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Toyota Prius Enthusiasts

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Traffic Jams [28 Oct 2010|09:48pm]

How does your Prius hold up in a long time traffic jam? With all the construction and power outtages recently where I live, it took me about 45 minutes to get through 5 miles the other day. My car's battery was quite low, the lowest I have ever seen by the time I got to drive again, it was purple! What happens if you are stuck stuck for a long time? Will the car just die?
3 comments|post comment

What to do if your Prius is possessed [11 Mar 2010|12:32pm]

Hi guys--I finally found some semi-useful information about how to get control of an out-of-control Prius.



But as I understand it, there is no guarantee that any of this will work if the software is malfunctioning. So I'm a little nervous about the fact that either Toyota doesn't know what's going on or isn't telling us.

Also, in stories I've read about this latest runaway Prius in San Diego, the driver apparently refused to put the car in neutral. So that doesn't help answer my question of whether there is an electronic malfunction that prevents drivers from putting the car in neutral when this happens.

11 comments|post comment

Prius gas pedal issues [09 Mar 2010|12:51pm]

[ mood | disappointed ]

2008 Prius accelerator pedal stuck on the highway

Has this happened in your Prius?

I've been ignoring the recall warnings because my floormats are securely fastened, but maybe it's time to take heed.

11 comments|post comment

Prius multi-functional display screen [22 Feb 2010|10:26am]

[ mood | aggravated ]

i have a 2008 Prius. once in awhile, my display screen will seemingly go off on its own. the volume has changed itself (one time). i kept having to turn it down because it would turn itself UP. other times, the radio has become completely unresponsive--i couldn't even turn it OFF using the Power button. the gas mileage bars suddenly blink out and reset themselves. the whole display will go blank, the radio will shut off, AND the mileage bars disappear. sometimes it comes back on, sometimes not. sometimes if i turn the radio back on, it's like i've just started the car.

speaking of, these issues have all returned to "normal" once i've restarted the car never to resurface for many months. until yesterday's 90-minute trip each way. i was fighting it the whole way there and back. previously, i've always chalked these things up to an "occasional glitch."

but this weekend, the reset display thing happened repeatedly, at least 10 times over the course of the two trips. it's not consistent, but it is EXTREMELY annoying not to mention distracting. i end up watching the stupid display instead of driving the car.

i've been reading up in PriusChat about this, and it seems as though it is not an uncommon problem. have any of you experienced this?

i want to have as much information as possible before taking it to the dealer. (like they aren't busy enough these days. jeez.) :(

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Recalls revisited [16 Feb 2010|09:33pm]

The only recall on my 2005 is for floor mats. And personally, I think the floormats are innocent. Other models have been issued a recall for the pedal, but mine is only for the floormats.

Also, I have the brake issue that the 2010s are being recalled for (momentary release of breaks when going over bump or pothole). I've had the problem since the first week I had the vehicle, but I thought it was just the way the ABS worked.  It got to the point where I would take my 20-year old truck or my 20-year old car to work on cold rainy days because I felt safer. Now I hear other people are having the same issue. I took the Prius to the dealership, and they basically told me that the fix they had was for 2010 and they didn't know if it would work on mine, then told me to call Toyota.  (I haven't yet.)

Has anyone else dealt with this?
1 comment|post comment

temperature warning? [23 Dec 2009|06:46am]

Today my 2009 Prius just informed me the outside temperature was 37 degrees, much like it would warn me that I was low on gas.. anyone know the reasoning behind this warning? I'm in Southern California so it doesn't get this cold very often!
8 comments|post comment

Toyota Recall: replacement of gas pedals. Includes 2004-09 Prius. [25 Nov 2009|09:10am]


Article also has info on what to do if your gas pedal gets stuck:
1. press on the brake with both feet and then shift the vehicle into neutral, which will disengage the transmission

and/or 2. For vehicles that have a start/stop button for the engine, drivers are advised to hold the button for three seconds to turn it off.
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Recall, Gas Mileage in Rain, 2010, and the Mississippi Plant. [29 Oct 2009|09:19pm]

Four topics.

1.  I was told there was a recall on the 2005-2010 models. Allegedly, the floor mat can cause the accelerator to stick?  I'm not sure how that happens. I live on a farm - I need my floor mats. I'm not ditching them without proof.

2. When it rains, my gas mileage decreases quite a bit. Any idea why? Anyone else experience this? I tested it on a specific stretch of road at 65 mpg on cruise control.

