Smart Key problem - Car won't start

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Technical Discussion' started by jdib78, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. jdib78

    jdib78 New Member

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    HELP! My fob is not starting my car! Here's the history. This is a 2006 model. Everything ran great for about two years, then last year, I started having occasional problems where I would push the power button and the car wouldn't start. I tried putting the fob in the slot, still nothing. I would get the electrical system on to run the A/C and radio, but I could never put the car in gear and go. It was as if I wasn't putting my foot on the brake first. What was really puzzling was that it was inconsistent. Sometimes everything worked fine. There was no rhyme or reason. (This happened with both of my fobs.) I thought maybe the batteries were failing so I replaced them. same problem. Finally, I took it to a dealer repair shop and they said they never saw problems with fobs, they were beginning to think they were indestructable and since I was getting no warning lights on the dash, everything appeared to be running normally. Then he mentioned the RF signal might be getting interferance from my house alarm key fob that was on the same keychain. (Keep in mind, the fobs had been on the same chain since the day I bought the car.) Anyway, I took it off the chain and put it in my glovebox, and voila! It worked. Great!

    Fast forward about six months to last night.

    Trying to leave a friend's house and what do you know, it happens again. Tried for about ten minutes with the fob out, the fob in, holding my breath, you name it. Nothing. Then suddenly, it starts! Then this morning, get in to go to work. Same thing. This time it took a half hour to get it started. I called Toyota support. They had no idea what it was and recommended a mechanic. But I'm not thrilled at the idea of another mechanic telling me he doesn't know and charging me for his time while leaving me with a malfunctioning car. I read that the cell phone could cause interference so I moved it away. Still didn't help, and once again, I never had the problem before.

    I know this was a long post and I apologize, but I had to make sure I gave all the details so you know everything I've tried. Can ANYONE help me before I go to yet another mechanic?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Prius_SGP

    Prius_SGP New Member

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    I recall someone having a similar problem before (have you tried a search of the posts) If I remember correctly it was due to a problem with the switch on the brake.

    Maybe ask the local dealer to have a look at the switch and the wiring?...
     
  3. jdib78

    jdib78 New Member

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    Where is there a switch on the brake? Are you referring to the switch under the steering wheel to require the fob be plugged in? If so, I've already tried that. Plus, if it's as simple as a switch, it doesn't explain why the problem is so erratic.

    Thanks for the quick response though.
     
  4. firepa63

    firepa63 Former Prius Owner

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    It's a good possibility that it is the brake switch. There was a recall on that switch for the 04 and 05 (I think) a few years back. It's possible that the 06 model may have the same problem. It should be easy for the dealer to troubleshoot.
     
  5. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    There is a double switch on the brake lever. One switch runs the brake lights, the other senses that the brake pedal is depressed for the interlock. If that one fails, the car thinks you haven't pressed the brake. You can try manually jumping the switch wires and see if it starts. If so, a new switch will fix your problem.

    Tom
     
  6. amithereyet

    amithereyet New Member

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    I am having the same intermittent starting problem on my 3-week old 2009 Prius. Toyota Roadside Assistance was a complete joke and waste of cell phone minutes.
    They told me it would cost 170 dollars to tow it to the dealer......for a car with 1000 miles on it! While I was on hold to order the tow, the car started, after 20 min of trying. Fast forward to next day: same thing happened again. The car got me to work but wouldn't start at end of day. I knew better than to consider the Toyota brokerage for local tow ripoffs, AKA, Toyota roadside assistance. I waited 25 min after another Prius driver & I failed to start it & tried again. The car started!

    I drove the car straight to the dealer & was told a loaner would be waiting. They wanted me, however, to sign the rental agreement with no knowledge of whether it would be free or quite costly. They couldn't quote me a price on the rental!!!!!

    I left the Prius, took the rental, and let them know that I hadn't yet received the precious survey, but I expected to be treated fairly.

    Did I make a mistake when I purchased my new 2009 Prius?
    I am beginning to think so!

    I know why you don't need to refuel often: the car won't start frequently enough to use any gas!
     
