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Prius Traction Control Complaints on the Rise

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by jkash, Apr 20, 2007.

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  1. jkash

    jkash Member

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    Prius Traction Control Complaints on the Rise
    Toyota Can't Get a Grip on the Problem

    Toyota is unable to modify the troublesome Prius traction control system without placing the vehicle's sophisticated hybrid drive system in jeopardy, according to a Toyota service technician familiar with the Prius problem.

    In a mountainous or snowy areas, the little car can be more than just difficult, Prius owners complain.

    "I live in the mountains, up steep hills and dirt roads. I consider the slippage problem with the shutting down of power to the wheels just when you need more not less traction to be a very serious problem and a potentially life-threatening design flaw," a New England Prius owner told ConsumerAffairs.Com.

    Read more.
  2. IsrAmeriPrius

    IsrAmeriPrius Progressive Member

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    Consider the source, ConsumerAffairs.Com. The ultimate ambulance chasers' trolling site on the internet.





  3. aapopper

    aapopper New Member

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    Do a search for "traction control" and you'll see that very few people on Priuschat will agree with you.

    My '05 is totally useless in snow in the winter and gravel driveways in the summer, poses a hazard just pulling out of a shopping center with a little bit of sand in the gutter, and has even kicked in (momentarily) when crossing a painted crosswalk stripe in rainy weather.

    I'm sure there are others who have experienced this potentially dangerous problem but, for whatever reason, don't want to get involved in this topic.

    Good luck in your search for a solution to this problem but don't expect to find it here.
  4. dmckinstry

    dmckinstry New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(redryder @ Apr 20 2007, 08:11 PM) [snapback]427174[/snapback]</div>

    I think your problem is that only '04 cars and '05 car produced at "earlier dates" have the traction control problem. I haven't notice anything wrong with problem on snow and ice with '05 Prius delivered in August of '05.

    Dave M.
  5. aapopper

    aapopper New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(dmckinstry @ Apr 21 2007, 12:25 AM) [snapback]427180[/snapback]</div>

    That being the case, any suggestions on how to get it fixed?
  6. IsrAmeriPrius

    IsrAmeriPrius Progressive Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(redryder @ Apr 20 2007, 09:32 PM) [snapback]427185[/snapback]</div>

    Most folks who experienced this problem solved it by upgrading their tires.
  7. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North Staff Member

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    I assume you used snow tyres in the winter cause if you didn't, well that's a whole different story.


    I don't know. Mine acted like yours before and now it acts like the 06+ models. I have no idea how it changed but a few of us speculated it had something to do with the ECU update.
  8. faith2walk

    faith2walk Upgraded again

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(IsrAmeriPrius @ Apr 21 2007, 12:35 AM) [snapback]427189[/snapback]</div>

    I upgraded my tires to Goodyear Assurance Tripletreads and it still doesn't help. This is the one flaw that would make me consider a different car next time. I drive 75k+ miles every year and michigan doesn't play nice with road conditions. It scares the heck out of me knowing that one day soon I am going to step on the gas to get across the interesection and the car is going to slip and stop, instead of slip and go.
  9. aapopper

    aapopper New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(IsrAmeriPrius @ Apr 21 2007, 12:35 AM) [snapback]427189[/snapback]</div>

    I've been running Michelins (sorry I don't remember the model) and the Goodyear Assurance Tripletreads in the summer. I really don't think tires would, in any way, contribute to bogging down I've encountered on a moderately pitched gravel driveway.

    BTW, I've been to the dealer and they claim that the ECU is up to date.

    Thanks for the reply but I've seen this same response on the other threads and would only hope this thread will acknowledge some of us do have a problem which is not attributable to tires, driving style, whatever and come up with some new and more constructive ideas and suggestions.
  10. efusco

    efusco Troll Slayer Staff Member

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    IMO this is a moderate severity but infrequent problem. I sincerely hope it's fixed on the next generation vehicle, but I certainly never considered it a safety issue. Like anything else it's a known limit of the vehicle...when you drive it's your responsibility to take all the limits of the vehicle into consideration...when you drive an SUV you don't try to make a 2G lateral force turn on a hair pin and expect the thing not to roll. With a Prius I don't try to merge into a tiny spot in high speed traffic or make a close call into an intersection if the road has loose gravel or is wet.

    Not once in nearly 58k miles of driving have I had a close call or experience where I felt that there was putting myself or my family in danger b/c of the traction control.
  11. iaowings

    iaowings New Member

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    the hybrid system will produce so much torque in the Prius that wheel spin would lead quickly to broken axles and even wheels coming off. :blink:

    I didn’t know that the car had that much torque. 500+ will bend a good axel but to snap it wow. If this were true the axel would have to be so cheap that driving over speed bumps at speeds faster than 1-2 mph would be cause for concern. The wheels just falling off the car I only know of one company who has had problems with this. remember back in the late 90’s when ford recalled its trucks because the front wheels could just fall off at high speeds (45mph+)
  12. KD6HDX

    KD6HDX New Member

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    Mornings when I turn left over a rubber railroad track, I purposely give the prius a little bit extra gas to see if the tires will slip causing the VSC to engage briefly and flash its icon in the dash. While I make this turn 3 times a week, only when the surface of the rubber crossing plates are moist with dew or rain, will the vsc or traction control engage. For me, its kind of like testing the systems in order to see if they are indeed working. Several of my mornings here over the winter caused the snowflake to display itself. Although there was no ice, snow or black ice on the road, the conditions for it existed as far as the prius is concerned and made itself known by the display. I have never felt the traction control - If that means anti-rollover feature at a high speed swerve or something? But occassionally I will give that little extra gas around the corner over the tracks just to see if the systems "wake up" and start working. All this while driving about 20 mph.

