stealth opportunities are abundant.
 

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SE/SS lockout...

I've TRIED to lock myself out, but with SS/SE it won't let u! Roll a window down and try it: leave a remote inside the car, get out, close the door and press the black button on the door handle. The locks will lock, then unlock, and it beeps at u, as if it's smarter than u (which I believe to be true). great feature. Drive fun, drive clean, drive Prius!
 

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Re: SE/SS lockout...

finman said:
I've TRIED to lock myself out, but with SS/SE it won't let u! Roll a window down and try it: leave a remote inside the car, get out, close the door and press the black button on the door handle. The locks will lock, then unlock, and it beeps at u, as if it's smarter than u (which I believe to be true). great feature. Drive fun, drive clean, drive Prius!
If you put the fob in the backseat or the cargo area, outside of the interior driver's SE&SS antenna, you can lock the doors with the SE&SS fob inside and SE&SS on.

Otherwise, you cannot lock the car (without using the metal key method) when the key/fob is in the ignition switch and the driver's door gets opened...
 
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