Master warning light came on, also the car with exclamation point in it

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by Laura Skovlin, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. Laura Skovlin

    Laura Skovlin Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2014
    17
    2
    0
    Location:
    northeast Oregon
    Vehicle:
    2002 Prius
    Model:
    I
    Recently bought a 02 with 34 K, had been well maintained. Last night it wouldn't start so hubby jumped it (properly). Started right away, making him think that wasn't what it needed. Right after that, the Master Warning light came on, the Car with Exclamation Point in it (hybrid system warning light) and the check engine light. The car runs, but it did die, and I had to restart the car, then seemed to drive fine. We don't live near a Toyota dealer, would a regular mechanic be able to read the codes properly? What else should we consider? Should we drive the car?
     
  2. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    5,131
    1,314
    0
    Location:
    Wilmington, NC
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    If you can and the car runs OK it is probably OK to drive it a short distance.

    As to a regular mechanic's ability to read the code it will depend on whether he has a Prius specific code reader.

    It sounds like you may have a weak 12V battery. If you can hook up a battery charger and try charging the battery. A weak 12V battery will cause all kinds of random things to happen including generating false fault codes and indicating lights.
     
  3. Laura Skovlin

    Laura Skovlin Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2014
    17
    2
    0
    Location:
    northeast Oregon
    Vehicle:
    2002 Prius
    Model:
    I
    thanks for your thoughts. here is another thing.... hubby went out to check the voltage/charge the battery, it read 18V and he thought that was high --????
    also, there was a bag of wheel lug nuts sitting near the battery terminals and after he moved them out of the way, the warning lights went off. Could this have anything to do with the problem?
    he's going to try another voltage meter, just to doublecheck.....
     
  4. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    5,131
    1,314
    0
    Location:
    Wilmington, NC
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    Yes, the 18V is way too high. The reading with the car off should be in the 12V neighborhood. If it is below 12V then the battery is discharged and needs a charging. You want to see 12.5+V for a reasonably charged battery. With the car in Ready mode the charging system will raise the voltage to the 14.0V range.

    If he charges the battery and then checks the voltage again in a few days and it is back below 12V then you need to look at replacing the battery.

    The battery is charged by the Inverter unit. I have not heard of this but if the wheel lug nuts were making contact with the positive battery terminals it could cause a Ground Fault alarm.
     
  5. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2004
    4,357
    3,157
    1
    Location:
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Usually the terminals are high enough that the lug nuts could not touch them, but who knows for sure.

    Good idea to double check the voltmeter. Was it really 18v? That is way too high.

    Definitely get the code read if you can. Many auto parts stores will do this for free.
    I would also have the 12v battery checked to confirm if it is up to the task. Again, many auto parts stores will do this for free.

    Do you know when the 12v battery was last replaced? If not, it would be a good thing to do, regardless.

    What area of the country are you in? You may want to add it to your profile.
     
  6. usnavystgc

    usnavystgc Die Hard DIYer and Ebike enthusiast.

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    3,159
    978
    0
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    Four
    An 02 w/ 34k???? Wow that's low mileage. Anyway, the Gen I's are notorious for giving warning lights when the 12V battery is low or weak. I would charge/replace the 12V battery and see what happens. The key to the Gen I is to make sure the codes come back consistently.
     
  7. Laura Skovlin

    Laura Skovlin Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2014
    17
    2
    0
    Location:
    northeast Oregon
    Vehicle:
    2002 Prius
    Model:
    I
    Purchased the low miles Prius from my 91 yr. old aunt -- the proverbial little old lady who only drove the car to church on Sunday! For real!
    Thanks for the tips, much appreciated. The warning lights have now gone away, and we're thinking the bag of lug nuts laying on the battery cable must've somehow affected something, or maybe just a coincidence. Not sure if the battery has ever been replaced, so a new one is probably a good idea. We are in remote northeast Oregon. Doubt if any local parts stores (there are a total of 2!) have the right code reader for a Prius. Not that many Prius's in our neck of the woods.....
     
  8. LEVE

    LEVE Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    189
    96
    0
    Location:
    On the Willapa
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    If you have an Autozone nearby, you can pick up a ScanTool II. It has the ability to be Prius Aware. I picked mine up in Portland a few months ago. It's already saved my butt more thane once .
     
  9. usnavystgc

    usnavystgc Die Hard DIYer and Ebike enthusiast.

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    3,159
    978
    0
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    Four
    Wow, lucky you. I bought my 01 from an old man (86) but it had 68k on it and this was in 09. I thought I got a good deal. When you first get these cars you tend to freak out on anything that looks out of the ordinary but, after a while, you learn just how reliable they are and you relax. Well, enjoy the car and welcome.
     
Loading...