2008 Prius lights/dash/brakes

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by alex rodriguez, May 31, 2016.

  1. alex rodriguez

    alex rodriguez Junior Member

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    This morning I started my car and the brake, (!), ABS, and VSC lights came and stayed on. I tried backing up but realized my brakes were not slowing the Prius down I had to press the break down really hard for it to get a small reaction. Quickly after I hit the Park button then went back into drive and parked it again.

    About two-three weeks ago (May 14) I went on a 50 mile round trip to a mall and on my way back on the freeway I smelled a funny smell coming from my A/C like a dirty mop water smell. After about 30 seconds after that my entire dashboard lit up (this was a Saturday night). I went to AUTOZONE the following morning and they gave me a code P0A93 which says its the Inverter cooling system performance. The next day Monday I went to the car started it and all the lights went away and it seemed to be performing as normal as it usually does.

    What I described has also happened in late February (first time it happened) on a Sunday driving back from out of town but when I got home after unpacking they went away so i figured it was some 12v battery acting up from what I've read.
    But i did check my 12v battery on the diagnostic mode where you flip the headlights twice and its running at 12v but around 11v with lights on.

    Should I fork up the 110$ and take it in for a diagnostic fee at the nearest Toyota dealer ship. Or should i visit auto zone and see if it gives me the same code again?

    Thank you for the responses and help I greatly appreciate it. :)
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    probably start with a new 12 volt. did you have the inverter pump recall done?
     
  3. alex rodriguez

    alex rodriguez Junior Member

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    I bought this car from the dealer 3 years ago. Is there a website to check to see if recalls have been done with your vehicle. I called the dealer and asked and he said mine did have it done. But I'm weary of dealers since they always want to sell you everything they can. I also check to see if the pump was buzzing and moving and the liquid coolant in the reservoir was moving when car was on. My coolant in the reservoir seems to be close at or below the low but i can't really tell with the shape of the reservoir it seems to look like two parts put together blocking clear view of the full and low lines.
     
  4. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    The coolant pumps lasts for about 100k miles, so if it was done a while back, it could fail after 100k miles.

    As for your brake problem this morning...it may be a failed brake actuator, which has an extended warranty. If this is the failure, it would be covered for free
     
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  5. alex rodriguez

    alex rodriguez Junior Member

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    They said it was switched in 2013 which wasn't long ago and i only have 128k miles so i couldn't have put on 100k in that short of time. I will check out the brake act
     
  6. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    You haven't said what the millage is on this vehicle, but if you are near 100,000 miles, you will need to have the inverter coolant drained and filled.

    The easiest way to get a good look at inverter coolant level is to shine a flashlight from one side while looking at the other, or take the lid off the inverter coolant reservoir and shine your flashlight down the opening while looking at the side. If your coolant level is truly low, you should top it up with Toyota SLLC (super long life coolant) immediately. In addition, if it is low, you should inspect, or have inspected the whole coolant loop to check for leaks. The coolant level should not get low ever, so if it is, there must be a reason.

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. alex rodriguez

    alex rodriguez Junior Member

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    i took it in today and it was the brake actuator and was quoted at 2,400$ but Toyota is covering it all due to the recall
     
