Red Triangle but nothing is broken, 2004 Prius 220k miles

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by MattMan199x, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. MattMan199x

    MattMan199x New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2018
    2
    2
    0
    Location:
    Pembroke, Massachusetts
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    I have looked everywhere on the internet for a solution and it may be simple but please listen to my issue. I have had my 04 Prius for two and a half years, it is my first car and has been nothing but the most reliable steed I've ever rode. the problem is that the red triangle is on all the time but nothing is wrong with the car. The triangle light has come on a few times after or during some rain storms, but it would always shut off the next day or after a few hours. well we had some bad rain here in New England recently and the red light was on, it had happened maybe 3 or 4 times and always occurred during rain so I thought nothing of it. but after a day it was still on and then the days turned to weeks and it has probably been almost 20 days of this non stop triangle light. Here is the thing I cannot seem to figure out. No other lights are on, it is only the triangle light and on the display it says "the transmission P lock mechanism is abnormal. Park your car at a flat place...."(you guys probably know the rest). So the answer I read the most was that the Aux battery was bad so I went into the safe mode and checked it and it is in normal shape. The hybrid battery is good too, it is putting out 40-45 mpg as usual in my car. The oil was changed 2 months ago and is not overfilled it looks good, and I do it myself. The car drives normally and is fine except that damn triangle. It isn't really a problem other than it's awful beepy screech and its very annoying driving at night seeing the stupid triangle's reflection on my windshield. I'm not a car guy but my best guess is that a cord is out of place or maybe a sensor is busted. Any suggestions? I am a broke university student and can't afford to just buy another car, the thing is old and high in miles but it has never shown any signs of age in the 2 and 1/2 years I have owned it. worst comes to worst I have to live with it
     
  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    9,572
    7,047
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    Hi ,

    That light is on because the car has information to give you about a problem. It's very enterprising of you to have done all of the other stuff you've already done before getting the information the car is trying to give you, but it's important to get that information. Without it, there's no good way to help much.

    A lot of people here buy a J2534 dongle to connect to a laptop and use Techstream software to connect to the car and get the info. It's not the only way, but it's the most sure-fire way, using the same software as at the dealer.

    If you don't want to fuss with that, you can always visit the dealer and have them retrieve it. They may charge for half an hour or an hour of shop time. Not pennies, but it also saves you some fussing around getting Techstream set up if you don't have it already, so sometimes it's just the easiest way to go and gets you the information the soonest.

    -Chap
     
    ITBland and MattMan199x like this.
  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    88,745
    39,681
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    p-lock is problematic
     
    Al Bundy and MattMan199x like this.
  4. Al Bundy

    Al Bundy Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2018
    140
    68
    0
    Location:
    florida
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    weak 12 volt battery.. most common cause
     
    MattMan199x and bisco like this.
  5. MattMan199x

    MattMan199x New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2018
    2
    2
    0
    Location:
    Pembroke, Massachusetts
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Well as fate would have it the darn thing turned off after i filled it with gas, back to normal just like that when I started it up. Thank you guys for the good responses and next time it does this I'll invest into these methods. Thanks again, very helpful!!!
     
    Al Bundy and Raytheeagle like this.
  6. Al Bundy

    Al Bundy Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2018
    140
    68
    0
    Location:
    florida
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    nothing worse than a locked up P when you want to use it.
     
    m.wynn and bisco like this.
  7. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    3,625
    1,594
    0
    Location:
    USA
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius c
    Model:
    Four
    There IS something wrong, you just haven't found out WHAT yet.
    And what exactly leads you to believe that they battery is "in normal shape" ?

    I think you need to scrape together $100 or so for a "diagnostic" visit to a dealer.
    Or you can just keep driving it until it stops......and then spend a LOT more than that.

    P.S. The answer to everything is NOT to be found on the Internet.
    And often the answer you find is not right.
     
    ITBland likes this.
  8. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    8,120
    3,616
    0
    Location:
    Clearwater, Florida
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    When it throws a Master Caution RTOD it’s not kidding.

    Don’t be surprised if it leaves you on the side of the road when your least capable of dealing with it.
    Then it gets extra expensive.

