Inverter failure

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by RWatters, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    I had inverter failure OUTSIDE of warranty at 74,000 (or something like that) miles. The UK warranty on early gen3 Prii is only 60,000 miles. But as the car had a full Toyota service history Toyota UK picked up the cost of the inverter and diagnostics and I had to pay the fitting costs.

    Makes you wonder if Toyota UK know something about the gen3 model? Why else was the warranty reduced from 8 years/100,000 miles on the gen2 to 3 years/60,000 miles on the early gen3's? I think I know the answer - costs have been cut of parts and reliability is suffering.

    Since my inverter failure 6 months ago I have had ANOTHER breakdown in my car last week. I am now only at 77,100 miles. This does not bode well for a reliable future! Oh and my a/c has packed up and isn't a re-gas, so will be an expensive fix outside of warranty and thus it will remain broken for the foreseeable.

    Not impressed with the Prius at all for reliability. I must have 'sold' the Toyota hybrid idea to many potential customers in my time as a taxi driver and now the car has turned round and bitten me on the arse!

    (I am no longer running the car as a cab)
     
  2. RWatters

    RWatters Junior Member

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    Figured I'd give an update:

    The Toyota dealership confirmed it was covered until the factory warranty. We already knew that though, so moving on.

    I have received zero updates from Toyota since they explained what the issue is. It's now been three weeks and I can't even get a returned phone call. When I went in they threw me a huge line about having to fly in engineers from Japan. Why would you tell me you ordered a part only to then fly in people from Japan when the part you ordered hasn't even arrived yet!? I understand there's a Toyota Engineering process for strange issues but it doesn't fit with the timeline they've given me even remotely. A friend of mine is a Toyota MST in another state and when I explained their remarks to him his BS-radar started picking up a blip as well. It helps that he checked the service remarks and there is nothing mentioned about those engineers.

    I'm pretty upset to say the least, but I'm remaining patient. The lack of communication will be addressed once the car is back in our possession. I don't want any drama before it's even done.
     
  3. Former Member 68813

    Former Member 68813 Senior Member

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    Did they give you a loaner for all that time?
     
  4. RWatters

    RWatters Junior Member

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    Yes we have a loaner, for which I'm very grateful. I'm not a fan of the car (2013 Toyota Matrix) but any loaner is better than no loaner right? ;)

    If it takes 6 months to fix the thing I am okay with that. I just wish they'd let me know something every once in a while.
     
  5. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    3 weeks for an inverter? Mine arrived within a couple days, a couple more days to be fitted and all done and sorted within a week. According to Toyota UK they keep a number of inverters in stock in case of failure.
     
  6. RWatters

    RWatters Junior Member

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    I left a voicemail with them last night and got a call back this morning saying the car was ready. They put a good amount of mileage on it (over 200) trying to get it to act up again and it hasn't so I'm pretty confident our days of being stuck on the side of the road are over.
     
  7. kbeck

    kbeck Active Member

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    Ha. If they flew in an engineer, for real, then it was probably a really unusual inverter fail. Or a fault mode that they're tracking. Or they put in an new inverter which promptly blew itself to smithereens. Which would also count as a unusual fail. Six months is a very long time for a repair, given that there's reports on and off about both the occasional inverter and transaxle/motor fail, and there seems to have been little problem with the dealership swapping out both as necessary.

    If they've had your car for six months and they're not talking, maybe it's time to spend a couple hundred on a lawyer with a demand letter. Does your state have lemon laws?

    KBeck
     
  8. Ct. Ken V

    Ct. Ken V Active Member

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    KBeck,

    RWattters' dealer did NOT have his car for 6 months (he just said that if it took that long to fix, he would be O.K. with that as long as there was some dialogue with the dealer---I wouldn't be however). In his original post dated July 17th this year, he said the problem happened the week before that. In his post # 22 from yesterday he said the dealer has had the car for 3 weeks, then in his post # 26 he said he got a call from the dealer this morning (August 6th) that his car is fixed & ready to pick up.

    Ken (in Bolton,Ct)
     
  9. RWatters

    RWatters Junior Member

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    Yeah, what he said. :LOL:
     
  10. RWatters

    RWatters Junior Member

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    Gas mileage has improved 3mpg with the new inverter so far. I thought our car wasn't getting as good of gas mileage as it could considering how hard we were trying and this confirmed it. It's now showing an indicated 50-51mpg and we're not even trying. Before we would practice quite a few of the fuel-saving techniques and struggle to go over an indicated 47-48 (even lower if I was in "Screw it" driving mode).

