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The Potential Prius Brake Defect – The History & The Details

2010 PRIUS BRAKE DEFECT

TOYOTA SAFETY RECALL A0B (NHTSA ID 10V-039) 

The A0B Defect Information Report

On February 9, 2010 Toyota launched Safety Recall A0B (NHTSA ID 10V-039) because customers were “perceiving inconsistent brake feel after ABS actuation…” and because Toyota had received field reports indicating “issues with the VSC/brake performance.” Safety Recall A0B covered 133,459 Prius vehicles and 15,090 Lexus HS250H vehicles.

The Defect Information Report - or DIR – sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was signed and submitted by Toyota’s Manager of Technical and Regulatory Affairs Chris Santucci. Prior to coming on board with Toyota, Mr. Santucci had been employed as a Defect Investigator at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Defect Information Report states that Toyota launched a safety recall despite the fact that, “…the ABS is operating as designed".

Toyota represented the cure would be, “a rewrite of the programming of the ABS control unit.”

Confusingly, in later documentation addressing defects or potential defects in the Prius braking system Toyota refers to the ABS control unit using many different names such as the “ABS Actuator ECU,” the “ABS Actuator Skid Control Electronic Control Unit,” and the “Skid Control ECU.”

 

Unique Characteristics of NHTSA's Preliminary Evaluation

On February 3, 2010 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened Preliminary Evaluation PE10-006 on 2010 Prius vehicles because, “The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received 124 reports from consumers alleging a momentary reduction in braking performance…Four of these reports allege crashes occurred. Two of these reports allege 2 minor injuries occurred as a result of these crashes.”

Typically, when NHTSA opens a Preliminary Evaluation they request wide-ranging information such as the manufacturer’s customer complaints, field reports, crash reports, fatality reports, arbitrations, warranty claims, repair dates, and additional information to assess the danger of the potential safety defect. When a manufacturer responds with the information NHTSA’s has historically made it publicly available on the safercar.gov website.

In the case of the NHTSA’s Preliminary Evaluation PE10-006 regarding brake defects in the 2010 Prius, Toyota’s response data is not publicly available through NHTSA’s safercar.gov website.

There is one email chain between Toyota’s Manager of Technical and Regulatory Affairs Chris Santucci, who was previously employed as a Defect Investigator at NHTSA, and the Chief of the Vehicle Integrity Division of the US Department of Transportation D. Scott Yon.

In the chain, Mr. Yon requests information for the Preliminary Evaluation of the Prius’ brake defect - including consumer complaints, field reports, crash incidents, injury incidents, fatality incidents, and warranty claims – be submitted by June 18, 2010. Mr. Santucci indicates that, “there was a larger volume of information for Toyota to review than originally estimated…” and is granted an extension on the due date.

Today, the important requested data pertaining to the brake defect in 2010 Toyota Prius vehicles is not publicly available on NHTSA’s safercar.gov website.

***Toyota's response data to NHTSA's Preliminary Evaluation has been requested from NHTSA via the Freedom of Information Act website.

 

The Chronology of the A0B Defect Information Report

In the Chronology of Principle Events section of the DIR for Toyota’s A0B safety recall Mr. Santucci represents that between October 2009 and January 2010 “Toyota received another field technical report from the U.S. market which indicated issues with the VSC/brake performance.” Below are two examples of complaints from NHTSA’s safercar.gov website demonstrating “issues with the VSC/brake performance” were occurring in 2010 Prius prior to October 2009.

February 4, 2010 NHTSA ID NUMBER: 10305572

Components: SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC

NHTSA ID Number: 10305572

Incident Date August 20, 2009

Consumer Location ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NY

Vehicle Identification Number JTDKN3DU3A1****

Summary of Complaint

CRASHNo

FIRENo

INJURIES0

DEATHS0

MY PRIUS LOSES ITS BRAKING ABILITY WHEN I HIT A POTHOLE OR IF I DRIVE OVER A SEWER GRATE. I'VE OWNED THE CAR SINCE JULY 2009, IT IS A 2010 MODEL. IT ALSO HAPPENS WHEN I DRIVE OVER BUMPS IN THE ROAD. THIS HAS HAPPENED SEVERAL TIMES SINCE JULY. IT SEEMS TO HAPPEN MORE IN WET WEATHER. *TR

February 4, 2010 NHTSA ID NUMBER: 10305159

Components: SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC

 

NHTSA ID Number: 10305159

Incident Date August 13, 2009

Consumer Location BALTIMORE, MD

Vehicle Identification Number JTDKN3DU8A0****

Summary of Complaint

CRASHNo

FIRENo

INJURIES0

DEATHS0

I PURCHASED MY 2010 PRIUS ON AUGUST 4TH, 2009 AND ALMOST IMMEDIATELY NOTICED ISSUES WITH THE BRAKES. I DISTINCTLY REMEMBER DRIVING IN THE CAR ON THIS DATE WITH MY WIFE AS WE WERE ON OUR WAY BACK FROM HER ULTRASOUND. I JUST GOT OFF THE HIGHWAY AND THERE WAS A RED LIGHT AHEAD WITH SEVERAL CARS STOPPED AT IT. I APPLIED THE BRAKES SLOWLY AND STEADILY, AS I NORMALLY DO, BRAKING WITH PLENTY OF TIME TO STOP. AS I APPROACHED THE LAST CAR AT THE STOP LIGHT I ENCOUNTERED A POT HOLE AND THE BRAKES DISENGAGED. I COULD FEEL THE CAR WAS NO LONGER DECELERATING. I HAD TO SLAM ON THE BRAKES AND BARELY AVOIDED SLAMMING IN TO THE CAR AHEAD OF ME, STOPPING WITH LITERALLY AN INCH BETWEEN OUR BUMPERS. SINCE THAT DATE I HAVE ENCOUNTERED THIS EXACT SAME SCENARIO SEVERAL TIMES A MONTH AND HAVE COME CLOSE TO AN ACCIDENT 2 TO 3 TIMES. *TR

Because Toyota’s responses to NHTSA’s Preliminary Evaluation information requests are not currently publicly available on the safercar.gov website, Toyota’s accuracy regarding dates of complaints or incidents of the brake defect “indicating issues with the VSC/brake performance” prior to October 2009 has not be verified.

