Welcome to PriusChat

We'd love to have you join our community and participate in the conversation! Sign up for FREE today.

Sign Up

The $3000 Brake Job

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubles' started by Dark_matter_doesn't, Apr 22, 2013.

Social Buttons

  1. Dark_matter_doesn't

    Dark_matter_doesn't Prius Tinkerer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    125
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    Here's a picture of a $2700 part for a 2010 Prius:

    [​IMG]
    You can get a replacement transmission for about $1200, a remanufactured traction battery for $1875. This is your brake master cylinder/ABS unit.

    At the end of March, on a Saturday afternoon, my brake booster pump began making a terrible squealing sound when I tried to move my Prius. It had been perfectly fine earlier in the day. I had just passed 50,000 miles. The dashboard ABS and brake warning lights went on. The squealing noise continued after the vehicle was turned off for several minutes, then would stop. I popped the hood and felt what I suspected was the brake booster pump (driver side, toward the back and buried a bit) and it was vibrating in synch with the squealing noise. I tried adding some brake fluid, as the resevoir was down to about half-full, and miraculously the noise stopped. Only to start up about 10 minutes later, and didn't stop again.

    I couldn't get it into my local Toyota dealer (Burien Toyota) until Tuesday, and I had to drive it on Monday. On top of the squealing noise, there was also a high pitched beeping sound to deal with while driving. The hydraulic brakes seemed to work fine, but regenerative braking was missing. I dropped off the vehicle at the dealership Monday night & got a loaner.

    Tuesday afternoon, the dealership called to say that the brake master cylinder had to be replaced at a cost of $3000! After a bit of recovery from the shocking news, I told them to proceed with the fix but I wanted some consideration from Toyota for at least part of the repair cost - this is a ridiculously costly failure on a 50K vehicle, about 10% of what I paid for it! They said the part was in Portland and the vehicle could be fixed the next day once the part arrived.

    That started a two-week wait for the vehicle to be fixed. Portland didn't have the part, and I didn't find that out until Friday of that week. The part then had to come from Detroit (??!) and wouldn't arrive until the following week. I went on a business trip the second week, and I had to call and remind the service department that I was coming back to town on Friday and I wanted my Prius back. They did get it back to me, along with a $3019 bill.

    During the first week, the service advisor told me I needed to prove that I had taken good care of my Prius in order to have any chance of getting Toyota to help. I gave them copies of all my used oil analyses from the very start @1500 miles, and various other receipts. I heard nothing back until I picked up the vehicle more than a week later, then the guy said the records I'd given him were worthless - I had to provide oil purchase receipts, they were the only records that counted with the district rep. I went home, scrounged around and found more receipts and took pictures of my oil/filter backstock (27 bottles of Mobil 1 and two TRD oil filters). The oil boxes were dated early 2012, the last time I bought oil on sale. I scanned everything and dropped a CD off at the service department the Saturday after I got the vehicle back. Note that Burien Toyota has been the ONLY place I've had brake work done, and I haven't touched the brakes myself. That didn't seem to matter.

    MEANWHILE, I called the Toyota Customer Satisfaction (TCS) line that same Saturday seeking their help in this matter, but they told me they could do nothing since it appeared that the district rep was involved and his/her judgement was final in the matter. I questioned whether the district rep was involved at all, and the TCS rep said she'd call the dealership on Monday and find out.

    After some goading from the TCS rep and unanswered messages left on his phone, the service department manager finally contacted me last Wednesday morning (4/17). He told me the only thing that counts with the district rep was a formal/informal maintenance log, recording service at some # of miles. Receipts wouldn't carry much weight. He also said he was going to be talking to the district rep that day for the first time about my case (the service rep said they'd been talking to the district rep the prior week!), and he would call me as soon as some decision had been made. He also said that because I had picked up the vehicle, it would be more difficult to get some compensation. I hadn't heard that before!

    It's now Monday, 4/22, almost four weeks after I put my Prius in their shop, and the service manager hasn't called back. I expect I'll have to get TCS to prod him again into contacting me as promised last week. I've pretty much lost my faith in Burien Toyota, though I haven't had any further brake master cylinder problems. I do now have a nasty loud brake squeal coming from the driver side brakes when I brake while moving slowly, meaning that I probably have a contaminated brake pad from the brake bleed process after replacing the master cylinder.