  7. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    You didn't make a mistake buying a Prius, but you might be working with the wrong dealer.

    Tom
     
  8. Bob64

    Bob64 Sapphire of the Blue Sky

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    Does this problem happen with BOTH fobs?
     
  9. amithereyet

    amithereyet New Member

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    I have only used 1 of the fobs, but thanks for the idea of switching out fobs when I get my car back from the dealer.


     
  10. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    Amithereyet,
    Are you putting your foot on the brake firmly before pressing the power button? I have made this mistake myself, once you have the car in accessory mode and you try to select drive it will go into neutral then even with your foot on the brake it won't go into ready mode. Press the park button, press the brake then the power button. It should go into ready mode.

    I don't think your stupid or something, just this has happened to me. Pretty frustrating too.
     
  11. amithereyet

    amithereyet New Member

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    Thanks for checking one the the steps that I could overlook, but, in these instances, that wasn't the cause. Even my Prius-driver friend couldn't get it to start. Stepping on the brake was part of our procedure.

    Additional facts:

    The first time this happened, the door open light wouldn't go off and it was continually beeping.

    The second time that it happened, the key icon was on the dashboard. No continuous beeping.

    I really appreciate everyone on this forum!
     
  12. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    #1: Is it possible that a door or the rear hatch was open? However the car should have been able to become READY regardless. Press the brake pedal hard when trying to start.

    #2: If the key icon appears, then the system does not detect the fob. Where was the fob physically located? Is it possible that the fob battery needs to be replaced (although the car is new)? Try the other fob and see whether that makes a difference.

    You might also try inserting the fob into the slot in the instrument panel, to see if that helps you to make the car READY.
     
  13. jdib78

    jdib78 New Member

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    Hey everyone, thanks for the advice. It appears that the problem is the brake switch, which I plan to take into the dealer. I'm outside the warranty, but according to other Toyota owners I know, they've always been very helpful even without warranty coverage, especially when dealing with a problem that was a part of a previous recall. I'll let you know how it turns out.
     
  14. CYJAK2

    CYJAK2 Junior Member

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    :confused: I have been having a similar problem since last fall. Additional symptoms that I get:

    1. the red Triangle with "!" in the triangle (not every time).
    2. the screen message that park is not properly engaged (not every time).
    3. besides the lack of "ready" there is no box around any of the gear positions on the dash.
    4. Once I tried putting the key fob into the slot this resulted in the fob getting locked until the car finally responded the the POWER button. I won't try that again.

    There is NO error code for the dealer to see.

    But I will change the batteries (2005 Prius) and I will mention to the dealer to check the stop switches .

    Thanks to all for your posts.
     
  15. jdib78

    jdib78 New Member

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    OK, so I took the car into the dealer and they told me a new brake switch would cost about $250. Plus they couldn't verify that that was the actual problem. And they said there is no recall on the part for the 2006 model year. So I'm trying to find the brake switch at online wholesalers to replace it myself. Does anyone know of a good wholesaler that would have this actual part? I've seen listings for a "brake light switch" for about $22.00. Is this the same thing? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
  16. Sandy

    Sandy Hippi Chick

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    Mine is doing the same thing getting a bit worse now reading the threads i think mine might be the 12V Battery, has the same symptoms ...PS I dont have the smart key I have the dumb one.
     
  17. Sandy

    Sandy Hippi Chick

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    Mine are just like your, by any chance do you park on grass, thats the only time it has happened, might mean nothing but strange.
     
  18. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Jumper the brake switch to see if that is the problem. It isn't exactly rocket science to check it out.

    Tom
     
  19. vertex

    vertex Active Member

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    I checked the manual, and only the parking brake has a switch. The brake has a brake position stroke sensor. Do your brake lights work? If they do, I doubt this is the issue. The car will not 'start" if the battery voltage is too low. Did you check this? If it is under 10 volts, you may have a problem, under 9, and it will give you errors on the MFD.
     
  20. Sandy

    Sandy Hippi Chick

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    I will check my brakes think i have the original 12V battery and the car is 5.5 years old, that will be what i will change first.
     
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