 

Omission of a Potential Safety-Related Part Design Change

Despite the fact that former NHTSA defect investigator Chris Santucci represented that the A0B safety recall was being launched to address “issues with the VSC/brake performance” in certain Prius vehicles, the defect information report fails to disclose that in September 2009 Toyota began utilizing an “updated brake accumulator” during 2010 Prius production.

The brake accumulator is an integral component regarding the “the VSC/brake performance” in affected Prius vehicles. Toyota would disclose this production countermeasure in a Defect Information Report filed for safety recall D0H (NHTSA ID 13V-235) launched in June 2013.

As explained in Toyota’s Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the US Department of Justice, in which Toyota pled guilty to wire fraud for their illegal conduct during the Unintended Acceleration Scandal, “Although Toyota is not required to notify NHTSA of any engineering and design changes it made to Toyota and Lexus models sold in the United States, it is required to file a DIR for any safety-related defect addressed by such an engineering and/or design change.”

Here is another excerpt regarding part design improvements from Toyota's Deferred Prosecution Agreement:

The “Chronology of Principle Events” section of the defect information report for Toyota’s A0B safety recall reflects that Toyota conducted an approximately 7 month long investigation into the Prius brake defect. This section does not make any mention of the brake accumulator being considered as a cause of the safety defect in the Prius brakes.

Additionally, question #8 of Toyota’s “Q&A” documentation for the A0B safety recall asks, “Have any production changes been implemented?” The answer only discloses a change made to the ABS Actuator ECU in January 2010. The accumulator update from September 2009 is not mentioned.

Toyota would later conduct a safety recall on the Brake Booster Pump in certain 2010 Prius under its D0H campaign  and would also later cover the Brake Booster Assembly (also referred to by Toyota as the Brake Master Cylinder Assembly) and Brake Booster Pump Assemblies of certain 2010 Prius under Warranty Enhancement ZJB.

Toyota’s representations of low-cost software updates as remedies for safety defects have recently been called into question.

 

Toyota Stops Providing VIN Specific Safety Recall Lists to Dealers

In the “Dealer Summary Reports” section of its dealer letter for the A0B safety recall, Toyota states, “VIN lists of vehicles in the dealership’s PMA will no longer be provided.” The term “PMA” stands for Primary Market Area.

According to the federally-appointed monitor for the Takata Airbag safety recall, providing this VIN specific data to local dealerships so that they can reach out to their customer base is critical to increasing safety recall completion rates.

Dealer Letters for the more recent J0T Toyota Prius Safety Recall indicates that in many cases Toyota still does not provide its dealers with “VIN lists of vehicles in the dealership’s PMA…” that have the safety recall outstanding.

Technical Service Bulletin 0363-10

In December 2010 Toyota issued technical service bulletin 0363-10 covering “some 2010 Prius and early produced 2011 Prius vehicles which may exhibit an abnormal noise when the brake pedal is released.”

If a customer complained about this particular noise Toyota would authorize installation of “revised” calibration software for the “ABS Actuator Skid Control Electronic Control Unit.”

This is the same component that received a software update as the “remedy” to Toyota’s A0B Safety Recall. The A0B safety recall covered only some 2010 Prius vehicles and did not cover any 2011 Prius vehicles.

Toyota’s technical instructions for the A0B safety recall state that the ID number of the “remedy” software is F152647106 for Prius vehicles with 15 inch wheels and F152647126 for Prius vehicles with 17 inch wheels.

TSB 0363-10 states the updated software ID number is F152647108 for Prius vehicles with 15 inch wheels or F152647128 for Prius vehicles with 17 inch wheels.

An A0B “remedy” software update for the ABS control unit was superseded by an updated version at a later date.

 

SAFETY RECALL D0H (NHTSA ID 13V-235)

The D0H Defect Information Report

On June 5, 2013 Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.’s Vice President, Abbas Saadat, submitted a Defect Information Report to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration for Toyota’s D0H safety recall (NHTSA ID 13V-235).

Toyota’s D0H safety recall addressed a defect in Brake Booster Pump Assemblies manufactured by Japan’s Advics Co., LTD.

Inside the brake booster pump assembly is the brake pressure accumulator. Toyota’s D0H defect information report states, “There is a possibility that a fatigue crack could develop…” on a component of the accumulator. It continues to state this could, “cause the brake pedal stroke to become longer, resulting in decreased hydraulic pressure” which could “affect stopping distance and increase the risk of a crash.”

The “Chronology of Principle Events” section of the DIR shows Toyota conducted an approximately 3 year investigation before announcing safety recall D0H.

Toyota’s “remedy” called for an “inspection” of the brake booster pump assembly and its replacement if it was deemed “affected.”

 

Reduction in the Number of Covered 2010 Prius

Toyota’s D0H safety recall covers approximately 82,000 model year 2010 Prius vehicles and approximately 5,100 model year 2010 Lexus HS250h vehicles. Approximately 45,000 fewer 2010 Prius vehicles are covered by Toyota’s D0H safety recall than by Toyota’s A0B safety recall.

There are many complaints from Prius owners inquiring as to why their vehicle was excluded from the covered population yet it experienced a similar condition as described by Toyota’s D0H Safety Recall.

