CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Prius 2010 - have they ruined my car?

I took my 2010 Prius in for the ABS recall. It was supposed to be a quick 30 minute computer program update. After sitting for 2 hours the “case manager” for my car, tells me they fried the computer. He said the update was too big for the computer (this I don’t believe). So, they had to order a new computer. Ten days later they called to tell me my car is finally ready. When I went to pick it up and started the car, it sounded loud and rough, like a truck, and all sorts of warning lights came on. I drove it up the parking lot to the garage and the guy came out and sat in the car, turned it on and off, and then handed back the rental car keys. He said they’d have to keep it and look at it in the mornign and would call me the next day (Friday). It is now Sunday, and no call. I am worried that they ruined my new Prius. I called the Toyota help line and the guy said as far as he knew they had not had other complaints along this line. Go figure. He told me to contact corporate and they’d start a case file.



Have they ruined my car? What kind of damage might they have caused? Obviously, they did not know how to do the download. Should I ask for a new car? Help!



JoAnn

Just Curious, Did You Buy This Car Knowing What Toyota Is Going Through With Product Quality ? If So, I Don’t Think All The Responsibility Rests With Them.

Did you believe your Toyota would be an exception ? This stuff has been in the news for quite some time and will continue.

They need to finish building the cars prior to selling them. If you can get a different one that is “complete”, that’s what you should go for. There’s no telling what surprises will be lurking if you keep this car.

CSA

I bought the car before the recalls started. There were no issues at the time.

Give them time to figure this out. In the mean time, enjoy the rental car.

The Prius is a very complex machine. I don’t think they can “ruin” it. They just need to get the software sorted out.

Be patient. Good luck.

While I usually agree with you, CSA, in this case I will dissent.

Blaming the victim for the crime, so to speak, is not appropriate–especially when a profit-making corporation has accepted the OP’s money in exchange for a new vehicle with several long-term warranties, and the corporation’s agent–namely the dealership–has caused some kind of damage to the car.

If the car cannot be made “whole”, the OP should complain–both loud and long–to Toyota corporate for a replacement for her 2010 car.

CSA–Do you honestly think that the OP deserves any of the blame for whatever type of screw-up took place at the dealership? Do you really think that Toyota should be “let off the hook” because they have had issues of late?

VDC Driver, I Agree With You. I Qualified My Notion Of Buyer Responsibility By Saying, “Did You Buy This Car Knowing What Toyota Is Going Through With Product Quality ?”

I take Jalbert completely at his or her word when it was stated, " I bought the car before the recalls started. There were no issues at the time. " I’m surprised, but I have no reason to doubt this.

The responsibility for the poor quality control rest with Toyota in this case. They should not be “let off the hook” and in the event that " the car cannot be made ‘whole’, the OP should complain–both loud and long–to Toyota corporate for a replacement for her 2010 car."

Right on!

CSA

CSA

“Qualifications” or not, even if the OP bought the car after Toyota’s “issues” had been aired in the media, he/she should not have to bear any responsibility for problems with the car.

In this very forum, many regulars have advised querulous Toyota owners that the probability of actually having a serious problem with their new Toyota is statistically negligible. While I personally don’t agree with that assessment, the fact remains that when a product of ANY kind is placed on sale, there is an implied Warranty of Merchantability on that product, meaning that the product is “fit for its intended purpose”.

Placing any of the blame on a consumer who spent his/her hard-earned money on a new car (and presumably has maintained the car properly) is just not appropriate. Unless a car manufacturer sees fit to state that they no longer wish to stand behind the quality of the products that they sell, they are still liable for any problems during the period of the warranty. As memory serves, Toyota has not issued a statement to that effect, and unless they wish to commit corporate hara-kiri, I doubt that they will issue a statement to that effect.

Toyota and their agent–the dealership–bear [u]100%[/u] of the responsibility here, and the OP bears NO responsibility whatsoever if he/she has maintained the car properly and has not abused it. And, whether the purchase was made before or after recent issues came to light is immaterial.

Friday was just before the weekend, so perhaps more parts were ordered. Give it a couple of more days. When they call you to tell you the car is fixed, insist on a “test drive” before accepting the car as “fixed”. I would take the car at least 5 miles in a variety of traffic conditions before accepting it and turning in the rental.

The computer being “fried” is possible, but someone messed up something while working on your car. The computer in all the other 2010 Prius’s handled the update without blowing out the computer. You deserve a “real” explanation, but once the car is fixed it should be OK after that.

VDC D, I Guess We’ll Have To Disagree On This One Issue.

If my new house was unsafe because Chinese dry-wall was installed, the manufacturer would be totally to blame.

