Motoring

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Toyota recalls 700 Prius cars here to fix software glitch

Eddie Cunningham, Motoring Editor

Published 13/02/2014 | 02:30

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More than 1.9 million Toyota Prius vehicles are being recalled worldwide.
More than 1.9 million Toyota Prius vehicles are being recalled worldwide.

AROUND 700 Toyota Prius owners here are to have their vehicles recalled because of a computer problem that could bring the car to a halt.

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The action is part of a 1.9 million worldwide recall of the famous hybrid.

A Toyota Ireland spokesman told the Irish Independent there had been no cases reported here. The update will take 40 minutes at a dealership.

The recall is due to faulty programming of control software in the car's hybrid system.

In exceptional circumstances the system could shut down and the vehicle might stop.

However, it is more likely that the defect could set off warning lights, with the car driving with reduced power.

A spokeswoman said that while the Prius might stop, it would not do so suddenly. "It would slow down, eventually to stop," she said.

Around 400 cases of the potential problem have been reported globally. There have been no accidents or injuries.

Models affected are those made from March 2009 to date.

About half the recalls are in Japan, where the car is made, and 713,000 in North America.

The problem lies with parts of a 'boost convertor' which facilitates the extra power needed when, for example, you accelerate hard.

DEFORMED

Under such 'high system loads', the software setting could mean tiny transistors within the module get so hot they could become deformed or damaged.

Toyota said: "Should this happen, warning lights may be illuminated and the car is likely to switch to 'failsafe' operation. It can still be driven, but with reduced power.

"In limited cases the hybrid system may shut down, causing the vehicle to stop. The driver will not experience any change in the vehicle's behaviour or performance prior to the problem occurring."

Toyota here will be writing directly to the owners involved to arrange an update by their local dealer at no cost.

This latest recall follows several previous Toyota announcements. They include issues with 'unintended acceleration' (November 2009) where the driver's side floor mat was blamed for protruding on to the accelerator pedal.

A second recall in January 2010 followed when a possible mechanical 'sticking' of the pedal was blamed in some cases for this unintended acceleration.

And in late 2012 it had recalls that included more than 7.4 million vehicles to fix power window switches that were a potential fire hazard.

Irish Independent

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