  8. JadePrius

    JadePrius New Member

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    I'm having a similar issue. I had an event occur back in July where my oil was nearly completely dry, but did not have a maintenance light come on until that day I discovered it. Added oil, then after a couple of months, changed the oil. Then everything seemed ok for a bit. Around a month or so later (October), I found that there was a leak in the "trunk" area but couldn't seem to find where it was coming from. I didn't see where it was more than just an annoyance. That is, until a few weeks ago. The car completely died on me while I was at school (I'm a grad student). A family member was able to give me a charge and I got it home. Some of the dashboard lights came on after a few days of driving it (it seemed ok to drive). Then I was afraid to drive it. Then I found some youtube videos about the 12V battery, and so changed the battery out. When I did, I found that the battery was sitting in about 3 inches of water! So, I sopped the water out, found some more youtube videos about water leaks that can develop because of the hatchback door not being made properly and "splaying out" over time at the top corners, causing water to leak into the hatchback ("trunk") area when it rains. Since my car was sitting on the side of a hill (how the parking lot is built), the water drained into the well that housed the 12V battery. So, I got some flex seal and fixed the water leak and replaced the 12V battery with a new one (same type). Then after the 12V was replaced, all the dashboard lights came on. After a time they went off and I drove the car across town for classes. But after 30 minutes of driving in traffic, the lights all came back on right before pulling into the parking lot where I live. When I checked under the hood, the only thing I could find amiss was that the engine seemed unduly hot. That could've been just me, though, searching for something wrong. I've checked all the fluids except the oil. I also tried to turn off the maintenance required light, but it wouldn't turn off. When I checked the engine oil, I found that it was nearly gone again! So I filled it up. (I will get it changed again very soon - as soon as I get the dashboard light thing fixed.) However, all the lights still haven't gone off. I've not driven it but have checked it out every couple of days or so. About a week ago, I moved the car a few feet across the parking lot then backed it back into the parking spot (I've been keeping the car nose out in the parking space so that if when it rains and water gets in, at least it will drain into the well opposite of the battery.) I've checked the battery, the battery hookup, etc, and all seem ok. I found another youtube video with directions on how to reset dashboard lights by unhooking and rehooking up the white plastic thingie that attaches to the battery cable. That didn't work for me. I checked the fuse on the brake part of the cable, but that just made more lights come on (the red triangle with a ! inside it and a red car instead of a green one on the status indicator for the car). Those did finally turn off. But the dash lights (Brake, ABS, VSC, low tires, and maintenance required, etc) all are still on and I have no idea why or how to turn them off. Please help. I really need my car to get to school and back. I'm about to lose the relative's car I've been using because they are about to start back to their school and will need their car. Any advice, ideas, or any kind of help will be appreciated.

    BTW, to the original poster.... glad you got your problem(s) fixed. I didn't realize there were any recalls made on the 2008 prius. My dealership didn't tell me of any when I purchased the car (very used) or when I got them to check it out after I bought it (d/t funny shakes and shimmies it was making when stopped).
     
    #8 JadePrius, Jan 25, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  9. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Your 2008 should not be covered, it's out of the extended warranty period
     
  10. JadePrius

    JadePrius New Member

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    Thanks for the heads up. I'm going to talk to the dealership and see what they say about any recalls.
     
  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    that is a long laundry list for a poor grad student.

    unfortunately, your car is either leaking or more likely burning oil. you need to check the level every day!

    the water is not a big issue, and usually comes in through cracks in the rain gutter, beneath the plastic molding strip.

    the dash lights mean trouble codes. they need to be read by a dealer or hybrid specialty shop, and then addressed as necessary.

    unfortunately, a 15 year old prius is not likely to be reliable, especially if not well maintained.

    how many miles on her?
     
  12. JadePrius

    JadePrius New Member

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    I appreciate your comment, Bisco. However, I'm not exactly a newbie at cars. I used to change the oil myself on the cars I've previously owned. I have done a few repairs on my cars as well. In fact about a year and a half after I purchased this car I had to change out the fan for the ac and did it without any issues.

    I only don't know a lot about the prius because it is the first of its kind that I've ever owned. I'm not used to dealing with electric motors, only gasoline ones. Also, my prius is not 15 years old. It's 11 years old. It has gotten regularly maintained since I've bought it up until this past summer when I noticed the oil leak. Like I said, I drove it to Nashville, TN and back to central Texas pretty much without a hitch. The water leak was indeed a pretty serious one since it shorted out my 12v battery, but like I said before, the water leak has been resolved. I've already stated the miles on the car in my original posting.