3. The 2010 model can come with a sunroof and seat warmers. These are high on my wish list - make that very high on the wish list. Has anyone driven one? What do you think?
4. Has anyone heard more info on re-opening the Mississippi plant to assemble the Prius?


13 comments|post comment

Replacing a bumper cover [12 Aug 2009|09:38am]

I don't know about you guys, but my Prius has been victim to some SERIOUS hate-crimes in the 19+ months that I've owned it. I honestly don't know how else to explain it! I've replaced a side view mirror, a windshield, two passenger side windows from a break-in (seriously, they broke two windows and got NOTHING), and my car tags that were stolen. This isn't happening to other cars in my neighborhood, so I assume these lovely folks think that I feel superior to the human race in general and that I need to be taken down a peg. I expected better in California where you practically receive a free Prius just for crossing the border. Anyways, ONWARD!

Yesterday evening I discovered that someone hit the driver's side corner of my car, horribly scratching the bumper and denting the fender. The bumper was already scratched badly on the passenger side after my boyfriend misjudged the garage parking space and scraped it against the wall. At this juncture, I am ready to replace the entire front bumper cover and ask a body shop to paint it for me. This seems to be far more cost effective than the hours of body work it would take to sand, prime, and repaint both areas. I've called around to some body shops and this seems to be the case.

Anyone have experience with this? Or advice to offer? General comments? I'd appreciate it.

Hoping your Prius isn't as banged up as mine,
9 comments|post comment

Owner's Manual? [01 Jul 2009|02:46pm]

The Druid did not come with the owner's manual, and there are certain things that I can't figure out. Toyota wants to charge me $25 bucks for the 2005 manual. (I talked to the dealership and called two phone numbers, and they just keep giving me each other's phone numbers.) I kind of assumed the manual would come with the car since the car was bought at a dealership, supposedly certified and all.

Is it worth the $25? Not to sound cheap, but I just put down a big down payment.

Also, does anyone own the Bentley manual for it? How do you like it?  I had the Bentley for my old car and enjoyed it. But  my old car was, well, old. If I bought a Bentley, would I even need the owner's manual?
3 comments|post comment

Is it true? [28 Jun 2009|08:49am]

Someone told me that you can go to the drive-in theatre and leave your ac running. Is it true?

Our drive in theatre has a double feature - would the ac/battery hold up for two movies?

(OT, it there a way to do a search in a particular community? I want to make sure  my questions haven't already been posted.)
4 comments|post comment

Tips and Tricks for a first time Prius owner? [27 Jun 2009|11:14pm]

Hello. Today, I brought home The Druid, a black 2005 Prius.

This is the first hybrid I have owned, and the first car I've had that was manufactured this century.

I often drive 55 miles at a time, mostly highway.

Know any tips or tricks for a new owner?

8 comments|post comment

Survey [22 Jun 2009|07:18pm]

Hey Prius owners/lovers! I would really appreciate if you guys could take this survey. Your input and feedback would be greatly appreciated! It's for our ADPR 5740 campaigns class and the more honest feedback we have, the better for our team. :)

Click Here to take survey

Thank you for your time! 

3 comments|post comment

Couple of newbie questions. . . [18 Jun 2009|10:33am]

I bought a 2005 Prius a couple of months ago. .so I am still a relatively new (and very happy) owner. However, there are a couple of things I've been wondering about so I figured here would be the place to ask them!

My battery usually jumps from one bar down (green) to one away from the 1/2 way mark. However, a couple of times I've freaked out because it jumped BELOW the 1/2 way mark and it scared me. It has only done this a couple of times. I didn't know if this was bad or normal or if there was some reason why my battery was especially low at some times but high at others.

Also, when it rains. .my car smells like B.O.! I'm not sure if this is only my car or a common thing that happens to Prius's. It only happens when it rains and if I run the defroster, it will go away.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! =)
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Relevant Legislation [24 May 2009|11:33am]
Here's the problem, as explained in an article in the San Francisco Gate.
...car manufacturers now severely limit the number of repair shops that are allowed to have the tools, diagnostic codes and updated repair information essential to being able to repair late-model cars (which are heavily dependent on computers for performance and repair).
In fact, the general rule is that car makers allow only the shops attached to their dealerships to have the necessary equipment and information to repair any cars they made that are still new enough to have five digits in their Kelly Blue Book price. ("Late-model” is a relative term. Some companies have been doing this ten years or more.)
By thus unfairly limiting the universe of repair shops able to diagnose and repair late-model cars to only those repair shops that are connected with their dealers, the manufacturers dramatically limit consumer choice and significantly increase the costs to those car owners (by some 34 percent, according to a study preformed for the Automotive After Market Industry Association by Lang Research).
Congress is responding with the Right-to-Repair Act of 2009, H.R.2057, which requires automakers to sell that equipment and information on the open market, so your neighborhood garage can buy it. This is going to become especially important as dealerships die and the associated garages lose their dealer affiliations. Prius owners in some areas could be left with no place to get maintenance done that doesn't require taking a day off work to drive there.