March 21, 2018 NHTSA ID NUMBER: 11080403

Components: SERVICE BRAKES

NHTSA ID Number: 11080403

Incident Date March 19, 2018

Consumer Location HOUSTON, TX

Vehicle Identification Number JTDKN3DU3B1****

Summary of Complaint

CRASHNo

FIRENo

INJURIES0

DEATHS0

I WAS DRIVING AT ABOUT 35 MPH AND ALL OF A SUDDEN MY BRAKES STOPPED WORKING. THE BRAKE , ABS AND TRACTION LIGHTS CAME ON ALL AT ONCE. I SOMEHOW MADE IT HOME BUT I COULD HAVE EASILY CRASHED. I HAD MY 9 YEAR OLD IN THE BACK SEAT AND HE ALSO GOT VERY SCARED. NOW I CANNOT DRIVE MY CAR AND THE BRAKES FEEL AS THEY AS STUCK AND VERY HARD. I TOOK MY CAR TO A REPUTABLE MECHANIC AND HE TOLD ME IT IS GIVING HIM CODE C1391. THIS IS THE SAME PROBLEM THAT THE 2010 PRIUS HAD UNDER THE RECALL. MY PRIUS IS 2011 AND NOT UNDER THE RECALL. I FEEL THAT THE 2011 SHOULD BE UNDER RECALL BECAUSE MANY THOUSANDS OF LIVES ARE IN DANGER NOW.

1 Affected Product 

Request Research (Services fees apply)

January 10, 2018 NHTSA ID NUMBER: 11061959

Components: SERVICE BRAKES

NHTSA ID Number: 11061959

Incident Date January 9, 2018

Consumer Location CORPUS CHRISTI, TX

Vehicle Identification Number JTDKN3DU5B5****

Summary of Complaint

CRASHNo

FIRENo

INJURIES0

DEATHS0

I WAS AT AN AUTOMATIC CAR WASH YESTERDAY AND AFTER THE WASH FINISHED I PULLED OUT OF STALL WITH HARDLY ANY BRAKES.I WAS NOT ABLE TO PUMP THEM AND HAD TO TAKE MY CAR INTO A MECHANIC THE BRAKE ACTUATOR WAS OUT AND THE CAR IS UNDRIVABLE.THE PRICE FOR THE PART ALONE IS OVER 2500.00 I WAS INFORMED BY THE DEALERSHIP THAT IS WAS A RECALLED ITEM BUT NOT FOR THE YR OF MY CAR. IF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IN TRAFFIC OR AT A HIGH RATE OF SPEED I KNOW I WOULD HAVE BEEN IN A SERIOUS ACCIDENT AND I COULD HAVE KILLED SOMEONE.

1 Affected Product 

Request Research (Services fees apply)

 

The "Inspection Only" Population Included in the D0H Safety Recall

The “Description of Corrective Repair Action” section of Toyota’s defect information report for safety recall D0H states that, “The dealer will inspect the brake booster pump assembly, and, if it is equipped with an affected accumulator, the dealer will replace the brake booster pump assembly with an improved one.”

According to Toyota’s technical instructions all this “inspection” to identify is a Prius is equipped with an affected accumulator requires is to look at the orientation of a label on the outside of the brake booster pump assembly. The accumulator is a component located inside the brake booster pump assembly.

Toyota’s D0H technical instruction documentation states the part is defective and requires replacement if the label is horizontal. If the label is vertical it is not defective and does not require replacement.

Toyota gives no explanation as to how the label orientation identifies the defective accumulators. It is possible the orientation of the caution label indicates an internal design change of the accumulator or another related component.

It is unknown why 2010 Prius with vertically aligned caution labels were included in the safety recall population.

 

Toyota's September 2009 Brake Accumulator Update

Abbas Saadat’s defect information report for the D0H safety recall (NHTSA ID 13V-235) discusses the testing of brake accumulators in affected Prius vehicles.

The “October 2012 – May 2013” section of the “Chronology of Principle Events” section of Toyota’s D0H defect information report states, “The results of these tests confirmed that, if the amount of clearance is large, large impact forces may be exerted onto the metal bellows, which could result in gradual damage to the bellows. Toyota further analyzed the recovered in-use brake booster assemblies, and confirmed that a small number of brake boosters equipped with accumulators with large clearances were installed in vehicles produced before September 2009, when an updated brake accumulator, which was developed and introduced for other new models, was implemented in the subject vehicle production.”

This September 2009 brake accumulator manufacturing change was not disclosed in former NHTSA defect investigator Chris Santucci’s defect information report for Toyota’s A0B safety recall filed on February 9, 2010. Toyota’s A0B safety recall addressed “issues with the VSC/brake performance” and the fact that “customers are perceiving inconsistent brake feel after ABS actuation…”

As explained in Toyota’s Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the US Department of Justice, in which Toyota pled guilty to wire fraud for their illegal conduct during the Unintended Acceleration Scandal, “Although Toyota is not required to notify NHTSA of any engineering and design changes it made to Toyota and Lexus models sold in the United States, it is required to file a DIR for any safety-related defect addressed by such an engineering and/or design change.”

 

The Omission of the Brake Master Cylinder Assembly from the DIR

Toyota’s 13V-235 defect information report cover letter dated June 5, 2013 and signed by Abbas Saadat reads, “…we hereby submit the attached Defect Information Report…to address an issue with the brake booster pump assembly.”  The DIR continues in the “Description of Corrective Repair Action” section stating, “The dealer will inspect the brake booster pump assembly, and, if it is equipped with an affected accumulator, the dealer will replace the brake booster pump assembly with an improved one.”

The 13V-235 Defect Information Report does not mention a potential replacement of another brake related component – the Brake Master Cylinder Assembly (also referred to by Toyota as the Brake Booster Assembly).

The brake booster pump assembly and the brake booster assembly (aka brake master cylinder assembly) are separate components with different part numbers. Each part has distinct responsibilities pertaining to brake performance.

Toyota’s defect information report and dealer letter for the D0H safety recall do not mention the potential replacement the brake master cylinder assembly. However, it is referenced in the technical instructions for the D0H safety recall.

Toyota’s “Customer Frequently Asked Questions” published mid-July 2013 state, “…nitrogen gas could leak into the brake fluid and gradually cause al loss of power assist…this could affect stopping distance and increase the risk of a crash.”

