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Just spoke to the dealer/repair guy again - So I just want to put an end to this "user error" theory. I've had my Prius for 5 years and it has never had a problem until now. I know how to start my car so it's not a user error. Also the guys at the Toyota dealership where I purchased the car were able to replicate/duplicate the problem and I assure you, they know how to start a Prius - so this is not a user error - also they told me that Toyota has told them that this problem is happening and attributing it to the "combo meter" but now that mine has been replaced, I think we can safely say it's not the combo meter.

I spoke to my repair guy and told him that I saw this thread as well and he's going to check to see if there's something in the brake, that is maybe not telling the car that my foot is on the brake and that it's okay to go into drive mode OR possibly something in the shifter isn't working properly and needs attention. We will continue to problem solve, but it ain't the combo meter.
 

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All the dashboard lights come on and I can only shift into neutral. I took my car to the dealer, they were able to replicate the problem, and they replaced something, a "regulator" but the problem is still happening and still not fixed. I'm wondering if they bothered to Google it to even see what the problem is, because I'm clearly not the only one having this issue. They don't seem to know why the problem is happening either. It took them 2 weeks to get the part in (Regulator) and I was already without a car for those 2 weeks and it's frustrating that the problem is still not fixed. Would love to know if you solve this problem or find the source of it or a resolution so I can tell the Prius experts at Toyota how to fix it. ;)
If you could only "shift into neutral" how did you get the car to the dealer? Did you have it towed? Or, is your problem intermittent? There were some shifter problems with the Gen II Prius, but it usually appeared as the shifter sticking in one location.
 

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Cjarabia, did you ever find the root cause of your problem? Was it the brake not sending the proper signal? Other forums are suggesting a faulty 12v battery but curious what you found. I have the exact same issue.
 

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I had this problem, and no amount of cajoling would get it started.
The Toyota dealership diagnosed it as 'clogged up throttle body'.
They cleaned it out, and the car worked smoothly.
 

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I had this problem.
The Toyota dealership diagnosed it as "clogged up throttle body".
They cleaned it out, and the car works smoothly.
 

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Oil Overfill

I had this problem.
The Toyota dealership diagnosed it as "clogged up throttle body".
They cleaned it out, and the car works smoothly.

I'm dealing with a similar situation, my '06 with 185k miles is at the dealership right now. I'm pretty confident that it is oil in the throttle body caused by a Walmart oil change overfill.
 

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Hope the fix is something easy and inexpensive.

We had a couple of instances where the engine oil was overfilled ... by the Toyota dealer's service department.

Now, after periodic maintenance, I check the ICE oil level in the dealer's parking lot BEFORE I drive it off the lot. To this day, I still have to have them drain a half-quart of engine oil about every third time they do an oil change.
 

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I'm dealing with a similar situation, my '06 with 185k miles is at the dealership right now. I'm pretty confident that it is oil in the throttle body caused by a Walmart oil change overfill.
I have exactly the same problem so Do you mean the prius is acting like this because the gasoline motor is not starting and can be the clogged up throttle body or something else ?
 

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The hybrid computer controls switching between the ICE and electric motor. When the computer issues a start command to the ICE, the engine has a little less than a second to start running; otherwise, a "failed to start" error is sent. If the computer senses that the ICE did not start, it spits out fail codes and will not attempt to start the ICE again until the problem is fixed, and the fail codes are cleared.

If the engine oil pan is overfilled (full = 3.7 quarts) it will sometimes suck oil into the intake manifold, causing the ICE to stumble when started, which results in a "failed to start" error. While this can occur in any temperature, the probability of this happening increases in extreme cold (sub-freezing) weather.

Sometimes, you can just clear the error codes, and the ICE will start successfully the next time you power up. However, if enough oil has entered the intake manifold, it may have to be disassembled and thoroughly cleaned before the ICE will start reliably within the time allowed.