    As far as the oil issue goes, I will keep pouring oil into it until the cows come home if need be. And I do check the level often now since I've had a second incidence of no oil in the car.

    The problem that I'm having the most issue with currently is regarding the dashboard lights. I cannot make them turn off no matter what I do. I have checked codes with the OBD2 scanner and no codes popped up. I know that there is a more expensive scanner that I can try, but for only one or two uses, I'm not sure that forking out $150 for a scanner is worth it. I'd like to NOT go to the dealership or hybrid specialty shop since they will charge me an arm and a leg for something I may be able to do myself. But if it does turn out to be the best thing, then I will do it.

    If anyone can give me any insight at all about those lights - why they are on and how I can turn them off, I'd really appreciate it. Would it be related to the 12V battery I just installed, the inverter cooling system, possible low inverter fluid or possible low coolant, a short in the electric system, or something else?

    I've not had any issues with my brakes at all (other than they squeal sometimes - have done that even when new), so I don't think it is the brakes.

    When the lights came back on the other day (I mentioned this in my first post), I checked the engine and it did seem a bit hot to me - more than it should be since I'd only been driving it for 30 minutes or so. Because I'm partially suspecting the coolant system not cooling and therefore tripping the dashboard lights into coming on, I tried to check the coolant today (I missed that one the other day because the engine was hot), but could not tell if anything was in the reservoir or not. It's not exactly the easiest to read the level on the side of the reservoir.

    I've also read elsewhere that the inverter fluid may be low. I checked that again. It really is hard to read the level considering that the reservoir for it is in two parts and they are sealed right at the level where you'd need to read it on the outside. Not a good design if you ask me. Even so, I did manage to find that the level is just below full and the fluid does flow when the engine is on. So if the inverter fluid is the reason for the dashlights all coming on, I'm not sure why.

    Again, thanks for comments. However, if anyone can provide a more detailed diagnosis, advice, or prognosis, I'd be super grateful.
     
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  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    start with a copy of tech stream diagnostic software and a compatible laptop. read up on it in various threads here.
    that and a two day rental of the service manual at tech info.toyota.com will tell you everything thing you need to know.
    all the best!(y)
     
  14. JadePrius

    JadePrius New Member

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    Thanks! Will try to do that asap.

    Update on car:
    Checked all fluids. Radiator was also nearly dry. Had forgot to check it earlier. Relilled it with the 50/50 pink stuff per the TOM (Toyota 2008 Prius Owner Manual - downloaded from the Toyota website). Checked oil. Ok but slightly overfull. Need an oil change as oil is a little dark. Need the filter changed too. Gonna get it done this time rather than do it myself. (It's incredibly hard to find a place to do the oil change if you don't own your own home. Even the WM parking lots look a bit sketchy to try it out on. I rent an apartment and the lease doesn't allow me to work on my car on their parking lot. I did it once over the summer but don't relish the thought of doing it again - that time it was a desperate "move".) Checked inverter fluid. A little low. Added to just under Full. Also used the same 50/50 pink stuff as per the TOM.

    Drove the car about a half mile to AutoZone and got car scanned for OBD 2 codes. They found none. Note on driving car: at first it was a bit sluggish, but after initial driving, it seemed to drive ok. Drove again on a 3 mile round trip and again seemed to drive ok. But kept mph to max of around 30. Relative scanned car again this morning with a more detailed code scanner. Nothing. All seemed good.

    Dashboard lights still lit up (brake, oil pressure {? looks like this => an O with an ! inside and surrounded by () }, ABS, VSC, tire pressure, maintenance required). Oddly enough, no check engine light is on. Could this mean that there's an electronic glitch somewhere and I just need someone to turn the lights off?

    I'm thinking that's the case with the gas level indicator. For the past year or more, if the tank goes below half, the indicator won't show it until the car is nearly empty. Also, it was behaving oddly after I disconnected and reconnected the 12V battery (in an effort to turn off the array of dashboard lights) in that it showed that my tank was empty yet I knew I had at least a 1/2 to 3/4 tank of gas. But just to be on the safe side, I went and bought a new gas container (they've gone UP in price!!), filled it with gas, then added the gas to my car before I attempted to drive it to AutoZone. When I drove the car a little bit, the gas indicator then showed my tank as completely full.

