Laguna Hills, CA – July 26, 2019 – Toyota Motor Corporation is recalling certain Prius C models due to a performance and safety issue that may prevent the vehicle’s battery from working when the automobile is in drive mode, increasing the risk of a crash for users of 2018 and 2019 models. Given this is one of several recalls affecting the company’s popular hybrid over the past five years, Toyota urges Prius C owners to get in touch with their local dealer so this issue can be corrected if this or another flaw exists. Toyota hasn’t yet officially informed registered owners of this potential hazard, but will make them aware via first-class mail Aug. 12. Safety-related automotive recalls are free of charge, and this one is no exception.
As documented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Toyota is recalling approximately 464 2018-2019 Prius C vehicles. The problem affecting a limited number of these hybrid automobiles is related to its propulsion system. Apparently, the auxiliary battery, which comes standard in all Priuses, may not receive the power it needs to propel the vehicle forward because of a flaw within the circuit board, which may have occurred at some point during the manufacturing or assembly process. If the transistor to the circuit board were to separate, the battery may lose its ability to energize the vehicle. This of course presents a safety hazard for Prius C owners as well as others on the road should this malfunction occur, especially when moving at a high rate of speed.
Timeline of Events
Unlike other recalls cleared with the NHTSA, which tend to be more isolated in nature, this isn’t the first affecting the Prius. As reported by the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets, an estimated 20,000 Prius owners have reported power system failures tracing back to 2014. At that time, over 800,000 Priuses were pulled from the market because of a glitch with the vehicle’s inverter transistors, which also impacted propulsion and the potential for the automobile to suddenly power down. This recall affected C models manufactured between 2010 and 2014. Another recall was ordered last October to correct certain power failures that the original recall didn’t address.
This most recent recall is different in a couple of respects. First, it pertains to 2018 and 2019 models and it’s much smaller. Indeed, Toyota believes that of the 464 vehicles included in the recall, likely only 10% have the defect. This is partially due to the DC-DC converter that is exclusive to those Prius C vehicles built between February 2018 and October of the same year.
Even though there may be no immediate signs of separation, the propulsion issue may develop over time, depending on how frequently Prius owners drive and how many years they go before buying a new or used vehicle. Given this, Toyota is making this move out of an abundance of caution. The company says it will formally inform owners of the safety concern by mail starting in mid-August and will encourage drivers to take their automobile back to the dealer from which they purchased it or to any authorized Toyota dealership. If it’s deemed appropriate, the DC-DC converter will be replaced with an alternative unit, which will come at no cost to the owner for parts or labor.
As previously referenced, this latest is recall is one of several for Prius models. If you own one that’s 10 years or older, visit MotorSafety.org. By entering your VIN information, you can find out if your subject to this or some other recall order.