This sort of bill has apparently been put forward in previous years but always died in committee. The reason bills like this die in committee is that there isn't enough of a show of attention from the voting public. We Prius owners have a direct economic interest in this legislation. It's currently in the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has 59 members, so there's an off chance that your representative is one of them. Which means you can email him or her and say good things about this bill. If your rep is one of the 17 sponsors of the bill, you can send an email of thanks. And either way you can email your Senators and ask them to introduce similar legislation or to back it if someone else introduces it first.

To find out who your Representative is, go to http://www.house.gov/ and enter your zip code in the upper left blank.
To find out who your Senators are, go to http://senate.gov/ and open the “Find your Senators” menu in the upper right.
To see the text of the bill, its sponsors, current status, etc., go to http://www.thomas.gov/, click the “Bill number” button and search on HR2057.
To see whether your Representative is on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, go to http://energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=160&Itemid=61.

Quotations taken from http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/05/18/EDLD17LEO9.DTL&type=autos.

And thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for bringing this issue to my attention in an article suggesting that maybe we need legislation like this for more than just cars, at http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/05/right-repair-law-pro.
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Adding line-in jack for 2005 model? [20 May 2009|12:51pm]

I have a 2005 model Prius without a line-in jack (didn't think I'd need it at the time, but now I would like to get it if possible) and was wondering how difficult and how expensive it would be to get one installed.

I've tried using those FM transmitter things and found out I really don't like them.

Does anyone have any tips or advice on this?

8 comments|post comment

How to Save on Gas [18 May 2009|11:21am]

The Truth About Saving Gas

My search for better fuel economy through experiments, travels, and research have led to me to several conclusions on how to get better fuel efficiency from your vehicle. Is there a single change you can make to get more miles to the gallon? The answer is not simple.

Unfortunately, I don't have an answer for those that would ask, "How come cars seem to get worse MPG than they did several years ago?"  I can't tell you, without any doubt, why the 2009 Toyota Prius gets 48 MPG and the 2001 Honda Insight got 68 MPG. With the cost of gas nearly quadrupled eight years later we are suffered to be excited about a car that gets 20 MPG less. I don't know why. People will tell you that it's the added weight of safety improvements. People say that the parts on more efficient cars cost more, and this outweighs the fuel savings.  Then you've got conspiracy theorists claiming that it's a swindle set up by the oil companies and auto manufacturers. People say the 1950s Fish Carburetor, for example, used to get cars 100 MPG, but was dependent upon the inclusion of lead in gasoline. Now with unleaded gas, that can never be achieved. I don't know. I'm not a scientist. None of these reasons or excuses, no matter how absurd or credible tells us what we need to know: How do I get the most gas mileage now?

Let's first talk about the more proven methods and then I'll move into more unconventional theories and devices for more inquiring minds. No single method will raise your MPG astronomically. If you adopt a combination of these methods, however, you can see significant results. It also depends on how old, heavy, and maintained your car is. Also keep in mind that newer cars have a computer system that regulates your system to achieve the best gas mileage. For example, it's not enough that you have a 1981 car with an oxygen sensor installed. It also depends upon where that oxygen sensor is installed, what it's made out of, how clean it is, and what your car does with the information it provides. Obviously, the best way to save gas is to buy a hybrid, all-electric car, or hydrogen fuel cell car. For those of us who don’t see buying one as a viable option in this no-credit economy right now and who can’t ride a bicycle to work, there are other options. Rest assured!

Here are the top 10 ways to improve fuel efficiency:

1. Avoid accelerating and braking too fast.

It can lower your gas mileage by 33% on the highway and by 5% in the city. Anticipate traffic conditions and drive smoothly.  Try to maintain a constant speed i.e. cruise control and overdrive. When going up inclines keep it steady without rapid acceleration.

