2006 Prius - Maybe inverter? My mechanic said he can't help me!

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by SusanR, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. SusanR

    SusanR New Member

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    I was driving on the freeway last night in cruise control, set at 70mph. I passed someone and went up to 85mph. When I came back down in speed there was a feeling of the push of cruise control but it felt more jerky. Then I felt it again so I turned off the cruise control. The car started doing a push/pull like the sensation of cruise control doing its thing but more severe. I got off the freeway. The car really seemed to be acting up in that it seemed to speed up when my foot was not on the gas and then jerk to a slower speed. I pulled over and turned the car off (and talked to it for a few minutes.) I kept driving it for 15 more miles trying to make it home. It jerked intermittently the rest of the way. When I finally came to a stop light there was a sensation of the car dying when you don't have the clutch in all the way (automatic) but the car didn't die. It went into silent battery mode and then drove again when the light turned green. I called my mechanic this morning and he said it was ok to drive it in. The car drove normally for the first five miles. There was not a sign anything was wrong. I was on the freeway going 60. Then it started doing the push/pull thing again. At the stop light it had the same feeling of the the car dying when you don't put the clutch in but it's not dying. SO...my mechanic just called me and said he drove it and it drove fine. He did an oil change. He said when he listened under the hood there was a whirling sound?? Then he explained in a bunch of mechanic talk that I didn't understand. He told me no error codes came up and he can't see anything wrong with it. Everything seems to check out. He told me I will have to drive it until it breaks. WHAT? Then he said it might be the inverter which will cost around $7K-$10K and I will have to take it to a dealer. This guy has been my mechanic (and my entire families) for 12 years. He's never worked on my Prius because I've never had any problems, only my Jetta. The car has about 77K miles. I've had it for 7 years and have only done oil changes, 30K mile service and new tires. Should I be worried about driving it? Should I wait until it breaks? Should I take it to the dealer? I am scared to take it to the dealer!
     
  2. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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    Welcome to PriusChat!!

    Likely this mechanic doesn't have a toyota hybrid compatible OBD2 code scanner. Were there any 'warning lights' displayed on the dash?

    It sounds like the inverter coolant pump could be acting up, was it ever replaced? you can check for dealer related maintenance or recalls by running the VIN at : Welcome to Toyota Owners

    Not sure I would drive it around given the known issues, do you have free towing or a plan B if it leaves you stranded on the side of the road?

    Where in the Seattle metroplex are you located, as @PriusCamper would likely read the OBD2 codes for you (if they're present or stored).
     
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  3. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Welcome. Sorry about your breakdown.

    Yup, it sounds like something broke and your mechanic just doesn't have a Prius literate code reader.

    One guess that comes to mind is the inverter pump as @SFO pointed out. The whirring sound he heard could be the brake pump or the inverter pump or the air conditioner, or ???. Probably normal.

    Another guess that pops into my mind is some sort of fuel delivery problem causing it to starve at high speed but not at low speed. But I would expect a check engine light and codes that even a non prius reader would find.

    The only way to find out without spending a million dollars on parts guessing is to take it to a place that can talk to all of the computers in your car.
     
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  4. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Maybe you can have your mechanic check the air filter and possibly clean the MAF sensor and throttle body. At such low mileage (low for these type of cars), I would only look into problem areas where a car isn't driven much can produce. Maybe the gas is bad or it's low on gas? Maybe try topping off the tank with some super unleaded and see what happens.
     
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  5. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    On a side note, @SusanR, if you reply by clicking on "Start a Conversation, no one else can see that reply. Use the "Write your reply" field at the bottom of the thread so others know what's going on. (Unless you actually want a private conversation.)
     
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  6. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    I would take it to a dealer and spend an hour of diagnostic labor. Just don't ok their laundry list if they generate one. Ask for detailed codes and pricing if needed. Or find a hybrid specific shop of which I am sure there are several with good ratings in Seattle. In most cases an inverter failure would stop the car and light up the dash like a Christmas tree. Its more likely to be something else but if it were an inverter the price would be 1/3 or less than your guy's estimate, with used parts also viable and even less expensive. A bad spark coil can act just as bad.
     
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  7. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Don't use the reply button. Write your reply in this box. Then post reply. Otherwise, you'll never get those four posts.

    Untitled.jpg
     
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  8. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    No check engine light or red triangle?
     
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  9. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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    Just "The Maintenance Required light was on.", or so I was told via PM.
     
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  10. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Did the 'cruise' control indicator light blink at all?
     
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  11. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    I got that email, too. I've even sent her a picture showing how to reply normally, but she still can't get it figured out.
     
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  12. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    @Tideland Prius, can you offer any help to @SusanR? She keeps emailing me asking for help posting to her own thread and none of my advice seems to help. Thanks!

    I sent her a picture of the reply field at the bottom of this thread, but it seems that she still got the error.
     
  13. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    You can ask her to try again. I've made some minor changes.
     
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  14. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Thanks!
     
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