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2012 Toyota Prius V: Service Alert (Exhaust Actuators)

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2012 Toyota Prius V hybrid wagon, test drive in Catskill Mountains, Jan 2012

2012 Toyota Prius V hybrid wagon, test drive in Catskill Mountains, Jan 2012

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At the end of last week, Toyota quietly announced a service campaign to rectify a potential problem with the exhaust system on the 2012 Toyota Prius V. 

The voluntary service campaign will focus on weak actuators located within the exhaust heat recovery system on the 2012 Toyota Prius V which, under some circumstances, could cause an engine coolant leak.

Fitted to many modern cars, the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) value opens when it encounters back pressure from the car’s exhaust and channels it back into the combustion chamber.

Capable of heating up the car’s coolant and improving fuel efficiency shortly after startup, the EGR value shuts off when optimum engine temperature has been reached, reopening only when needed to keep the engine and coolant warm.

In the case of a Prius V fitted with a weak actuator, the EGR value may not fully shut off, overheating the coolant and causing it to leak.

2012 Toyota Prius V

2012 Toyota Prius V

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According to Toyota (via The Wall Street Journal), the reduced coolant could then force an affected Prius V into a safe- or limp-home mode designed to minimize damage to its engine and hybrid drivetrain.

Under these rare circumstances, affected cars may not operate at full power.

The issue does not affect car or occupant safety.

Owners of affected cars will be contacted by Toyota in the coming weeks and asked to bring their Prius V into the nearest dealer, where replacement actuators will be fitted free of charge. 

The recall is expected to affect some 28,000 Prius V in total, some 20,000 of which are in the U.S. The other 8,000 affected cars are in Japan, where the Prius V is sold as the Prius Alpha. 

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