    Since it's struggled with fuel economy since we bought the car in April of this year I'm guessing the inverter has been in trouble for a while.
     
  11. Mr.Electric

    Mr.Electric Member

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    They probably had a hard time finding the cause of your issue. Toyota calls in the engineers when replacing parts doesn't fix the problem. I bet they installed a new inverter and the problem was not solved. The real issue was found later.
     
  12. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    But there are now 2 inverter failures documented here - me and the op. It was unheard of for the gen2 inverter to fail but the gen3 seems to have a few reported and the car has only been out for 4 years.
     
  13. Flying White Dutchman

    Flying White Dutchman Senior Member

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    i always here how this is really never happens
    you can google for several messages where it happend or the battery and its always never happend before ;-)

    then again form the 4.000.000 hybridds sold by toyota some will have to fail sooner then expected and then it still wil be a really low%.

    you where unlucky but lucky you fgot the warranty still
     
  14. Mr.Electric

    Mr.Electric Member

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    Everything fails eventually. Especially when used as a taxi. Gen 1,2 and 3 Prius included.
    I repaired vehicles used for pizza delivery for a couple years. Everything failed more regularly than the privately owned versions of the same vehicle with similar mileage.
    Taxi fleets, delivery fleets and rental fleets will spend significant money on vehicle repairs no matter what. Some business owners are able to make it work and run a profitable business. Others seem to act like it is a cruel twist of fate when their fleet vehicle needs expensive repair.
    Many auto makers have a modified warranty for rental or fleet vehicles. A shorter warranty. I can see why. Automakers could loose thousands on each vehicle trying to keep it running for the warranty period while the driver beats it into the ground and drives it like he stole it for 20 hours a day.
     
  15. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    It's not worth bothering even discussing it.

    You could also say that a taxi covers 4 x the miles of a normal car so issues will occur 4 times quicker.

    Good luck with yours in a couple years ;)
     
  16. Mr.Electric

    Mr.Electric Member

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    I sold my 68' jaguar daily driver a few years ago and never looked back. I don't think I will be disappointed with the Prius reliability or fuel economy in a few years.
    My point is : if you are not satisfied with Prius in terms of operating costs what car will meet your expectations?
     
  17. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    And my point was those legendary operating costs are NOT as low here or at least for me. The sums did add up originally but they certainly didn't later on.

    What car would have met my expectations? Difficult call as one never knows how a car will be at the start. In future I'd say a more traditional car which can be had for much less than a Prius. We have a selection of diesels here that almost get the same economy for a similar sized vehicle, but they cost less to buy, cost less to service and importantly can be serviced and diagnosed in any garage. A Prius (at least outside of California it appears) can only be serviced and diagnosed at expensive dealers as other garages just don't have the experience.

    I remember the old argument in favour of hybrids was that diesels now have such expensive emission control systems that fail regularly and thus the extra expense of a Prius was viable. The Prius turned out to have cost similar in other expensive failures (inverters, batteries, steering motors), thus it not living up to my expectations.
    We pay over $8 a US gallon. Why are sales of the Prius less than 5,000 a year out of 1 million car sales a year? And why are those sales falling? It isn't because we're better off over here that's for sure. We have much more choice for economical cars and the expensive (in many ways) Prius isn't worth the trouble (in many ways :) ).
     
  18. Mr.Electric

    Mr.Electric Member

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    Nobody will argue against switching to diesel.
    I don't think I would buy a rare expensive car even from toyota. I remember the stories of highly reliable Mercedes diesel taxis abroad. Those stories never came true here in the us. Nobody would drive a Mercedes diesel as a taxi here.
     
  19. Flying White Dutchman

    Flying White Dutchman Senior Member

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    i am against switching to diesel.
     
  20. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    I am too - to a point. But the switch to hybrid (better for the air - I'm asthmatic) just isn't viable here in the UK or Europe without some form of subsidy OR a lowering of price by Toyota. Why should the hybrid version always have a top spec with a price to match?

    My questions to the motor industry;

    Why are hybrids always top specced and priced so highly?

    Why are EV's limited to a 100 mile range (when Tesla can quite happily manage 200-300)?
     
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