17 Apr 2019

Overheating Dogs Toyota Prius in US

Some Priuses are overheating, making them undrivable.
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  The world’s most visible hybrid model, the Toyota Prius is reporting having trouble shaking off issues with overheating - and not because of hot sales.

Over in the United States, Toyota has now issued two recalls for the popular model made between 2010 and 2014 over problems with its electrical system overheating and leading to owners getting slapped with hefty damage repair bills.

As reported in the LA Times, the issue is with the inverter—which is vital in passing energy between the cars batteries and the engine, and using the cars braking to recharge the batteries.

Some drivers have had their Prius models burn out their inverters—rendering the cars unusable and requiring a fix costing up to US$3,000.

Two recalls have been issued to fix the inverters which burn themselves out when drivers apply the brakes - one recall in 2014 when Toyota hit the problem with a software update, and a second in 2018 after one of its biggest dealerships in California - a well-known hot market for the hybrid - refused to re-sell Priuses that had been recalled for Toyotas software update.

That dealership claimed that the recalled and rectified Priuses it had on its lots were not safe to drive, and sued Toyota for the original recall which affected 800,000 models sold in the US.

The LA Times is reporting that those software updates appeared to have not worked, with owners of Priuses with the latest recall applied still reporting that their cars are cooking their inverters.

For its part, Toyota says its vehicles are safe to drive, and is denying allegations from the Californian dealership, which claims the recalls are a scam. The carmaker has extended the warranty on models affected by the overheating inverters, and offers owners with burnt out inverters free replacement parts.

The owner of the dealership told the LA Times that he believed the only fix for the inverters was to replace them entirely with a redesigned one—skipping the need for any software patches.

The dealership and Toyota are currently wrangling over a somewhat spoiled relationship, given they are pressing forward with their legal challenge of the carmaker despite remaining an accredited dealership—though one with more than a hundred Priuses gathering dust in its lots.

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