Besides excess oil in the intake, the butterfly valve can also get contaminated with carbon build-up, which will also require the intake manifold to be removed and thoroughly cleaned.

Repair shops, quick-change oil centers and even Toyota dealer service departments often use automatic filling equipment to pump in new engine oil while doing an oil change, and it's easy to just set the indicator to "4", instead of "3.5", which will result in the crankcase being overfilled. Then, it's just a matter of luck whether you will have problems down the road. (To avoid this, take in your own oil for them to add; specifically, 3.5 quarts only! Or, do the oil changes yourself.)

If you have error codes indicating "failed to start", the default troubleshooting method is to check the engine oil level to make sure the crankcase is not overfilled. If it is overfilled, drain a little oil out until the level is at or below the full mark on the dipstick. Disconnect the battery for about 20-30 seconds; then reconnect, to clear fail codes. Then, attempt to restart your car. If you're lucky, this will fix the problem. If this doesn't work after a couple of fail-code resets, you will probably have to remove and thoroughly clean the innards of the intake manifold; or, limp/tow your Prius to the dealer's service department for repairs.

Good luck!
 

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Well a fast way to get out of it seems, to be to quit the car and use the fob to secure and open up the gates. When you get returning in everything is sensitive again.
 

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Mine (7 months old) did it again yesterday. In fact, it's completely reproducable and it does it every time.

When I get in, put my foot on the brake, push the power button, everything comes on as advertised. Then if I take my foot off the brake, play with the navigation or my iPod for a couple of minutes and then try to shift the car into reverse or drive, it won't go.

even though it said ready when I pushed start, since I didn't go within some alloted amount of time, it goes back to sleep. The nav system is still on, the radio still works, whatever, it just isn't "ready" any more. The way around it is to push the power button to turn it off, put my foot on the bakes, and pust the power button again. Then it says ready again, then I go.

Like I say, whenever I don't go within about 4 minutes, it does this. I assumed it was a "feature".
Don't think it is a feature I am having the same problem with my 06 Prius . I have a notification on the display that says ( There is a problem with the transmission P locking mechanism) The Triangle is on and the cars engine won't start , and I can't put it in park , car wont move
 

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I am having a problem with my 06 Prius . I have a notification on the display that says ( There is a problem with the transmission P locking mechanism) The Triangle is on and the cars engine won't start , and I can't put it in park , car wont move
 

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Sorry, in my first post I called it a "regulator" but I meant to say "combo meter" just to be clear.
Please let me know what you find out . I have changed the shift-er on the dash and that did not work , Held down the start button for 5 sec and that did not reset it either. I am going to try cleaning the intake manifolded to see if that will help . I did have a blown head gasket so maybe oil get in the intake some how . Please if anyone figures this out I would ready like to know
 

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Today I had the following happen to my Prius.

As I attempted to drive down my driveway, the car which had been left running while I was loading stuff into the back, would not go into gear but stayed into neutral. All of the various dash lights were on including the triangular warning light, brake light, and all of the other warning lights.

The display came on and said to press the Park button. I did. Again I attempted to put the car into drive. It would not go. Tried reverse gear, but it would not go there either. I pressed the Power button and the brake pedal simultaneously, but the car would not shut off. I pressed the brake, which was not engaged, although the brake light was on. The brake engaged. I then released the brake. The car still would not shift out of neutral into drive or reverse.

I frankly don’t know what I did to eventually make it start since I was by now frustrated but, eventually I was able to put the car in gear and it has run perfectly since then.

This happened to me once before but I have no idea why it happened or what I did to make the car go into gear. I would take it to the dealer but I know it is impossible for them to diagnose a problem that is not happening when you bring it to them.

Has anyone had this experience, and if so, what did you do?