It may be possible that a malfunction of the brake master cylinder causing one of the DTC codes to be present may not have occurred yet at the time the brake booster pump assembly was replaced under safety recall D0H. Even with the new brake booster pump assembly (containing the accumulator) installed a malfunction of the brake master cylinder causing a DTC code to be present may possibly occur in the future due to contaminants left behind from the old, defective brake booster assembly.

Toyota’s technical instructions state that the brake master cylinder assembly may only be replaced if Diagnostic Trouble Code (also known as DTC codes) C1246 or C1256 is already present within the vehicles. The presence of one of the DTC codes typically indicates that a malfunction or failure has already occurred in the system they pertain to (i.e. the brake system).

The limp-home (or fail-safe) mechanisms for DTC codes pertaining to the brake system include the vehicle having key mechanisms such as ABS, Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Control, and Traction Control “prohibited” due to the defect.

This scenario may lead to post-D0H recall completion brake malfunctions. Safety recalls are legally required to prevent a dangerous defect from occurring. Requiring a DTC code to be present in order to receive a safe component means the vehicle must experience the brake malfunction before the new part is provided by Toyota.

 

The C1256 DTC Code

Toyota’s technical instructions for the D0H safety recall instruct technicians to “Check and record DTCs.” Then, if DTC code C1256 is present, “replace the brake booster pump assembly (accumulator) AND the brake booster assembly.” (Emphasis in original)

Diagnostic Trouble Code C1256 indicates “Accumulator Low Pressure.”

Limp-Home mechanisms for the brake control system, or fail-safe mechanisms, pertaining to the C1256 DTC code include “prohibition” of ABS, Brake Assist, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control, and Electronic Brake Distribution.

Limp-Home mechanisms for the hydraulic system, or fail-safe mechanisms, pertaining to the C1256 DTC code include “braking force generated solely by the driver.”

Many complaints pertaining to the Prius brakes indicate that the brake pedal was pushed all the way to the floor but remained unresponsive. This scenario may be linked to the fact that “braking force” would be generated “solely by the driver” when there is a malfunction regarding pressurization in the system.

June 16, 2014 NHTSA ID NUMBER: 10598545

Components: STRUCTURE, SERVICE BRAKES

NHTSA ID Number: 10598545

Incident Date March 27, 2014

Consumer Location ANACORTES, WA

Vehicle Identification Number JTDKN3DU1B1****

Summary of Complaint

CRASHYes

FIRENo

INJURIES0

DEATHS0

WHILE PULLING INTO A PARKING SLOT IN A PARKING LOT, WHICH WAS ON A SLOPE, I APPLIED THE FOOT BRAKE WITHOUT ANY RESPONSE WHATSOEVER. THE VEHICLE GAINED ENOUGH SPEED TO JUMP THE SMALL STOP-CURB AND HIT A CONCRETE WALL NEXT TO IT. THE DAMAGE TO THE FRONT OF THE CAR WAS JUST OVER $4000. I THOUGHT I HAD MISSED THE PEDAL. ON JUNE 12TH AND 15TH, I HAD TWO MORE INCIDENTS OF THE BRAKE PEDAL GOING ALL THE WAY TO THE FLOOR WHILE EITHER AT SLOW SPEED OR STOPPED. MY DEALER SAYS IT WAS A PROBLEM ON THE 2010, BUT HE HAS NOT SEEN IT ON A 2011. MY WIFE NOW REFUSES TO DRIVE THE CAR. *TR

1 Affected Product 

Request Research (Services fees apply)

 

The Chronology of Principle Events

The Chronology of Principle Events section of Abbas Saadat’s D0H defect information report (NHTSA ID 13V-235) begins in the time period of May 2010 – October 2011. The first sentence of the section states, “Toyota received a field report from the U.S. market indicating ABS, TRAC, VSC, and brake warning lamp illumination and malfunctioning brakes.”

The beginning of the Chronology of Principle Events section does not state when the first field report was received from the Japan market or the U.S. market. It states Toyota received “a” field report during that time period.

There are multiple complaints available on NHTSA’s safercar.gov website “indicating ABS, TRAC, VSC, and brake warning lamp illumination and malfunctioning brakes before May 2010.

It is possible that Toyota’s publicly unavailable preliminary evaluation PE10-006 - launched by NHTSA prior to the 2010 A0B safety recall - could assist in verifying the accuracy of the Chronology of Principle events from the D0H defect information report.

 

THE ZJB WARRANTY ENHANCEMENT

On August 9, 2018 Toyota announced Warranty Enhancement ZJB (also known as a Customer Support Program). The Customer Support Program covers 250,700 model year 2010 Prius vehicles. The “Background” section of the ZJB documentation states, “Toyota has received reports about certain internal malfunctions of the brake booster assemblies in some of the subject vehicles.”

Toyota's D0H safety recall called for the replacement of over 85,000 Prius brake booster assemblies.

ZJB's “Primary Coverage” expires on November 19, 2019. “Secondary Coverage” is applicable for 10 years from the date of first use or 150,000 miles – whichever occurs first.

Toyota’s Frequently Asked Questions documentation states that the ZJB warranty enhancement, “only applies to vehicles that have exhibited the condition described above.”

Safety recalls are legally required to prevent a dangerous defect from occurring. A warranty enhancement is a reactionary repair that takes place after a defect has occurred.

 

Same Components as A0B and D0H - Just More 2010 Prius

Toyota’s ZJB documentation directs you to TSB 0079-18 which explains that the program covers repair and replacement of the Brake Master Cylinder Assembly, repair and replacement of the Brake Booster Pump Assembly, and the reprogramming of the Skid Control ECU.

The Skid Control ECU referred to in Toyota’s ZJB documentation is also referred to by Toyota as the ABS Actuator ECU in Toyota’s safety recall A0B documentation (released in February 2010) and the Brake Actuator Skid Control ECU in TSB 0363-10 (released in December 2010).

The Brake Booster Pump Assembly covered by Toyota’s ZJB documentation is referred to as the Brake Booster Pump Assembly with Accumulator in Toyota’s technical instructions for the 2013 D0H safety recall.

