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Toyota Prius Recall Guide: Sudden Acceleration & Brake Safety

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2010 Toyota Prius

2010 Toyota Prius

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With news this morning of yet another potential Toyota safety problem (steering in 2009 and 2010 Corolla models), it's increasingly hard to keep track of which models are affected by which recalls.

This is your guide to all the recent safety related recalls that affect the Toyota Prius. Thus far, there are only two that affect the issues--brake feel and sticking accelerators--that have been in the news.

Lexus HS250h

Lexus HS250h

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2009 Toyota Prius

2009 Toyota Prius

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Loose all-weather floor mat jams accelerator pedal. Photo: NHTSA

Loose all-weather floor mat jams accelerator pedal. Photo: NHTSA

Toyota's diagram showing how to properly install floor mats

Toyota's diagram showing how to properly install floor mats

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Toyota retrofit fix for sticky-throttle recall

Toyota retrofit fix for sticky-throttle recall

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BRAKES: 2010 Toyota Prius only

The most recent recall, to update braking-system software, was announced this morning. Letters will go out to 2010 Toyota Prius owners starting next week, and that is the sole model year affected.

Earlier Prius models, built from 2000 to 2009, used a different anti-lock braking system and are not subject to the recall.

The update applies to roughly 133,000 2010 Prius vehicles built from May 2009 through January 2010, as well as 14,500 2010 Lexus HS 250h hybrid sedans.

As reported earlier, Toyota has already incorporated the updated software into the new 2010 Prius models it has built since late in January.

Software patch

The fix is a dealer-applied patch to the software that controls the anti-lock braking system (ABS). The update improves the system's response time and alters its sensitivity to tire slippage.

Many owners complained that they experienced inconsistencies in brake feel that felt like failing brakes. Toyota says the brakes perform safely at all times, but the update will provide a better feel.

The problem occurs when drivers apply the brakes steadily on slick or bumpy road surfaces, causing the ABS to activate just as the car switches from regenerative braking to conventional hydraulic brakes.

Because the recall is voluntary, owners are not required to their cars updated if they are satisfied with the feel of their brakes. The recall will be free.

ACCELERATION: 2004-2009 Toyota Prius only

The second generation of Prius models, from 2004 through 2009, are affected only by the first of two recalls to address problems with the accelerator.

The first recall is to prevent pedal entrapment, in which an oversize or incorrectly fitted floormat traps the edge of the accelerator pedal, preventing it from returning to its normal position.

The fix announced in October includes removal of incorrect floor mats, using zip-ties to fasten correct mats to their mountings, and sawing a small section off the pedal bottom to shorten it.

Toyota will also fit brake-override software to its cars, ensuring that pressing the brake fully slows the engine even if it is racing.

That recall affects 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles, including all 2004-2009 Prius models.

But not sticking pedals

The second recall announced in January, however, does not affect any Toyota Prius models. In that situation, acceleration pedal mechanisms provided by one of two suppliers could corrode, causing them to stick.

Toyota plans to modify the pedal mechanisms of affected cars, and it briefly stopped selling affected models until dealers could modify them.

Altogether, Toyota will have recalled about 8 million vehicles on five continents to fix the collection of problems.

For more information ....

Visit our summary, Toyota And Lexus Recall: Everything You Need To Know, to get full details on those two earlier recalls in North America. The article also includes what to do if your accelerator pedal sticks.

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Comments (8)
  1. For the last year, my 2006 Prius sometimes has a lag between when I brake and when it "catches" and begins to slow. At first I thought I had hit a patch of ice or loose gravel, but I'm becoming more convinced that there's a delay in the braking communication system. Should I contact the dealer? Will it get worse; i.e., is it safe to drive? Thanks! P.C.
     
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  2. @Pat: The condition you describe is not covered by either of the recalls described above. I would certainly suggest you contact your dealer if your brakes are not working as expected!
     
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  3. I have 2 - 2004 Prius. One bought new, one certified new. Both have factory floor mats---- neither had the holding clips. I had to go out on the www and purchase 4 of them to secure the two sets of mats.
    Could some of the problem be the lack of clips. My colleague took his Camry in, and the mats had no clips---they put twist ties on and attached them to the driver seat underside.
     
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  4. We have a 2010 Prius with 900 miles on it (we've had it less than a month). Although we have had no problems with it, my wife is now afraid to drive it or ride in it, for that matter, because of all she has heard/read about sudden acceleration. Is there any way I can convince her that the car is safe to drive or ride in? We had a 2006 Prius for 3.5 years and 37K miles with no problems whatsoever, but now she wouldn't even want that one back, if a trade were possible.
     
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  5. In looking through the owner's manual yesterday, I found three mentions of situations that could cause unexpected acceleration. I don't have it in front of me or I would give the exact citations and page numbers. Suffice to say that Toyota should defend itself from the unexpected acceleration claims by citing the owner's manual for the Prius. Perhaps the various cases could be explained by some unusual activity on the part of the driver that triggered the unexpected acceleration.
     
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  6. John, now what buddy... They still are not sure what is the cause and neither do you.
    PS. I am not a bigot. Just not a lemming...
     
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  7. Has anyone thought about what would happen if you applied engine braking while experiencing unexpected acceleration? That is, what would happen if you took your Prius out of D and put it into B? Wouldn't that cause the car to slow down? I haven't heard this mentioned in any of the solutions I've heard (put it into N or kill the motor, both of which the manual explicitly advises against). Also, no one has responded to either of my previous posts. Is anyone out there?
     
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  8. I guess not.
     
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