However, if I bought and installed it while knowing there were major problems involved with it, I would be a partner in responsibility even if the manufacturer ultimately paid all the damages. I would have enabled it.

Some people have even accused a guy of a fake run-away Toyota to cash in on the company’s misfortune. I suppose there are some who would knowingly buy one for the same reason and collect on a damage lawsuit. There are a number of lawsuits in the works.

I think of “Fool me once, shame on you.
fool me twice, shame on me.”

CSA

Thank you for your comments. I can assure CSA that there were no issues at the time I bought my Prius which was back in July 2009 - right after the new models came out. I have cared for the car properly, and appreciate VDCdriver’s comments. I was surprised that CSA suggested blame on my part. For one thing, I bought a car that I believed to be sound and reliable, and that was recommended by consumer organizations. I took the car to the dealer for a recall from Toyota, and the service department at the dealership ended up frying the computer trying to do a download. As far as I can surmise this is not a regular occurrence with this recall fix. Someone at the dealership made a mistake when attempting the computer update. Not me.

My question was really focused on whether they could make the car “whole” or whether there would be damage to other features of the car by shorting the computer. Especially since there was obviously still something very wrong after they put a new computer in, and told me the car was finished. I have been patient with these folks. But as far as I can surmise this is not a common problem with this fix. mcparadise and Uncle Turbo - my very concern is that the Prius is a complex machine, and I worry whether they can fix it, or how I will know that they have. Someone did mess up and you’re right I deserve a real explanation. Sounds like you both think they can still fix the car. I’m still worried.

Since this is a 2010 model one thing you should do is maintain a paper trail in case push comes to shove over a Lemon issue. Without paper you’re dead in the water.

This means you should have a copy of the repair order stating your exact complaint and what if anything was done to remedy the problem.

Let me add that the car may not really be a Lemon. The problems could have been inflicted upon it but that’s for the dealer and Toyota Motor Company to hash out.

Thanks, good advice.

They botched the repair twice. You need to be ready to return the Prius under the lemon law. By now you should have 2 receipts for the work done. Find out what the requirements for return under you state lemon law are and get your paperwork in line. You may not need to, but if they can’t fix the car after 6 or so tries, they owe you a new one.

If you are not sick, you should stay away from doctors…Same thing with cars…Your car was running fine until they “fixed” it…

Your concern is very easy to understand. I’m sure the problem can be found and resolved, but sometimes that does take some time. When one electrical part fails it can have a domino effect and cause another part to fail. Also a new computer in the car has to “relearn” and reset a number of basic functions, something simple like idle speed can be affected. While you can be patient, you also can stand firm that the Toyota dealer return the car to you working properly.

No your car is not ruined, and it is under warranty and will be returned in fine working order. Have faith that they will fix whatever it needs, it may take time. I assume they are picking up the rental car cost, if not make them. Things happen, this one happened to you, they will get it fixed and in time your baby will be fine. If it takes too long for your happiness there are lemon laws and other avenues of recourse. I think you have feelings no matter what they do you think there are potential future issues waiting to happen. What car would you rather have instead that the dealer could work out for you, do not be afraid to ask. PS might not be a bad time to check the price of an extended dealer warranty, an extra k for an extra 3 years depending on mileage might not be a bad bet.

I think they messed up badly, and don’t know how to fix this. I think you have very strong grounds to demand a replacement vehicle. Of course you will use another dealer.

My feeling is demand a new car. They screwed this one up. You have been denied your car, and now they want you to “work with them”. Don’t. They aren’t paying you, are they?

Contact Toyota today, the regional office, and demand a replacement, new car. Any games being played, contact the Department of Consumer Protection, the DMV or the Attorney General, depending on how your State is set up.

I would guess that what happened is they somehow disconnected the power or data cable to the computer while “flashing” the firmware. Or they could have used the wrong version for your car. These things can ‘brick’ the computer. (pretty much it is now a brick or a doorstop) Some systems have ways of recovering from a misstep like this, some do not. You can inadvertently do the same thing to your home computer by botching a BIOS update.

So they may have had to recover the computer somehow, or possibly order a new one if the one they worked on was no longer responding to anything they tried. Then it sounds like they used the wrong firmware or otherwise screwed up again.

So hopefully the third time’s a charm, and they actually know what they’re doing. But I don’t think they’ve destroyed your car–they may have screwed up two engine computers in a row, but a working, properly programmed replacement should put everything right.

To Quote A Previous Suggestion, "They need to finish building the cars prior to selling them. If you can get a different one that is “complete”, that’s what you should go for. "

Wentwest, I agree with you. (That was my suggestion, by the way.)

I wonder if the threat of one more " Expos? " involving Toyota car problems reported to a major national TV network would speed things along in this regard ? Maybe there’s money in it for the car owner.

CSA