Smoke From Front Passenger Area of 2010 Prius

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by nepbug, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. nepbug

    nepbug Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2019
    21
    28
    0
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    I'm having smoke/smell from the front passenger side (US model) engine compartment from my 2010 Prius.

    Well, a few weeks ago I got sorta stuck in some snow, through some rocking back and forth and pushing I got free, but during that process I had some smoke come from the front passenger area f the engine compartment (smoke was coming up by the windshield). Smelled horrible, like a slipping belt burning up, I made a note to look at it after I got out of the cold and snowy area, then promptly spaced it.
    Fast forward to tonight, my wife drives the car and comes in complaining about a smell. I immediately go out and it's the exact same smell from the same area. No evidence of anything burning up when I did the inspection with a flashlight.

    With some history of fires starting in other 2010 Priuses I'm now a bit worried (Fire in a prius | PriusChat and My Toyota Prius 2010 caught fire | PriusChat). I'll get a good look the next time I have free time and good light, hopefully I can find something obvious. In the meantime I'm putting a fire extinguisher in the car.

    It honestly doesn't smell like oil or grease burning, and definitely isn't a coolant burning smell. It truly smells like a belt burning up.

    It doesn't seem like there is too much on that side of the engine that it could be, at first I thought a CVT belt could be slipping, but that's not in the area at all.

    Anybody have a similar experience and figure out what it was?
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    94,224
    42,712
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    is the inverter pump working?
    i think the fires are from thewiring to the headlights, might have been a recall or tsb.
     
  3. nepbug

    nepbug Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2019
    21
    28
    0
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    Yeah, I saw that headlight TSB and I inspected that area thoroughly tonight with no sign of excessive heat around that, I'll get a better look in the daylight though.

    No inverter pump codes thrown, and I think the inverter pump is on the driver side underneath the inverter, right?
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    94,224
    42,712
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    not sure if it throws a code. just check the reservoir for turbulance
     
  5. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    14,276
    10,081
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    There have been some fires in that area, and the post speculating about the headlight TSB was me, but it was only speculation. I haven't established it, nor, to my knowledge, has anyone else so far.

    Hot brakes smell mighty bad, and a bunch of rocking to get out of snow could lead there, if the traction control is doing a lot of braking of one wheel to keep it from free-spinning. That wouldn't really explain the smell coming back "a few weeks" later, though, unless the circumstances repeated.

    If there was visible smoke, catching where it's coming from under the hood with a flashlight would be a solid lead, but risky. Maybe back out of any attached garage before waiting for any smoke to appear.

    Or, having the hood open, shutting the car off at the first sign of smell, and a quick look around with a thermal imager might be helpful.
     
  6. nepbug

    nepbug Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2019
    21
    28
    0
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    Alright, added that to the check tomorrow.


    It was definitely not brake smell. And man, I wish I could afford a thermal imager, lol.

    But this does bring me to another idea, right now I am running oversized snow tires, I'll check for rubbing in the morning, though this is not my first winter with these wheels/tires, but if something wore out and changed the geometry a bit I might be rubbing now.
     
  7. nepbug

    nepbug Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2019
    21
    28
    0
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    Well, an update. No rubbing from tires, so that's not the culprit.
    And the smoke/smell has not returned since, so it's a frustrating intermittent thing at the moment.
     
  8. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    14,276
    10,081
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    Checked out the ones for phones lately?
     
Loading...