    Tire Pressure light is on because the tires probably are actually a little low in pressure, That symbol/light comes on every time we have a cold front. Then I have to air up my tires a little bit - is a bit of a pain to do so often (either the sensors are really sensitive or there is a slow leak in all my tires - hopefully NOT the latter!). Lately, we've had the cold fronts on a weekly basis if not more often. Plus I've been sick and busy with school and haven't gotten to it yet.

    Maintenance Required light is probably on because I need to change the oil, especially since no codes are coming up otherwise.

    I'm keeping an eye on the inverter fluid because it seemed a little lower than I noticed it to be a few months ago when I checked it last (sometime in Oct 2018)

    Yesterday, I read some of the other posts regarding Priuses burning oil. That was disheartening. I was about to agree with the guy who thought he'd found a solution as to why it happens, but then his explanation didn't take into account all the different variabilities such as when driving begins - before or after the engine starts, etc. Unfortunately, I think mine is probably on the fast track now with all the other stuff that's happened since the first event of little to no oil being found. However, I have no idea about the catalytic converter health - except that the code reader said that "catalytic" was "ok" when the car was scanned this morning.
     
  15. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    The (O) + ! is the brake system warning light. All the symbols are detailed in the owner's manual.
    Prius Gen 2 Symbols 1.png Prius Gen 2 Symbols 2.png Prius Gen 2 Symbols 3.png

    The fact you have these light on means there are DTCs set. The code readers you have used are just not able to read the ECUs that set them.
    Your readers can read the ECU to which this light relates. No codes so light.
    No, your code readers are just not able to read all the car's ECUs.
    It is not that odd. When you disconnect power, the gauge sets to a default value until it can recalibrate. You noticed this recalibration making the comment that when you "drove the car a little bit, the gas indicator then showed my tank as completely full."
    Easily fixed. Use the information in the owner's manual to reset the the TPMS once you have aired up the tires to the correct pressures. After that, If you are still getting that light coming on because of low pressure, it is most likely you have a leaks.
    This is a miles based light and it come on every 5000 miles. Do the oil change and reset as per the owner's manual.
     
  16. JadePrius

    JadePrius New Member

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    Thanks for the info, Dolj. I really appreciate it. So, I don't have a code reader that can read the DTC codes that my car apparently has because the dashboard lights I listed are on? Also, that OM is 512 pages long. Where do I look for the info you're referring to?

    Questions to Dolj and anyone else:
    Would it be worth it to take it in to the dealership to get them read? Why are they all on at the same time? Has that not happened to anyone else on here before? What did you do about it?
     
  17. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    In the copy I have they are on pages 6, 7 and 8. (SECTION 1– 1 –> FEATURES ON NEW TOYOTA VEHICLE –> Overview of instruments and controls.)
    Yes, if you want to know what is wrong with your car, rather than just guess. But it doesn't have to be the dealer, It could be an auto-parts store that offers that (usually free) service, or an independent garage. The second two options are qualified with, "as long as their code readers can read all of the car's ECUs."
    Because some errors affect more than one system, so the system with the error, notifies other affected systems, usually because the other systems might have to modify what they do until the main error is fixed.
    Hundreds, if not thousands of times. However, the only thing a light for a system tells you is that particular system has a problem that it would like to share with you. There are hundreds of possibilities, so a particular set of lights doesn't tell you anything more than, "I have a problem." In your case you have ((!)), VSC and ABS, so you could read, "I have a brake problem, of some kind." It might be serious, or it might be minor, but you won't know which till you ask the car.
    As you can see from above, it really depends on what codes were present.
     
    #17 dolj, Jan 30, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
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