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UPDATE: Braking Issue In 2010 Toyota Prius Hybrid, Recall TBD

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Angular Front Exterior View - 2010 Toyota Prius 5dr HB II (Natl)

Angular Front Exterior View - 2010 Toyota Prius 5dr HB II (Natl)

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UPDATE: The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a formal inquiry into the brakes of the 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid. It has now received 124 complaints of faulty brakes, out of roughly 37,000 of the cars sold to date in the U.S.

Toyota said it would cooperate fully with the investigation, which applies only to the 2010 model-year Toyota Prius hybrid.

[Automotive News (subscription required)]

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Yesterday, we reported that Japan's Department of Transportation had forced Toyota to investigate complaints about inconsistent braking behavior in its new 2010 Toyota Prius, the completely redesigned third generation of its signature hybrid.

Today, we learn that Toyota has admitted that early examples of the 2010 Prius--those built from the launch last spring until late January--had a software glitch in the redesigned electronic system that controls its anti-lock braking system.

The NHTSA has received more than 100 complaints about unusual brake pedal feel.  Drivers complain of loss of braking ability or slipping brakes, often on bumpy or icy roads. Fourteen drivers in Japan also identified the same behavior, all during winter months.

2010 Toyota Prius

2010 Toyota Prius

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2010 Toyota Prius

2010 Toyota Prius

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2010 Toyota Prius

2010 Toyota Prius

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Pre-Production 2010 Toyota Prius in Orlando

Pre-Production 2010 Toyota Prius in Orlando

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2010 Toyota Prius

2010 Toyota Prius

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Grille - 2010 Toyota Prius 5dr HB II (Natl)

Grille - 2010 Toyota Prius 5dr HB II (Natl)

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Anti-lock + regen + braking = confusion?

Toyota said it has identified a problem that occurs when the anti-lock braking system activates, to prevent the car from skidding, just as the 2010 Prius switches over from regenerative braking--which recharges its battery pack--to the conventional friction brakes.

Hiroyuki Yokoyama, the company's manager in charge of quality in Japan, told reporters Toyota had now found the problem, and that a fix (presumably a software patch) has been designed.

2010 Prius only, not earlier models

But he also said Toyota is still debating "what actions to take" for 2010 Prius models already on the road.

The problem is restricted to the third-generation 2010 Prius, introduced early last year. That car uses a redesigned control system that integrates anti-lock braking with the combination of its regenerative and conventional brakes.

The problem does not apply to either first-generation (2000-2003) or second-generation (2004-2009) Prius models.

What to do? Brake harder

If you experience any unusual braking behavior while driving a 2010 Toyota Prius--especially in conditions where the road is slippery or bumpy--Yokoyama said the solution is simple: Press harder on the brakes.

Drivers of 2010 Prius models who have experienced the braking issue say it can recur in those road conditions, so stay alert and be prepared to slam on the brakes if necessary. Don't worry about losing control; the anti-lock system will prevent the tires from losing traction.

Different from accelerator issues

This anti-lock braking issue in the 2010 Toyota Prius is a new and different problem from the two separate recalls of various Toyota and Lexus models that may experience sticking accelerator pedals. Toyota is now recalling more than 8 million cars on five continents to address that problem.

For full details on the two earlier Toyota recalls in North America (including certain Lexus and Pontiac models)--along with what to do if your accelerator sticks--visit our summary: Toyota And Lexus Recall: Everything You Need To Know.


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Comments (7)
  1. It seems to be going from bad to worse for Toyota. Thanks for the very informative advice. One thing I think I should perhaps add to this is that there is nothing wrong with just turning off your engine, providing it is safe to do so, and that you can maintain a straight course. You will lose much of the ability to steer but the acceleration issue will at least be solved. I would however only recommend this as a last resort. In the meantime, why not at least have a laugh at the whole affair. I found this. Hope everyone likes it. http://www.farcecars.com/the-car-behind-is-a-toyota
     
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  2. @alitann: Thanks for the good words.
    For those readers who don't know, the way to turn off a car with a "Start" button (rather than a conventional ignition key) is to HOLD THE BUTTON DOWN FOR AT LEAST THREE SECONDS.
     
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  3. I heard about the pedal recall I had no idea it affected my NON toyota car good thing I found more info here http://www.carpedalrecall.com
    searched for my make, model, year and found my car had been recalled so look out! it could save a life maybe yours
    don't understandhow seriousor what the car pedal recall is about?
    just watch this video at the end it also shows how to stop a out of control car very useful
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGe3EOJ-CMY
     
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  4. Regarding the Prius brake defects when you use advanced computer technology like that it must be thoroughly tested for glitches.
     
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  5. Our the brakes on our Lexus 250 did the same thing as described in the article about the 2010 Prius. Has anyone else had this problem?
     
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  6. This is bad news for Toyota. Recalling the 2010 Prius for brake glitches will tarnish the reputation of the maker and the model. Hybrids and electric cars are the greenest technology in the mainstream and it would be a shame to see their production and popularity stalled over safety issues.
    Researching how to make your company, product, or next project more Green? Go to http://www.greencollareconomy.com for sustainability white papers and the largest b2b green directory on the web.
     
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  7. Now that the press has caught up to Toyota people who own 1995 through 2004 Toyota Tacoma pickups need to know that the frames have a serious rusting issue. Toyota is keeping this quiet with the NHSTA by having what they call a "CSC" customer satisfaction campaign. They filed this with the NHSTA back in November 2008. I have not found one person who has been notified by Toyota of this issue. I have sent my truck and four other peoples trucks to the dealer for this very serious issue. If you have a Tacoma or Tundra pickup you need to inspect your frame. IT COULD BE VERY DANGEROUS. Check the NHSTA.GOV website for this CSC.
     
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