What is going on with my prius? Shifts to neutral and won't move

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by chopstick, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. chopstick

    chopstick New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2017
    3
    0
    0
    Location:
    united states
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Okay so I am having a number of problems with my 2007 used prius that I bought last august. It had 84,000 miles on it and I have now driven it up to 105,000 miles.

    So for my job I deliver for dominos and deliver packages for amazon. So obviously I rely on it quite a bit. Including for paying my rent, which is due soon.

    A couple weeks ago it started displaying the red triangle warning light and check engine light. However, the car was driving fine so in my brilliance decided to ignore it. The warning light would go off after a few hours anyway so I figured maybe it was something inconsequential. But then it would come back on in a day or two. I hardly had any time to take it to the dealership anyway , or money to pay for repairs so decided to rough ride it..

    Well fast forward a few weeks and now it is having serious issues. What is happening is the BRAKE light on the left is coming on, then the car shifts into neutral and won't move or shift back into drive. Then I have to turn the car off for a while, but after a couple minutes I turn it back on and it will magically move again! And the warning lights go off again. But then an hour or so later the warning lights will come on again and the BRAKE light might come on again at any time, randomly, and then the car shifts into neutral again and shuts down again.

    I've noticed that leaving the car overnight , it will be ready to drive 100+ miles again in the morning before having problems again.

    I suspect it is the 12V battery being drained. I have a habit of charging my phone (samsung s7) all day while driving in the car because I use my phone for GPS for work. I also tend to blast music loudly while running AC, and I also run a peripheral Garmin backup GPS. I am wondering if maybe all these electronics are draining the 12V too much. Because last time the car switched to Neutral and died, the lights were dim and the car lock would barely work, I could barely lock or unlock the car which indicates low battery. The battery seems to recharge when I turn off the car and then everything is fine for a while.

    So my question is, what do you guys think? I don't think its the hybrid battery as I am still getting 48 MPG with no loss in mileage. I won't have time to take it to the dealership until next week.

    Would like some insight here. Thanks.
     
  2. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    14,503
    7,266
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    V
    I believe your car's inverter pump has failed, that's why once the car cools down, all the warning lights go away. If you keep this up, you will eventually fry the inverter and that will be a pretty penny at the dealership ($4000)

    You can check the inverter pump's operation by looking into the inverter reservoir which is in the middle of the engine compartment. The reservoir that holds the pink coolant, next to the inverter. Open the cap and see if there's movement in the coolant when the car is in READY mode. If there's no movement, the pump is not working. You will also notice your AC cooling will not work when the car overheats from this error.

    If the pump has failed, it's a fairly easy DIY repair that will cost you about $70 for the OEM part on EBAY. Anywhere else, this part might be double the price.
     
    windstrings likes this.
  3. chopstick

    chopstick New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2017
    3
    0
    0
    Location:
    united states
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Yeah, I turned the car on - checked the reservoir - no movement except a tiny swirl when first turning the car on.

    So if the pump was working correctly there should be constant movement in the reservoir, correct?

    Looks like you may have successfully diagnosed my issue, I'm guessing its a fairly common one.

    Much better than having a hybrid battery failure.
     
  4. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    14,503
    7,266
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    V
    You should get the codes on the car read, that will tell you what problems you are having. Like I mentioned, if the pump has failed, the AC functions won't work when the triangle is on (when it's overheated)
     
  5. Kevin_Denver

    Kevin_Denver Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2016
    581
    412
    1
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Vehicle:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Go to your local auto parts store. Most of them will read the OBD codes for free. Then post back with the codes after you've googled them. On 2nd gens, 99% of the time, someone else has had the same problem.
     
  6. chopstick

    chopstick New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2017
    3
    0
    0
    Location:
    united states
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Yeah, the AC wasn't working either when the triangle was on which is why I'm thinking you may be correct on this one.

    I'm ordering a new inverter pump plus bluetooth code reader off ebay right now.

    I didn't know they read codes for free, I thought it was costly for OBD for some reason

    Triangle is off at the moment so they may not show
     
  7. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    14,503
    7,266
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    V
    The code on the failed inverter pump goes away when the car cools, it's crazy. I had one just last week that did that. No code until the triangle came back on.
     
  8. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    5,135
    2,770
    0
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    What JC has said in regard to the Inverter Coolant Pump failing is spot on and your top priority to get fixed, but don't overlook your other problem.
    What you have detailed here are the classic symptoms of your second problem, although the inverter shutting down will have a bearing on this, as the 12 V battery will be supplying the 12 V bus when the inverter is not working.

    I doubt you would get much milage out of trying charging the battery overnight, but it may buy you a couple of weeks.

    The accessories you run, will not be a problem while the car is running, (albeit with a working Inverter/ Inverter Coolant Pump) but they will significantly drain your 12 V battery while in ACC mode, so always leave your car in READY while running those.

    Depending on the age of the 12 V battery, I'd be inclined to replace it after you have attended to replacing the Inverter Coolant Pump.
     
    JC91006 likes this.
  9. Olix

    Olix New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2019
    1
    0
    0
    Location:
    Gambia
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    N/A

    Hi Chopstick, I'm olix from the Gambia. My 2007 prius has the same problem as yours, I want to know if the change of the "inverter coolant pump" worked for you. Thank you.
     
Loading...