The Brake Booster covered by Toyota’s ZJB documentation is referred to as the Brake Booster Assembly in Toyota’s technical instructions for the 2013 D0H safety recall.

Safety Recall A0B covered approximately 133,000 2010 Prius vehicles. Safety Recall D0H covered approximately 82,000 2010 Prius vehicles. Warranty Enhancement ZJB covers over 250,000 2010 Prius vehicles.

Safety recalls are legally required to prevent a dangerous defect from occurring. A warranty enhancement is a reactionary repair that takes place after a defect has occurred.

 

The D0H "Remedy" Part Numbers

The technical instructions for Toyota’s D0H safety recall call for the replacement of the defective Brake Booster Pump Assembly with Accumulator (if the caution label is horizontally oriented). The technical instructions state that “approximately 97% of vehicles will require the accumulator replacement.”

Toyota’s “remedy” part number for the defective Brake Booster Pump Assembly with Accumulator for safety recall D0H is 47070-47060.  The 47070-47060 Brake Booster Pump Assembly part number was superseded by the new part number 04006-22147 under Toyota’s ZJB warranty enhancement.

Toyota's DoH safety recall employed "remedy" part numbers 47050-47140 or 17050-47150 when the Brake Master Cylinder Assembly had to be replaced. When the Brake Master Cylinder has to be replaced under Toyota’s ZJB warranty enhancement, the new part numbers 04002-33347 or 04002-33447 are used.

It is unknown why the “remedy” part numbers from Toyota’s D0H safety recall have been subject to a super-cession - which may indicate a design change of the part.

 

DTC Code C1256

Toyota’s Introduction on Technical Service Bulletin 0079-18 states, “Some 2010 model year Prius and Prius Plug In vehicles may exhibit a condition where the brake, ABS, and/or TRAC warning light(s) are on and/or a check VSC message displays. Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) C1391, C1252, C1256, and C1253 may be stored.”

according to the TSB if the C1256 DTC code is present, replacement of the Brake Booster Mastery Cylinder, replacement of the Brake Booster Pump Assembly, and re-programming of the Skid Control ECU is required.

According to the technical instructions for Toyota’s D0H safety recall, DTC code C1256 may be present when the vehicle is presented for the safety recall. If the DTC code was present in the vehicle under safety recall D0H, a replacement of the Brake Booster Master Cylinder Assembly and replacement of the Brake Booster Pump Assembly (with accumulator) is required.

Toyota’s ZJB warranty enhancement covers over 250,000 Prius vehicles including and unknown volume of “2010” Prius Plug In vehicles.

Only 82,000 Prius were covered by safety recall D0H. There were no Prius Plug In vehicles covered by safety recall D0H or safety recall A0B.

 

2010 Model Year Prius Plug In

Only 82,000 Prius were covered by safety recall D0H - none of them were Prius Plug In hybrids. Toyota’s ZJB warranty enhancement covers over 250,000 Prius vehicles including an unknown volume of 2010 Prius Plug In vehicles manufactured between Late November 2009 and Late October 2010.

Interestingly, the Toyota Prius Plug In model was not for sale in the United States until the 2012 model year.

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Are the Brakes Defective in Gen III and Gen II Prius Vehicles?

bad brake system in a prius

DO CERTAIN GENERATION II & III PRIUS VEHICLES HAVE A DANGEROUS BRAKE DEFECT?

Gen III Prius - Brake Boost Pump Assemblies & Brake Master Cylinder Assembly

Gen II Prius – Brake Actuator Assembly

Currently, NHTSA’s safercar.gov website contains over 1800 complaints pertaining to the brake system in 2010-2015 generation III Prius vehicles. Of these 1800 complaints, at least 42 of complaints include “crashes” detailing at least 17 injuries . At least 31 of these crashes and 10 of these injuries occurred or were reported to NHTSA while Toyota was under the probationary period of its deferred prosecution agreement with the United States Department of Justice for its illegal conduct during the Unintended Acceleration scandal.

These stories of potential brake failure in Prius vehicles have led Congressman Olson of the 22nd District of Texas to reach out to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on behalf of a constituent who desired more details about Toyota's actions regarding the brakes in her 2010 Prius. In a letter to Toyota the constituent stated she experienced “a major safety issue” because “the brakes did not work properly” in her 2010 Prius. She continued stating, “I do not understand why I was not notified of a potential safety issue with the brakes which could endanger my family and others.” Documentation from the local Toyota dealership stated the 2010 Prius needed a new “ABS accumulator and actuator” costing over $4,500. She had to pay for the replacement parts out of her own pocket.

Another Prius brake failure story details how the driver of a 2013 Prius - who had crashed into the back of another vehicle - had their “failure to control” citation overturned by an Arizona court of law upon review of the Prius’ “Crash Data Retrieval” data gathered using Bosch equipment. Documentation from the Tucson City Court shows the judge ruled that, “Car data appears to show that the vehicle brakes malfunctioned/failed to properly engage when applied.” Car data refers to the “Crash Data Retrieval” information - often referred to as black box data - that was extracted from the 2013 Prius after the accident. The driver provided an explanation of the findings to the court stating, “It’s obvious…that I applied the brakes with plenty of time (3.65 seconds) to safely stop my vehicle. What the data also indicates is that there was a catastrophic failure of the brake system.”

Despite many complaints regarding the brakes in 2010-2015 generation III Prius vehicles – including those on NHTSA’s safercar.gov website detailing crashes and injuries - only a certain number 2010 model year Prius vehicles have been subject to a safety recall addressing a defect in the brakes. Toyota issued safety recall A0B in February 2010 covering approximately 133,000 2010 Prius vehicles and safety recall D0H in June 2013 covering about 82,000 2010 Prius vehicles. However, Toyota has not acknowledged a safety defect regarding the brakes in some model year 2010s and has not acknowledged a safety defect in any 2011 – 2015 model year generation III Prius vehicles.