    An RTODs do not go out unless cleared by OBD or the 12 volt battery is removed or went dead.
     
    bisco and ITBland like this.
  9. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    9,572
    7,047
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    I'm not certain that's true for all possible causes that can light that light.

    I know I can't singlehandedly get people to quit melodramatically calling it the "Red Triangle Of DEEEAAAAAATTTHHHH!!!!" but, honestly, people, Toyota calls it the master warning light. It comes on when some computer in the car wants to tell you something. There are a couple hundred possible somethings. Some may point to a big ticket repair and some only to something you can straighten out with a little bit of investigation and attention.

    When it lights up, you just find out what the car is trying to tell you, and go from there.

    Some particular trouble codes are more 'sticky' than others. Some actually will reset if the
    condition that triggered them is not detected again during n subsequent drives. If such
    a code was the only one behind why the MWL was on, I would not be surprised to see
    the MWL go away when the code does.

    That's good news if all you care about is the light being off. It's bad news as far as finding
    out what the car was noticing, because now you have to wait for the next time it notices.
    Then you can just find out what it's yapping about, and post here, and we'll talk about it.

    -Chap
     
    strawbrad and ITBland like this.
  10. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    8,120
    3,616
    0
    Location:
    Clearwater, Florida
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    I was not talking to you. I was talking to the op and like most posters we see are pretty clueless.
    I prefer to scare them a little so they can find out why there car is throwing the master caution light.


    Advice from you is don’t worry about it. I hope the op Takes your advice.
     
    bisco likes this.
  11. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    9,572
    7,047
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    Sorry Ed, didn't mean to come off as undercutting what you were saying. The part I was unsure about was just the no-RTOD-ever-goes-away-without-action part. I had not heard that before, and am not sure that it's true for all cases.

    I understand wanting to give the poster a good nudge to find out what's up. I try not to exaggerate for the sake of a nudge, though, because that sometimes backfires. If I say "this light being on will always kill your gerbil" and then you get home and the gerbil's fine, you might take the next thing I say at a discount.

    For the sake of clarity, I am certainly not saying don't worry about it. My advice is to treat it absolutely seriously, meaning, proceed immediately to asking the car what it is warning you about, and using that information as a start on identifying the issue.

    What I advise against is just seeing the lights on, collecting no information, and immediately assuming the most expensive possible thing just happened, when that's a possibility out of a hundred.

    The easiest way to turn a fifty-cent repair into a $2000.50 repair is to see the warning lights, jump straight to the conclusion it has to be the $2000 thing, replace that, then say "bother, why are these lights still on?", and then get serious about problem diagnosis and find the fifty cent issue and fix it.

    -Chap
     
  12. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    3,625
    1,594
    0
    Location:
    USA
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius c
    Model:
    Four
    Public posts are talking to EVERYBODY.

    And that second sentence is just crabby, rude and unnecessary.......like we usually get from you.

    That's worse than clueless; you should know better.
     
    MattMan199x likes this.
  13. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    9,572
    7,047
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    Umm ... I don't think I've ever perceived Ed as being usually like that ... which was why I was sorry I may have inadvertently given offense.

    -Chap
     
  14. Dxta

    Dxta Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2016
    1,868
    711
    0
    Location:
    Lagos
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    II
    Well, same with me too. I have never come across such an acronym before.RTOD?
     
  15. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    9,572
    7,047
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    A lot of people call the master warning light either the Red Triangle Of Deeeaaaattthhh or the Red Triangle Of Doooooooommmmmmm, I guess because it's fun and sounds dramatic, but sometimes they get carried away with the drama of their own name for it, and forget that it's just a light to let you know you should read some trouble codes and not procrastinate about it.

    Anyway, in my Gen 3 I think it's yellow.

    -Chap
     
    #15 ChapmanF, Sep 5, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
  16. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    8,120
    3,616
    0
    Location:
    Clearwater, Florida
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    And I apologize for being snarky. I retract my statement. Your posts are usually spot on.
     
    Raytheeagle likes this.
Loading...