Car won't start after overheating

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by Jesse Elledge, Nov 18, 2020.

  1. Jesse Elledge

    Jesse Elledge Junior Member

    Jun 27, 2017
    Barstow, CA
    2003 Prius
    I had a coolant leak from the thermostat housing so I would just top off every now and then. I forgot to do that when I went 40 miles out of town. On my way back home, I got the overheating light so I just drove it slow all the way home. I just barely got home when the triangle of death came on and the car shut off. I let it cool off over night and then tried to start it. It started but would not drive. And the check engine would come on after we cleared the code. We tried to repeat clearing the code but the engine would not start like it did the first time we turned the ignition. It seems like a battery issue so we charged it over night. The battery is only holding 12.3 v. We had the battery load tested and they said that it should be fine but it is only at 66%.

    After, we tried to start it again and it almost turned over. Then every subsequent attempt to turn the ignition the engine would turn less and less.. which would seem to indicate that it's a battery issue. But I have no idea really and the code doesn't give me much. P3191 Engine does not start.

    Anyone have any leads on what this could be or where I should start?
  2. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

    May 14, 2012
    Wellington, New Zealand
    2007 Prius
    Sorry to hear that sad tail by you probably have done extensive damage to at least the cylinder head and/or the head gasket and/or the engine block. Most likely the engine is seized. If this is the case there is a replacement engine is in your future or maybe the economics will just write the car off.

    If only you attended to the leaking thermostat housing – a stitch in time and all that.

    For the future, if you ever find yourself in the same situation and have the over-temperature warning come on, STOP THE CAR IMMEDIATELY and wait for it to cool down if you want to have any chance of avoiding doing serious damage to the engine. Even then it can be too late for an aluminium cylinder head. Also, whatever you do, do NOT pour cold coolant into a hot radiator

    Sorry, but there is no good news here.
    Josey likes this.