2. Avoid driving over 60 MPH.

Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph reduces your fuel economy by 7% ---in effect, another $0.20 per gallon of gas.

3. Warm up your car by gently driving it first, not idling. 

With modern, computer-controlled engines you only need to warm it up for 30 seconds before driving.  Otherwise you're wasting fuel and increasing emissions. Once you've reached normal operating temperature: If you have to idle for more than a minute (7 seconds in new cars) then you will waste more gas than if you simply turn the car off and turn it back on.   If you reside in freezing temperatures, use an engine block heater to improve fuel mileage by up to 10%.  Use an automatic timer to turn it on two hours before you leave.

4. Combine errands and plan your route. 

Several short trips from a cold start can use twice as much gas as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. Likewise, if you plan your route to cover the shortest, fastest, and flattest distance ahead of time instead of just getting in the car and driving, then you will save time, wear and tear, and gas.

5. Use carpooling and ride-sharing when possible.

6. Filling up.

Do it in the morning when it's cooler and the gas at the station is denser.  Since gas pumps measure volumes of gas and not densities, you'll end up with more fuel. Higher octane gas is usually a complete waste of money. Use what is recommended by your manufacturer. Fill your tank, close the lid tight, but don't top it off---it's an evaporation thing.

 7. Tires.

Check your tire pressure monthly, before long trips, and during periods of extreme weather fluctuation.  You can improve your gas mileage by 3%, make your tires last longer, safer, by keeping your tires inflated. Pay attention to the proper PSI. It is stamped on each tire. Fill your tires with nitrogen if you can do it free or cheaply. Nitrogen won't "leak out" as much as regular air and is safer, less combustible. Commercial aircraft and the space shuttle use it.

8. Weight.

Clean out your car, remove excess weight, and only take what you need.  An extra 100 pounds may reduce fuel economy by about 2%. Avoid towing trailers.

9. Wind Resistance.

Don't put items on top of your car.  The wind resistance can reduce your fuel economy by up to 5%. Avoid using the air conditioner because it strains the engine and causes greater fuel use (5-30%), but rolling down the windows will cause an air drag that is just as bad for fuel efficiency. Avoid using other electrical accessories as well.

10. Beyond Maintenance.

Air Filter. Check and replace air filters regularly.  Replacing clogged air filters can improve your gas mileage by as much as 10%. Actually, I recommend a quality air filter with maximum air flow that you can clean.  I personally use K&N.

Oil. “Energy Conserving”-labeled motor oil or synthetic motor oil. Using the wrong oil or can reduce your gas mileage by up to 2%. Get an oil change. Dirty oil equals poor gas mileage and is bad for your engine. I recommend a 0-weight synthetic oil like Amsoil because the friction is a bare minimum and stays clean longer. Many people don't use it though because it is more expensive. It all depends if you want to shell out the cash later for a new engine or at the pump.

Oxygen sensor (O2 sensor). Make sure it works. A faulty O2 sensor is bad for fuel economy. Don't skimp on the type of O2 sensor. Get one that is sensitive, accurate, and durable. Keep in mind that if the rest of your computer system isn't properly calibrated, then an O2 sensor won’t mean much.

Ignition.  Make sure you have not just clean and new, but decent spark plugs. Increases in MPG have been reported with platinum spark plugs, but I recommend LG Brisk Halo plugs if they are available for your car and you have a computer-controlled system. Studies have been conducted that prove an increase in gas mileage. Also make sure you have new spark plug cables that are properly insulated and not touching each other or any metal. Older cars should make sure their ignition timing is set correctly--not necessarily factory standards. Adding Halo spark plugs, for example, will throw off the ignition timing because the spark is much faster. For older cars I also recommend an ignition system i.e. MSD HEI, that ignites the spark plugs at the same rate as the RPM increases.

These are all tested and proven ways to increase your MPG, but there are more experimental methods to raise your fuel efficiency. They are mainly "experimental" because the success rate cannot be constantly duplicated given a variable set of factors. I don't recommend using any of these methods unless you carefully research exactly how they should be applied, when, on what cars, and the precise specifications and materials required. Don't take any one person's word for it or you might find yourself disillusioned by the whole process, damage your car, or put people's lives in danger. I also recommend checking with the EPA about any fuel saving device before you decide to purchase anybody's product---especially one they built in their garage. These devices all hinge on one major premise--that better combustion equals better gas mileage.