Stories describing similar brake malfunctions in generation II Prius vehicles are also plentiful online. Despite many complaints regarding the brakes 2004-2009 generation II Prius vehicles – including over 1200 on NHTSA’s safercar.gov website – Toyota has never acknowledged a safety defect in generation II Prius vehicles. NHTSA’s safercar.gov website contains complaints detailing at least 35 crashes and 22 injuries classified under brake-related categories. At least 12 of the crashes and 8 of the injuries occurred or were reported to NHTSA during the probationary period of Toyota’s deferred prosecution agreement with the United States Department of Justice.

Toyota has never conducted a safety recall to prevent these types of brake issues in generation II Prius vehicles. In August 2016, when many of the covered models were over a decade old, Toyota issued Warranty Enhancement ZG1. ZG1 covers “internal malfunctions of the Brake Actuator assembly” for about 736,000 vehicles including generation II Prius, Highlander Hybrids, and nearly 200,000 Lexus vehicles.  Toyota’s ZG1 warranty enhancement expired on December 31, 2017. After expiration the owner of a generation II Prius that experiences an “internal malfunction of the brake actuator assembly” has no enhanced warranty coverage. Toyota may also refuse to reimburse Prius owners if they apply to be paid back for covering the expensive brake repair out of pocket years ago.

Safety recalls are legally required to prevent a dangerous defect from occurring. Warranty Enhancements require the failure to occur prior to receiving replacement parts.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Compendium, “Manufacturers of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment are responsible under U.S. law for both notifying NHTSA and conducting a safety recall campaign when they discover a safety related defect…in motor vehicles or equipment that they manufacture.” NHTSA’s Compendium continues to define “Motor Vehicle Safety” as, “the performance of motor vehicles or items of motor vehicle equipment in such a manner that the public is protected against unreasonable risk of accidents occurring as a result of the design, construction, or performance of motor vehicles…”

You can read more about Toyota’s actions while under the probationary period of their deferred prosecution agreement with the United States Department of Justice here.

The Statement of Facts from Toyota's Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the US Department of Justice contained the following statement regarding Toyota's attitude toward conducting a safety recall:

 

READ ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE PRIUS BRAKE DEFECT BY CLICKING HERE

 

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DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE COROLLA’S TRANSMISSION DEFECT YET?

grey toyota corolla

Why Don't You Know About Your Corolla's CVT Transmission Defect Yet?

Update August 2, 2018 - Toyota announced Special Service Campaign JSD to address the defect in the covered Corolla CVTs. Owner notification letters should be mailed. 

On March 18, 2018 Toyota announced Special Service Campaign J0D to its dealers. SSC J0D covers approximately 1.3 million vehicles including certain 2014 – 2017 MY Toyota Corolla vehicles, certain 2017 MY Toyota Corolla iM vehicles, and certain 2016 MY Scion iM Vehicles.

Toyota explained that a component within the CVT (continuous variable transaxle or transmission) could become damaged leading to “warning lights” and a spontaneous “reduction of speed” in which the car can “be operated up to approximately 37 mph.”

Toyota executives did not classify this campaign as a Safety Recall, but as a Special Service Campaign. You can read about the CVT defect Honda classified as a Safety Recall here. You can read about the CVT defect Mitsubishi classified as a Safety Recall here.

Mitsubishi explained their classification of the defect as an unreasonable risk to safety stating:

"If the range switch momentarily experiences a loss of signal, this may result in reduced vehicle acceleration. Unexpected reduction in available acceleration during every day driving, such as acceleration from a stop, merging on to a freeway, or turning left against traffic, could result in an increased risk of an accident."

Special Service Campaigns are not as stringently monitored as Safety Recalls by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. For example, uncompleted Special Service Campaigns are not listed on NHTSA’s vin specific safety recall check tool on the SaferCar.gov website. Uncompleted Safety Recalls are listed. Historically the completion rates for Specials Service Campaigns are also lower than Safety Recalls.

Toyota acknowledged a known CVT defect on March 18, 2018 through letters to their dealers. However, Toyota has not notified owners of affected Corollas and iMs about the potential of their vehicle experiencing a spontaneous “reduction of speed” accompanied by illumination of “warning lights.” (update: Toyota has since launched SSC JSD and notices have been mailed)

Similar to past potentially inadequate “remedies”, Toyota attempted to utilize a software update as the “remedy” for the CVT defect in affected Corollas instead of replacing hardware. Almost immediately problems with the software update “remedy” became apparent. The CVTs in affected Corollas began failing and experiencing a “reduction of speed” (among other symptoms) after receiving the software update “remedy”.

On April 11, 2018 Tom Trisdale, Toyota’s Vice President of Product Quality and Service Support, sent correspondence to dealers suspending the J0D Special Service Campaign and instructing dealers to stop performing the software update “remedy” on affected Toyotas.

Surprisingly, Tom Trisdale also states in his correspondence that, “As the owner notification schedule was April 2018, Toyota has not yet sent owner notifications about Special Service Campaign J0D. Toyota will notify owners when J0D is no longer suspended.”

The J0D campaign is still suspended as of the publishing of this post and many owners have not been notified. It is unclear how many CVT failures have occurred on unsuspecting Corolla drivers throughout the United States since the suspension of the J0D Special Service Campaign.

Additionally, Toyota has often replaced the failed defective CVTs with “remanufactured” CVTs. One Toyota owner who had put less than 700 miles on the odometer of his new Corolla had a CVT failure and received a remanufactured CVT transmission from Toyota.

While 2018 Toyota Corollas share the same CVT part number, they were not included in the J0D Special Service Campaign.

Before announcing Special Service Campaign J0D Toyota had released Technical Service Bulletins for CVT conditions.

Below are some complaints registered on NHTSA’s www.safercar.gov website.