    I'll post the epilog to this story in the next day or so when I finally speak to the service manager. My Prius is no longer a bulletproof vehicle, but a very expensive one to maintain, more like a BMW.
  2. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Messages:
    12,326
    Likes Received:
    1,929
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Man. That sucks. Pretty annoyed by the statement "the service advisor told me I needed to prove that I had taken good care of my Prius in order to have any chance of getting Toyota to help..." That shouldn't have anything to do w/the master cylinder failing.

    Let's just hope that Toyota latter issues a recall, LSC or SSC so that you can get reimbursed for this.
  3. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster HID Guru

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    Messages:
    3,925
    Likes Received:
    1,155
    Location:
    Rocky Mountains
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    srivenkat and JMD like this.
  4. JMD

    JMD 2012 Prius 4 Solar Roof

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    3,782
    Likes Received:
    1,265
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Four
    Ouch ! I have learned that our experiences define our Future. Perhaps the regional manager at Toyota won the battle but he lost the war. They may have lost part or all of the next 6-8 car purchases you will make in your lifetime. Now what is that worth Mr Toyota?

    That is the conversation you need to have.
    TheEnglishman likes this.
  5. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Messages:
    12,326
    Likes Received:
    1,929
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    ^^^
    Agreed. It's not like the car was 10 years old or w/150K+ miles.
    JMD likes this.
  6. NutzAboutBolts

    NutzAboutBolts Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2013
    Messages:
    312
    Likes Received:
    94
    Location:
    Bay Area
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Four
    Wow that sucks, how does proving that you have done your regular oil maintenance have to do anything with the brake master cylinder dying out at 50,000 miles? that's what I don't understand.
    I wouldn't agreed to pay 3,000$ on that part alone since the vehicle only has 50,000 miles on it and that there should be a warranty on defected parts.

    Please let us know whats going to happen next, Toyota should warranty any defects on their powertrain before certain mileages. This is unacceptable, I am sorry to hear about your situation, no one should have to go through this ridiculous fee on their Prius, that's my opinion.
    JMD likes this.
  7. NutzAboutBolts

    NutzAboutBolts Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2013
    Messages:
    312
    Likes Received:
    94
    Location:
    Bay Area
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Four


    I couldn't agree more on this.
    JMD likes this.
  8. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Messages:
    4,775
    Likes Received:
    1,587
    Location:
    Undisclosed Location
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2013 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    That's too bad.
    I hope ultimately Toyota steps up.

    It's ridiculous to put you through "proving" you've taken good care of your Prius. Especially when your brake master cylinder ABS unit is kind of a binary unit. It's either going to work or not work, doesn't have anything at all to do with how often you changed your oil.

    My argument would be that at only 50K, you have the reasonable expectation that the master brake cylinder/ABS unit would not fail. How about Toyota "prove" the part originally put in your vehicle wasn't incredibly sub-standard?

    Unless Toyota wants to say 50K is the "normal" life expectancy for that part, (which I don't think they do want to say) then I'd say you got a lemon of a brake cylinder.

    I'm usually behind the manufacturer when people complain about not getting remedy after a warranty has expired, but in this case, at only 50K, I really hope Toyota steps up to the plate and does the right thing.

    Good Luck.
  9. El Dobro

    El Dobro A Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Messages:
    4,037
    Likes Received:
    1,172
    Location:
    NJ
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    File a report with the NHTSA and let Toyota know you did.
  10. wick1ert

    wick1ert Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,316
    Likes Received:
    178
    Location:
    Delawhere
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III


    My local dealership told me there's 3 main warehouses for Toyota (I asked bc my car is getting $8k+ worth of work done from my car accident on Friday). I believe she said New York, Detroit, and California. It could just be that your part happened to be in the Detroit one. Sorry to hear about the highly expensive and unusual repair item.
  11. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2005
    Messages:
    4,070
    Likes Received:
    649
    Location:
    Eastern Oregon
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    V
    To the OP, I think you did what you had to do to get your car back running and safe, I probably would have done the same. I am not surprised at Toyota's reaction, seems rather typical of how they sometimes treat their customers.

    A few items that may be irrelevant to the OP at this point.

    This parts site lists the master cylinder for $1727 and shows Toyota's list price as $2318 47050-47060 - OEM Toyota CYLINDER ASSY, BRAKE so the dealer may have overcharged $400 or so for the part. But they can no doubt "justify" the extra cost.

