Pleasanton, CA – June 25, 2020 – Toyota (NYSE:TM) is recalling more Priuses for an electrical problem that may cause the car to suddenly lose power on the road.
The recall includes:
- 2013-2015 Toyota Prius
- 2014-2017 Toyota Prius V
Like with other Prius recalls in 2014 and 2018, the electrical system is at fault. Sometimes, hard acceleration overheats and damages a part called the inverter, which controls power flow in the car. This usually triggers a fail-safe mode – also known as a “limp-home” mode – but this specific defect is causing cars to stall instead.
Sudden loss of power on the road can cause collisions, which may lead to injury and even death of the driver and other motorists. The recall officially begins on August 10, 2020, but repairs will become available sometime in July.
Stalling at a stoplight is arguably not as dangerous as losing power on the freeway. Vehicles may not be able to react in time and could ram a stalled car from behind.
In April 2019, Ralph Vartabedian of the LA Times reported on drivers’ terrifying experiences with Prius inverter failure. “A Marina del Rey woman had to cross three lanes of fast-moving traffic on the 91 Freeway,” he wrote. “In another case, a Florida woman was rear-ended. The crash left her with a cracked vertebra and a punctured lung.”
If your car stalls, you should immediately turn on the emergency hazard lights and call 911 and your roadside assistance provider. Do not leave your vehicle if you are driving down a highway with several lanes of traffic.
Another software update
One of Toyota’s largest Southern California dealers, Roger Hogan reported the original issue to Toyota in 2017 and sued the company over the defect. Hogan believes the software is not the real problem, and that the only genuine fix would be to replace the inverter with a newer model, costing $2,000 per unit, according to Vartabedian’s article.
Toyota has launched a separate program to “repair or replace” damaged inverters for free before an update is performed. However, in order to qualify, the inverter must already be broken.
Is your vehicle part of this recall?
Over 266,000 cars are included in this Toyota recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to check your car for open recalls.