    Had I not read these threads when I first purchased the prius, I would not have known to be suspect of this feature suddenly becoming active and leaving me stranded - or at least having to stop the car and then take off again, hoping I was not rear ended by traffic behind me.

    We drive the prius with all of those caveats in place. Living in southern california, there are few dirt roads for us or times when there is any measurable snow or ice on the road. So I can't speak to the actual drivers who live in snowy areas. My wife on one occassion mentioned that he car, "lost power - traction" one time. It was raining that day and she apparently tried to take off from a stop sign a little too quick. Perhaps she crossed one of the crosswalks that was freshly painted. Street workers are supposed to spread a silica type granule that does two things. One reduces slip caused by a glossy paint surface, and the other is for a reflective appearance to make the crosswalk reflective to automobile headlights. If they don't sprinkle that stuff on heavy enough after they paint it, the crosswalk markings can become slippery in rain.

    We drive on Michelins from Costco, and we have not noticed any improvement over the stock tires with respect to the vsc becoming active and displaying on the dash occasionaly. Especially if i TRY to make it happen once in awhile just to see if the systems work or not.

    I leave the tires inflated to their recommended settings too. Perhaps some of you have your tires over-inflated? Stock wheels, Michelin MXV4 tires, and a light touch on the accelerator work here. Hope we never need the traction control. I climb rolling hills first thing in the morning right out of the garage on a cold motor too. Althought the hills are only ascending to about 1,200 feet, I experience no slippage while climbing in the rain, when the snowflake is displayed due to cold air temps being reported on the dash lights.

    Good luck to all you slippery prii drivers out there.

    D
  13. acdii

    acdii Active Member

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    My 07 does it when turning, annoying for sure. I have had it do it once taking off at a stop sign, and in a situation like that I can see cause for concern, it didnt happen right away, it happened halfway through the intersection due to the humps in the road. It was a 4 way stop, but all it takes is some moron in a hurry to take off just as you are supposed to pass by and then have the TC kick in and stall you. It does give reason for concern, but knowing it can happen will give you reason to think ahead and not do something stupid that most drivers do normally, like pull out in fron of a truck thats doing 55MPH thinking you can get in front of it.
  14. dmckinstry

    dmckinstry New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(redryder @ Apr 20 2007, 09:32 PM) [snapback]427185[/snapback]</div>

    I think someone with an '04 or early '05 found it disappear after he had something else fixed. Unfortunately, I don't remember who. Hopefully, he'll see this thread and give you an answer. I want to say it was TideLand, but I'm probably wrong.

    Dave M.
  15. powphilprius

    powphilprius Elshawno~

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    My 05 has always performed as I expected, having driven though many bad snow storms, slick nasty roads & all, many ski trips. In deep snow I use chains (cables) and I thought the car drove like a tank. Without chains the car can easily high center & lose traction so keep that in mind. There was one day where I couldn't get any traction to back out of my parking spot but I had engaged the parking brake and the back wheels froze solid & seized. That was one time where I didn't like the traction control. It would be cool if they would give us the ability to switch off the traction control but overall I would rather have it. Any thoughts?
  16. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North Staff Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(IAO @ Apr 21 2007, 06:03 AM) [snapback]427261[/snapback]</div>


    wow.. whoever wrote that statement must be pulling facts out of their a**.


    The reason I knew is that the TRAC is to prevent the electric motors from overspinning (or overrevving). THe engine can sustain it but the motors can't. They already spin to 12,000rpm.
  17. efusco

    efusco Troll Slayer Staff Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Tideland Prius @ Apr 21 2007, 11:35 AM) [snapback]427307[/snapback]</div>

    Yup.
  18. abq sfr

    abq sfr New Member

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    They suggest that Toyota engineers are concerned that if the traction control is turned off or modified, the hybrid system will produce so much torque in the Prius that wheel spin would lead quickly to broken axles and even wheels coming off.
    You know that's not true... I got package 2 because package 1 in NM does not have traction control, but it only adds a couple hundred $ to the price. Why would they sell a version without it if they think damage would occur to the car? The other Prius owner at my office mentioned this problem to me, she was stopped at an intersection and accelerated over railroad tracks and lost power. IMO, anytime you unexpectedly lose power in a car it's dangerous. Must not be many law suits over it yet, or Toyota would have fixed it somehow.
  19. aaronw

    aaronw Junior Member

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    I drive in northern California and frequently have it kick on. It is just too sensitive. There is a turn I make every day on my way to work with a bit of a pot hole, and every time I make that turn, the traction control kicks in. I don't drive in snow and I think in some ways the traction control can be dangerous. If I'm trying to pull into traffic and hit a pothole, I might be rear-ended because my car stalls. I think the problem is that the traction control is a bit too responsive, especially at lower speeds.
  20. efusco

    efusco Troll Slayer Staff Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(abq sfr @ Apr 21 2007, 01:31 PM) [snapback]427365[/snapback]</div>

    All 2G Prius have traction control. You're confusing it with VSC (electronic stability control) which is, currently, optional.
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