 

April 17, 2018 NHTSA ID NUMBER: 11088606

Components: FUEL/PROPULSION SYSTEM, VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL

NHTSA ID Number: 11088606

Incident Date March 30, 2018

Consumer Location CARRIERE, MS

Vehicle Identification Number 5YFBURHEXHP****

Summary of Complaint

CRASHNo

FIRENo

INJURIES0

DEATHS0

WAS DRIVING IN MIDDLE LANE OF INTERSTATE 10 WHEN VEHICLE LOST POWER. CAR WOULD NOT ACCELERATE. CAR COASTED FOR APPROX. 5 MINUTES. HAD TO PUT ON EMERGENCY FLASHER, PUT CAR IN PARK TO RESTART ENGINE. CARS COMING UP BEHIND ME DOING 75/80/85 MILES PER HOUR AND HAD TO SWERVE IMMEDIATELY TO KEEP FROM HITTING MY VEHICLE. I HAD A FRIEND IN PASSENGER SEAT AND WE WERE BOTH SCARED FOR OUR LIVES. TO THIS DAY, I AM AFRAID TO DRIVE ON INTERSTATE OR ANY OTHER BUSY HIGHWAY BECAUSE TOYOTA SAID THEY COULD NOT FIND ANY PROBLEM.

1 Affected Product 

Request Research (Services fees apply)

 

May 15, 2018 NHTSA ID NUMBER: 11093969

Components: POWER TRAIN

NHTSA ID Number: 11093969

Incident Date April 27, 2018

Consumer Location PERU, IL

Vehicle Identification Number N/A

Summary of Complaint

CRASHNo

FIRENo

INJURIES0

DEATHS0

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2014 TOYOTA COROLLA. THE CONTACT STATED THAT THE CHECK ENGINE INDICATOR ILLUMINATED. WHILE DRIVING AT UNKNOWN SPEEDS, THE ACCELERATOR PEDAL WAS APPLIED AND TRAVELED TO THE FLOORBOARD. THE VEHICLE FAILED TO ACCELERATE. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO AN INDEPENDENT MECHANIC WHERE THE CODES WERE RESET. THE MECHANIC REFERRED THE CONTACT TO A DEALER. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO A LOCAL DEALER (BILL WALSH TOYOTA, 4000 N COLUMBUS STREET, OTTAWA, IL 61350) WHERE IT WAS DIAGNOSED THAT THE TRANSMISSION NEEDED TO BE REPLACED. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT REPAIRED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOTIFIED AND OPENED CASE NUMBER: 181200125. THE MANUFACTURER STATED THAT THE VEHICLE WAS NOT INCLUDED IN A RECALL NOR WAS IT UNDER WARRANTY. THE VIN WAS UNKNOWN. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 70,777.

1 Affected Product 

Request Research (Services fees apply)

 

June 11, 2018 NHTSA ID NUMBER: 11101175

Components: POWER TRAIN, VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL

NHTSA ID Number: 11101175

Incident Date June 11, 2018

Consumer Location DULUTH, GA

Vehicle Identification Number 5YFBPRHE3FP****

Summary of Complaint

CRASHNo

FIRENo

INJURIES0

DEATHS0

SPECIAL SERVICE CAMPAIGN J0D - REMEDY NOTICE CERTAIN 2014 - 2017 MODEL YEAR COROLLA VEHICLES CERTAIN 2017 MODEL YEAR COROLLA IM VEHICLES CERTAIN 2016 MODEL YEAR SCION IM VEHICLES - (SUSPENDED)

VEHICLE WILL LOSE ACCELERATION OR NOT ACCELERATE AFTER COMING TO A COMPLETE STOP AND TRYING TO ACCELERATE. VEHICLE WAS SERVICED AT TOYOTA SERVICE CENTER FOR A SIMILAR ISSUE INCLUDING AN IDLE ISSUE. ACCELERATION ISSUE COULD NOT BE REPLICATED, BUT STILL HAPPENED SEVERAL TIMES AFTERWARDS. INITIAL ISSUES STARTED AT 8K MILES AND HAS BEEN SERVICED ON TIME, MULTIPLE TIMES FOR SAME ISSUE WITH NO RESOLVE. TOYOTA HAS ISSUED A RECALL IN MARCH 2018 FOR ISSUE AND SUSPENDED IT DUE TO THE RECALL MAKING THE ISSUES WORSE. NO SOLUTION OR OTHER SERVICE OFFERED TO REPAIR PROBLEM.

1 Affected Product 

Request Research (Services fees apply)

 

May 26, 2018 NHTSA ID NUMBER: 11098047

Components: ENGINE, VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL, UNKNOWN OR OTHER

NHTSA ID Number: 11098047

Incident Date May 23, 2018

Consumer Location Unknown

Vehicle Identification Number 5YFBURHE4HP****

Summary of Complaint

CRASHNo

FIRENo

INJURIES0

DEATHS0

BOUGHT THE CAR LAST APRIL, IT HAS GIVEN ME NO PROBLEMS, UNTIL NOW. THE CAR START TO LOOSE ACCELERATION WHEN DRIVING ALMOST GOT INTO TWO CAR ACCIDENT ON THE ROAD, CALLED TOYOTA BUT THEY WANT TO CHARGE ME TO INSPECT THE CAR, THE CAR SEEMS TO BE STUCK ON GEARS LIKE IF IT WAS ON NEATRUAL.

1 Affected Product 

Request Research (Services fees apply)

 

February 28, 2018 NHTSA ID NUMBER: 11075447

Components: POWER TRAIN

NHTSA ID Number: 11075447

Incident Date February 21, 2018

Consumer Location MIAMI, FL

Vehicle Identification Number 2T1BURHE4EC****

Summary of Complaint

CRASHNo

FIRENo

INJURIES0

DEATHS0

PURCHASED CAR ON 2014 ON 02/21/2018, 4 YEARS LATER THE CAR SLOWS DOWN WHILE DRIVING ON THE HIGHWAY. I PULL OVER TO THE SIDE MEDIAN AND TOW THE CAR TO TOYOTA DEALER. THEY EXPLAINED THE TRANSMISSION LOCKED IT WILL NEED A NEW ONE FOR 6K OR REBUILT FOR 3K. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN TO A 4 YEAR OLD TOYOTA .

