The Toyota Prius is one of the most reliable cars on the market today. Not only does the Prius deliver great mileage, it has a low cost of ownership. However, just like any other car, the Prius is a machine that requires regular maintenance to ensure longevity.
When problems do occur, the extensive experience of the Atlanta Hybrids specialists ensures that the repairs will be made correctly and for much less than the high mark up of dealerships.
Auxiliary Battery – This is the one of the most common failures on Prius. The Auxiliary Battery is located in the trunk and usually has a life of about 4 years. Common failure symptoms are numerous codes stored in system, failure to start on first try, loss of information screen. This is a AGM Battery, (absorbed glass mat) and will not leak acid if broken in an accident.
HV Battery – This is the heart of the Hybrid system. The design has changed over the years. Gen 1 prius 2001-2003 HV battery has had very many issues and the battery would usually go out around the 100K to 130K mark. These batteries had very many corrosion issues and the battery packs could not dissipate the heat.
Gen 2 prius 2004- 2009 had a newer designed battery that appeared to be stronger and have a longer life, although we have seen some bad with only 50K on them. This battery is expensive to replace around 3K. There are many options for replacement and more on the horizon. Usual codes are POA80 and will require battery replacement. Gen 1 has 38 cells while a Gen 2 has 28 cells. The Gen 2 cells have a heat sink installed on them to dissipate heat better. Usually the battery only has one or two cells that go bad inside, and in some cases can be replaced. This is only recommended for Gen 2 only, Gen 1 batteries can have the cells from a Gen 2 battery it just requires 38 of them so you would need at least 2 Gen 2 batteries to perform this. We provide many options for battery replacement.
HV Battery Fan – All prius have a fan to cool the HV battery, these fans over time can become full of dust not allowing for optimal cooling. We recommend cleaning these fans every 30K thousand miles to reduce the risk of damage to the HV Battery. We charge $60.00 to perform this service.
Common Prius Transmission Repairs
Transmission Gen 1 – Gen 1 transmissions, called CVT (constant velocity transmission) had issues just like there batteries. They will usually set codes P3009, P3120 and P3125. Not only will the customer notice the check engine light on the dash and other error messages on the information screen, they may also experience a shudder on acceleration from a stop. What we find is the stator in motor generator 2 becomes burnt causing codes to be set and shudder to be felt. Transmission service at every 30K is very critical to extending the life of the transmission. We can repair this transmission at a fraction of the cost. The dealer wants to replace the entire transmission which exceeds the value of the car.
Transmission Gen 2 – Gen 2 transmissions were much stronger than Gen 1. These transmissions had some issues but usually at higher miles than Gen 1. We usually see codes POAA6, POA92, And POA7A set when there is a problem in the transmission. As with Gen 1 transmission service is the key to prolonging the life of the transmission. Unlike Gen 1 there are no repairs to date to fix the problems but we can source a good used unit in most cases and save the customer over the dealership prices.
Prius Water Pump Repair
Water Pump – We are seeing these water pumps start to leak as early as 40K miles. These water pumps are covered under the power train warranty until 6years or 60K. Toyota will not address under warranty unless certain conditions are met under there TSB (technical service bulletin).
Inverter Water Pump – This is an electric water pump that cools the inverter for the Hybrid side of the vehicle. These pumps are hidden behind the headlight on the frame on the drivers side. This will set a code and the driver will see the Red Triangle with an exclamation point in the middle. We call this the Death Star Triangle because when it sets it can mean very bad things. This will usually set code POA93. Toyota issued a recall on this until November 2013. If owners have had this replaced prior to the recall Toyota will reimburse for the repair.
Regular Service / Check Engine Light
Head lights – some Prius 2006 – 2012 came with HID bulbs. These are very expensive to replace, the bulb used to cost $300.00 but Toyota dropped the price to $150.00 since they were having so many problems. The dealer charges $279.78 installed per bulb we charge $190 installed per bulb. Each bulb has a its own ECU but they are hardly ever the problem.
Code P1121 – Check Engine The second generation Prius, model years 2004-2009, uses a 3-way valve to control coolant flow between the engine, the hot coolant storage tank (thermos), and the heater core. Thus it’s involved in heating the passenger cabin (when requested), as well as reducing cold start emissions (with the coolant storage system). Anything that has to do with emissions illuminates the “check engine” light; if something goes wrong with this valve, the “check engine” light comes on. This valve is prone to sticking and will set the code. The repair for this problem is replacing the valve.
Combination Meters – Some Prius models may exhibit a blank screen on dash for the speedometer and fuel gauge assy. This will usually result in the car not wanting to shut off. If you hold the power switch down for more than 3 sec it will usually shut down and allow you to remove the key. We are usually seeing this be a problem on cars that are on all the time (cabs, couriers, etc….) .This repair runs around the $800.00 parts, labor and tax.
Axle Seal –Another common problem is the axle seal leaking on Gen 2 prius 2004-2009. When this happens we have to remove the axle, which causes loss of transmission fluid. At this point we take care of the trans service while replacing the axle seal. It’s usually the driver side that has the problem.