    Apparently the reason for the exorbitant cost is that the master cylinder unit also contains part of the ABS unit and is not repairable. I also suspect this is not a DIY project because it probably requires Tech Stream for bleeding the system.

    I realize it's apples and oranges but an OEM master cylinder for a 3 series BMW of the same year costs between $600 and $700 and can be installed by a back yard mechanic.
    JMD likes this.
  12. JMD

    JMD 2012 Prius 4 Solar Roof

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    3,782
    Likes Received:
    1,265
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Four
    Let us know how this ends up.

    I can say that for many people a $3,000 unexpected bill is a lot of money to repair a car. Chances are you probably charged it, and may take 2 1/2 years to pay that off. Or perhaps you took it from savings and are replacing it, maybe you just hosed up the Family vacation this summer, or perhaps the engagement ring plan got delayed a few months, or juniors college fund got skinnier this year, or many other scenarios.

    I would continue to press on for some type of relief from Toyota corporate, and I'm sure that based on what happens you will think seriously about buying another Prius!
    Merkey likes this.
  13. NutzAboutBolts

    NutzAboutBolts Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2013
    Messages:
    312
    Likes Received:
    94
    Location:
    Bay Area
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Four


    Touché on thinking of buying another Prius if the bill isn't covered.
    JMD likes this.
  14. kithmo

    kithmo Couch Potato

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    428
    Likes Received:
    54
    Location:
    South Yorkshire, UK
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius+ MPV
    The regularity of the engine oil change has nothing to do with the brake master cylinder but I think the question the dealer rep is going to ask is, was the brake fluid changed every 20k miles as in the service schedule.
  15. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    Messages:
    4,589
    Likes Received:
    804
    Location:
    Greater Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius


    Huh? It is?

    Good idea, but I don't recall seeing any mention of brake fluid in US or Canada schedules. In UK?
    Silver bullit and Merkey like this.
  16. pjksr02

    pjksr02 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Messages:
    257
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    What will they say, that we should have been replacing out brake fluid!?
  17. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster HID Guru

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    Messages:
    3,925
    Likes Received:
    1,155
    Location:
    Rocky Mountains
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    Three


    I think it is more of a "how much is this customer worth to us" attitude. If you go to the Toyota dealership for everything, they hardly bat an eye at giving you 50% or more off of a repair because you are a loyal customer and pay for service. And while you are there getting your $80 cabin filter, you are potentially being wooed by new Toyotas. If you do everything yourself, then other than the purchase of the vehicle, where's the profit?

    Toyota is not obligated to give you anything past warranty. If it fails 1/10 mile out of warranty or the following hour after warranty, they can give you nothing. Generally they do something, especially when the failure rates are low and the car is new just to keep word of mouth advertising positive for the brand. But they are more likely to give you more, if you are a "loyal" customer and come back all the time, they are more likely to give you more brownie points.

    Just like loyalty points on airlines or sandwiches or anything else. The more you pay, and the more you play, the more valuable you are to the company.
  18. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    Messages:
    4,589
    Likes Received:
    804
    Location:
    Greater Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    ^ Cynical, and unfortunately: very likely true.

    There are companies that buck the trend. I've heard of stores refunding people that walked off the street with one of their products on the fritz, replacing it even though it was bought elsewhere. That really get's your attention, and loyalty.

    Likely just as mercenary, but...
  19. kithmo

    kithmo Couch Potato

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    428
    Likes Received:
    54
    Location:
    South Yorkshire, UK
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius+ MPV


    Apologies, it doesn't actually mention mileage, but in the UK schedule it says replace every two years. I'd got 20K miles in my head because the service schedule is every 12 months or 10K.
  20. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    Messages:
    4,589
    Likes Received:
    804
    Location:
    Greater Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2010 Prius
    FWIW, Honda says 3 year (no matter the mileage), for Canada and probably the US I'd think. With the Prius and it's electronic this is one I'd ask the dealership to do, personally.
Similar Threads: $3000 Brake
Forum Title Date
Prius c Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting 2005 Prius Brake Job Yesterday at 5:50 PM
Gen III 2010+ Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubles Three brake warning lights came on at once Monday at 1:48 PM
Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting ABS/VSC/Brake Light Question Sunday at 3:10 PM
Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting 2004 Prius brake lights, are the LEDs changeable or not? And compatibility with later 2Gen lights. Saturday at 7:45 PM
Gen III 2010+ Prius Accessories and Modifications brake caliper paint Friday at 8:26 PM