Prius c Inverter failure

Discussion in 'Prius c Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Nicolina, Jan 8, 2021.

  1. Nicolina

    Nicolina New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2021
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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius c
    Model:
    N/A
    Looking for advice or seeing if anyone has dealt with similar issues. I bought this 2012 Prius C clean title with 116,000 miles in June of 2020 for $5000. Since then I’ve put about 10,000 miles on it (a lot of back and forth between Portland and Bay Area because I moved) I’ve been good with upkeep and it hasn’t given me any trouble until I was driving 2 days ago and completely went out when I tried to accelerate. The screen read “check hybrid system stop vehicle in a safe place immediately” long story short, I got the diagnostic test from the Toyota dealership and they said my inverter failed and quoted me $3500 (majority of quote being the part itself $$$) the guy at the dealership said he was very surprised to see that in a newer model with lower miles. I did some research and saw that many Toyota hybrid models were recalled for inverter failure, asked him about it and he said it’s not applicable to mine and my VIN wasn’t apart of the recall. I’m now just trying to figure out what I should do. I just moved to Portland and I’m a broke college student. All my money went to buying that car and now I just feel SOL. Any advice???
     
  2. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2012
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    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Glad you got past the initial crazy of the Toyota stealership... Them trying to rip you off is usually the first challenge a Prius owner has to get past. Basically their deal is that they're primarily a warranty repair business and they try to max out costs for warranty repair to get more from Toyota. The other issue is that buying brand new parts for a 9 year old car isn't necessary if it's a super expensive part like an inverter because you can buy a used inverter for near 10% of the cost they sell a new one for.

    And other good news is that the one thing that the stealership did tell you that's true is being surprised to see a failed inverter on a newer Prius, it's very rare. And because other less expensive problems in the hybrid system can mistakenly point to a bad inverter, it's possible the problem isn't the inverter at all and yet again the stealership screwed up the diagnosis. I've seen several people on here, recently a dude in France who had his Inverter replaced by the stealership and it failed to fix the problem and they wanted him to start replacing other expensive parts.

    First step is to look at/get the paperwork of their diagnosis and let us know what the error codes and error subcodes are. Next step is to get a device that will allow you to connect your phone to the car's computers so you can use Dr. Prius app to clear the error codes and then see how long it will take for the car's error codes to return, which will help with diagnosis. Here's a buyer guide for that inexpensive device: Hybrid battery diagnostic and repair tool for Toyota and Lexus

    Once we're more clear on the diagnosis you'll need to find a reasonably priced mechanic, or maybe you or a friend like to do DIY repairs? If so there's plenty of info on this website to walk your through everything. Also I'm less than a couple hours north of you and work on Hybrid cars as a hobby and I don't charge much at all so that that could be an option for you to. You're welcome to text me questions 360-789-7843.
     
    fermuscolo, Lukey51 and orenji like this.
  3. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2018
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    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius c
    Model:
    Two
    Okay for one moment, let's take the idea that the inverter is fine and the dealership has mis-diagnosed the problem.

    Have you cleaned the battery cooling fan recently?

    This needs periodic maintenance. You can do it with a vacuum cleaner or you can pay the dealer to do it for you. Make certain that this is done before listening to anyone telling you that the inverter is cooked.

    If the battery system can breathe and remain cool, then lots and lots of other problems never happen or are held to minimum. Keep the battery fan clean.
     
    Lukey51 likes this.
  4. Lukey51

    Lukey51 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2020
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    Location:
    TN
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius c
    Model:
    Two
    I didn't vacuum my cooling fan out I looked at it good with a flash light and it seems quite clean.
    It doesn't seem as though the former owner owned a dog that traveled often in the car.
     
  5. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2018
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    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius c
    Model:
    Two
    It's pretty sensitive. Some owners have thoughtlessly put hand luggage or food wrappers down there, inadvertently sealing the intake. 5 minutes later the lights are blinking about inverter doom.

    I kind of wish they'd done a double-intake sump like modern safe swimming pools, but it is a small inexpensive car and there's already a lot of plastic tubing back there.
     
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