1. Cyclone. Tornado. Vortex. Vortex Valve. There are many of these similar gadgets with different names. They are basically a thin piece of metal inserted somewhere that supposedly aerates the gas for better air/fuel ratio and combustion--unproven and possibly dangerous for your engine. I haven't come across any serious studies that show otherwise.

2. Magnets. In all the studies I've come across, they actually made fuel consumption worse.

3. Brown's Gas or Hydrogen Generators. Here's where we get into some confusion. The claim isn't that a car can run on hydrogen alone. That is simply dangerous. Some people swear by them, however, given these devices are built with exactly the right materials, to the right standards, and they are used correctly. The idea is that by adding enough hydrogen as the gasoline goes into your engine, you will achieve better combustion.

4. Condensator. Some people also swear by this device for older cars that aren't already equipped with a similar device, provided it is built and used correctly. What it does to your gas is filter out the oil and contaminants in your system for better combustion and less pollution. Your engine doesn't have to waste energy burning oil and, in many cases, your engine life is increased.

5. Fuel additives and Pills. Fuel additives are generally unreliable. The biggest benefit is to improve octane. If your model of car doesn't respond to higher octane gas, however, then this is just wasted money. Also, at $3-6 a bottle for an octane booster, it's usually just cheaper and less trouble to buy the premium gas if you need it. Still if you must try additives, I recommend 5starshine. Click the Gas and Fuel Savers link. Other additives: Some people wear by Acetone which can be found in moth balls. The problem is that it's not safe for your engine. So save gas or buy a new engine?

Before you try any of these methods you should know what the EPA says about them. The manufacturer of any reputable gas saving device will have tried to have their product tested by a trusted scientific organization and are willing to publish the results of such tests. The EPA has tested many air bleed devices, vapor bleed devices, liquid injection, ignition devices, fuel line devices (collers, heaters, magnets), carburetor mixture enhancers, internal engine modifications, accessory drive modifiers, fuel additives, oil additives, driving habit modifiers, and miscellaneous devices. A full report shows you which specific devices save gas, which ones don't, and which ones save gas but increase emissions. I would be leery about buying anything not on this list. Go see which are the winning fuel saving devices tested by the EPA.

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7 comments|post comment

2005 Prius Oxygen sensors... [28 Apr 2009|01:30pm]

[ mood | frustrated ]

Okay, so, last year in early February I was charged $400 for the replacement of an "Oxygen sensor" by one dealer.

That failed to fix the Check Engine light problem.

I took it to a more local dealer later in February (I had been away at the time of the first repair) and they replaced an O2 sensor AND an Air Flow sensor on "good will" because of the fact that I was TOTALLY fed up AND that I had reported to customer service that they didn't seem to know what the hell they were doing.

Over this past weekend, the Check Engine light came on again and so I took it in to be looked at again. This time I was told it was an Oxygen sensor and that apparently the last time anything was replaced, it was ONE of the Air Flow sensors and ONE of the Oxygen sensors, although they are usually referred to the same. (WTF?!) The only difference being that there was about $100 price difference between the two sensors.

I called the other dealership back and their records were no help. All their records said was "oxygen sensor"...

So now I am looking at another $300 repair on a 2005 Prius.

I'm probably going to have it done but I am NOT happy about this.

2 comments|post comment

2005 model - Check Engine Light is on [24 Apr 2009|08:05am]

My car's Check Engine Light is on again.

This is the second time this sort of thing has happened since I got the car in 2005. The last time was due to the O2 sensors failing. I am hoping that it is something different (and less $$) than that. Because if it's the same thing... well, I just had them replaced last February.

I have also heard the thing about the loose gas cap. I will give that one a try next, but I don't know whether it will work or not considering it's been a few days since I put gas in the car.

Called the dealership and made an appointment for Tuesday to get it checked. They also said it was safe to drive with the check engine light on.

Anyone have any ideas as to why the check engine light would be on?

9 comments|post comment

Drum roll please. . . . [20 Apr 2009|09:35pm]

I am so excited to post that I am now an owner of a Toyota Prius! Well. .I put the $100 down tonight to hold it and once I get the paperwork together, I WILL be the official owner of a Toyota Prius! Finally! =) I am sooo excited. .I guess that is why I had to post tonight instead of waiting until tomorrow. Thank you all for answering my questions and putting my fears to rest. My entire family loves the car and think it is a perfect fit for me! I am very upset for having to sell my Taurus. . that was my very first car and I love it. However, I am so excited because I've always dreamt of getting a hybrid! =)
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