Arizona Charlie
I experience same thing every week so took to dealer there is no error codes
I have had my car 2012 for 6 years never had this problem until 6 months ago. If I'm able to turn off and wait 5 minutes it will shift but it is a pain as I cannot be in a hurry as it takes a couple of minutes to turn off then wait 5 minutes and start again sometimes I do this a couple of times before I get a response. I paid for a diagnostics and all they say is pay again and we will see what shows up.Any one had success with stoping this.
 

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I experience same thing every week so took to dealer there is no error codes
I have had my car 2012 for 6 years never had this problem until 6 months ago. If I'm able to turn off and wait 5 minutes it will shift but it is a pain as I cannot be in a hurry as it takes a couple of minutes to turn off then wait 5 minutes and start again sometimes I do this a couple of times before I get a response. I paid for a diagnostics and all they say is pay again and we will see what shows up.Any one had success with stoping this.
Hi Viona,

This started happening to my 2011 Prius about 6 months ago as well.

With the pedal firmly pressed, I press the Power button, all of the dash lights come on as if it's started, but I can't shift into N, Drive, or Reverse. If I push the Power button again it will eventually turn off (not right away most of the time), then I will repeat the process, and eventually (usually within 5 minutes) it will start as usual. But I can't seem to figure out the pattern to it.

I don't see how it can be the 12v battery since the entire dash lights up. And in fact if I left the radio on and the heater on when I turned it off (which I don't often do), both will be on when I start the car and the issue occurs. This doesn't happen every time I start the car. It seems to be weather related: if it's cold and or wet then it might happen.

Someone put out the idea that it's the (a) anti-theft system or a (b) bad brake sensor. (a) A few times when it's happened I got out of the car entirely and closed the door (or just opened the door and slammed it closed), then restarted the car and the issue was gone. But that hasn't worked every time. (b) I did have some really bad rear-brake noise recently due to extreme cold temperatures that disappeared entirely when the weather went into the upper 30's a few weeks ago; could that be related?

I don't think it could be an over-filled oil reservoir tripping an ICE sensor because the car eventually starts.

I wish Toyota would have a manual start option for these types of situations. The manual key I used for my Corolla never gave me issues.

If you figure this out, could you please let me know?

Thanks and good luck,

Bee
 

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Early in this thread people were talking about a "sleep" mode.

In 2004 I bought my prius. I can tell you there is no such thing as "sleep mode".

I have used my prius to power pure synewave inverters to run things like pa amplifiers at various outdoor events for hours and hours never moving the vehicle once nd when we were done, would disconnect my inverter and just drive way, no retsart or shutdowns or anything else. We even powered our sumppump for 2 days straight with the prius running hooked to a inverter during a power outage.

About 4 years ago my hybrid battery threw a code, I got the triangle of death and all that goes with it, limp mode etc etc..

So I decided to see just what mkes the hybrid battery tick, disasembled it completely. Then broke out my multi meter finding out all it was was about 20+ 7.5 volt batteries in series...

I found ONE at 6.1 volt and with a small load (an 1156 bulb) it would drop immediately to zero.. all the other cells stayed above 7.2 volts..

So off to the junkyard.. Where I purchased a known bad hybrid battery pack for 100$.. I tested each battery cell inside and found one that stayed above 7.2volts with the small load on it.. swapped with my battery pack, and bang, ran the car for two years (about 30K miles) till another battery cell went bad.. swapped it and ran another year..

Now this year, swapping the battery cell isn't working. I'm guessing something else went wrong even though I did find one cell bad and replaced it. the triangle doesn't come on anymore, but where the shifter lights (BRNDP) should be there are just blinking squares..

We tried jump starting, charging the 12v battery and now are just going to replace it and see if it fixes the problem. The battery is only 5 years old, BUT, it sat for 2 months since I just purchased a 2013 plugin prius.. which I love even more then my good ole 2004..

Since the 2013 uses the same battery as the 2004 (12volt side) I plan to buy a new one for the 2013 (it is original) and put the known working one into the 2004 and see what happens..

Wish me luck..
 
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