"Problem"&Red Triangle&Chime

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by artie, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. artie

    artie Member

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    Anyone have any ideas on this one? My '04 with 193,000 miles has in the last week displayed the above trio of warnings (the word "PROBLEM" appears in the MFD and disappears instantly) plus the infamous Red Triangle of Death appears and there is an audible chime, 7 times; 4 when changing lanes and 3 at random times. The trio of warnings come on for literally 1 to 1.5 seconds and then go away, and there is nothing apparently wrong with the car, the handling, the performance, etc...it continues driving as sweetly as ever. Nothing. No engine warning light comes on (if there is such a thing), or anything else. I have new tires, the tires are all properly inflated, so it isn't the tires triggering the traction control warning, I'm baffled.

    I'm wondering what this could be. The dealer said bring it in and they would use the computer to check for codes; another mechanic said that if the "check engine" light hasn't come on, there won't be any codes.

    And, I love my Prius!
    Art
     
  2. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Check your engine oil level on the dipstick when the car is parked on level terrain and the engine has been off at least 5 minutes.
     
    richard schumacher and dave77 like this.
  3. artie

    artie Member

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    no oil...NO OIL...the stick is dry!! omg!, Thanks Patrick, I had the oil changed 10,000 miles ago, synthetic, I never go 10k, but did this time, wasn't paying attention, you have saved the day if not the engine.
    art
     
  4. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    So, how many quarts of oil did you add to bring the oil level up to the top dimple? Just wondering how much oil the poor engine had to work with.
     
  5. artie

    artie Member

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    Right, so, the stick was DRY!, I added one quart and oil showed up on the very end of the stick, maybe 1/5 of an inch on the stick. That's all I'm putting in as I will drive it in the morning 2 miles to the dealer for an oil change; so there was some oil in the sump but not much.

    I still have the original brakes and the dealer indicated that I might need front pads (there are no rear pads, just shoes) now, and quoted something like $165 to do it, so I guess that might happen too.

    Since 2004, the only thing that has gone wrong with the car is the MFD failing, which I repaired thanks to (I forget his name) on this site, for $60., Just that soldering repair that he discovered was all that was needed.

    Great car; hope I haven't lost the engine driving it for too long with no oil:eek:.

    Thanks again.
     
  6. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    My guess is that the engine had 1 quart of oil in it, prior to your adding oil today:

    Top dimple ~ 3.9 quarts (spec)
    Bottom dimple ~ 2.3-2.4 quarts (spec)
    Bottom of dipstick ~ 2 quarts (my guess)

    I recommend that you keep an eye on the engine oil level, checking it at least every other time you purchase fuel. You will probably find that the rate of consumption is 1 quart every 2K miles or so, now. That rate will probably accelerate as time passes.
     
  7. cthindi

    cthindi Member

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    With 193000 Mi does not your car use up some Oil?

    I have 170000 Mi on my 2005. Over last 20000 Mi or so my car has started using up more oil. Now I have to add about 1 or 1.5 Quart over 5000 mi. I just use regular 5W-30. Even if I use synthetic, I do not think it will help with oil consumption.
     
  8. usnavystgc

    usnavystgc Die Hard DIYer and Ebike enthusiast.

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    Good call Patrick. You may have saved this guy some serious $$$$$$$$.
     
  9. eharcour

    eharcour Junior Member

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    Wow, I just had that same trio of warnings today. I was planning on changing the oil this week. Like you, I don't normally go long on my oil changes, but this time I have... it's been 8K miles! OMG I just checked the stick, and yep no oil. Goodness, I drove home 30 miles today after the warnings, and was planning on driving 30 miles to the dealership for my free oil change tomorrow. Looks like I'll be adding a quart or so first. Wow just wow.
     
  10. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    I don't get how you got the warning, noticed no/low oil and still drove home 30 miles? You probably would need a replacement engine soon, monitor the oil burning from this point on. It may burn at a MUCH higher rate
     
  11. eharcour

    eharcour Junior Member

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    I only got the warning lights, and like Art, the car was driving fine. Since I was planning on getting the oil changed tomorrow anyway, I figured I'd have them check it out then. Not until after reading this thread did I know I was low on oil.
     
  12. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    There's probably nothing for them to check out, you'll just be wasting your money. Just know your car burns oil and check every 500 miles until you determine how much it's burning.
     
  13. eharcour

    eharcour Junior Member

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    I meant I was going to have them check into why I got the warning lights, but that was before I discovered this thread and what the problem is. Now I'm just going to do the oil change. And yes, I will be checking my oil regularly now.
     
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