1 Affected Product 

Request Research (Services fees apply)

 

September 30, 2017 NHTSA ID NUMBER: 11030609

Components: POWER TRAIN

NHTSA ID Number: 11030609

Incident Date September 29, 2017

Consumer Location WHITE PLAINS, NY

Vehicle Identification Number 2T1BURHEXEC****

Summary of Complaint

CRASHNo

FIRENo

INJURIES0

DEATHS0

DRIVING AT 30 MPH, CAR ON ITS OWN DOWNSHIFTS TO LOW GEAR WHILE IN DRIVE MODE. HAPPENED 2 TIMES IN HEAVY AFTERNOON DRIVE TRAFFIC ON SIDE ROADS. TRANSMISSION IS JERKY UP HILLS. DOESN'T HAPPEN AT FREEWAY SPEEDS, BUT CAME TO A STOP OFF THE FREEWAY, AND THEN COULDN'T GET IT OUT OF LOW GEAR. BECAUSE I CAN'T TRAVEL AS FAST AND TRAFFIC BEHIND ME, CAUSES AN ENORMOUS SAFETY PROBLEM. DEALER SAYS COMPUTER SAYS NOTHING WRONG. COROLLA HAS FEWER THAN 69,000 MILES ON IT.

1 Affected Product 

Request Research (Services fees apply)

 

May 24, 2018 NHTSA ID NUMBER: 11097741

Components: POWER TRAIN

NHTSA ID Number: 11097741

Incident Date May 24, 2018

Consumer Location ALPHA, NJ

Vehicle Identification Number 2T1BURHE7FC****

Summary of Complaint

CRASHNo

FIRENo

INJURIES0

DEATHS0

AN INTERMITTENT PROBLEM WITH THE TRANSMISSION: THE VEHICLE WILL DOWNSHIFT EXTREMELY HARD WHEN ACCELERATING. THIS PROBLEM OFTEN HAPPENS WHEN GOING UPHILL AND CAN BE VERY STARTLING. THE DOWNSHIFT IS JOLTING AND IS BY NO MEANS A NORMAL DOWNSHIFT. THE VEHICLE HAS BEEN BROUGHT ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS TO THE DEALER WHICH THE CAR WAS PURCHSED. THE DEALER HAS BEEN UNABLE TO DUPLICATE THE PROBLEM WHEN TEST DRIVING. THE INTERMITTENT PROBLEM HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR OVER A YEAR.

1 Affected Product 

Request Research (Services fees apply)

 

Click here to lodge a complaint with the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration.

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IS TOYOTA MIS-CLASSIFYING SAFETY DEFECTS AS LIMITED SERVICE CAMPAIGNS?

toyota camry

Safety Recall F0C vs Limited Service Campaign F0B

Toyota announced Safety Recall F0C in mid-January covering certain 2014 and 2015 Prius V because passenger airbags may not deploy properly.

When Toyota acknowledged a similar condition related to airbag non-deployment affecting the passenger airbags of about 750,000 Camrys, Avalons, Yaris, and Prius C models, Toyota launched Limited Service Campaign F0B . Toyota assigned an expiration date of December 31, 2017 to Limited Service Campaign F0B. After the LSC “expires”, Toyota will no longer cover the cost of repairing the defect.

Once the Limited Service Campaign “expires” a vehicle is eligible to be sold as a Toyota Certified Used Vehicle (TCUV) - even if the defect is un-repaired.

When Nissan experienced a similar condition leading to non-deploying airbags in certain 2012 model year vehicles, they issued a Safety Recall .

Limited Service Campaign F0B

Safety Recall F0C

Toyotas Covered

Approx. 753,000

Toyotas Covered

Approx. 5,000

Potential Cost of Repair

Up to $560.00

Potential Cost of Repair

$44.00

Potential Expense of Campaign

Up to $421,680,000

(at 100% completion rate)

Potential Expense of Campaign

$220,000

(at 100% completion rate)

Toyota’s Description of the Defect

“The front passenger seat assembly is equipped with sensors for the occupant classification system which are used to control the operation of supplemental restraint systems (SRS), including the front passenger airbag. The sensors classify the weight of the occupant and activate or deactivate the front passenger airbag accordingly. Additionally, the sensors are used to detect certain vehicle collisions. Due to the current collision detection thresholds, the system may interpret certain occupant seating usages or road conditions as a rear collision and illuminate the Airbag Warning Light and “AIR BAG OFF” indicator, disabling the front passenger air bag.”

Toyota’s Description of the Defect

“The front passenger seat of the subject vehicle is equipped with an occupant classification system (OCS) which activates or deactivates the passenger seat air bag system depending on the weight of the occupant. Due to an improper calibration procedure performed during the manufacturing process at a particular facility, the OCS may not have been calibrated properly. If an OCS is not calibrated properly, the vehicle fails to meet certain requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 208: Occupant Crash Protection. This could prevent a deployment of an air bag, increasing the risk of an injury to a front seat passenger in the event of crash.”

Models Covered

Models Covered

Certain 2012-2013 Camry

Certain 2012-2013 Camry Hybrid

Certain 2012-2013 Prius C

Certain 2012-2013 Yaris

Certain 2013 Avalon

Certain 2013 Avalon Hybrid

Certain 2014-2015 Prius V

 

Have a family member or friend with a Prius? Click here.

 

Is Toyota Mis-classifying Safety Defects as Limited Service Campaigns?

According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration’s Safety Recall Compendium , “manufacturers of motor vehicles…are responsible under U.S. law for both notifying NHTSA and conducting a safety recall campaign when they discover a safety related defect or a noncompliance with federal safety standards in motor vehicles or equipment that they manufacture.”

Toyota often has to cover all or a portion of the cost associated with a Safety Recall or other types of Service Campaigns. Since Toyota has about 15% of the automotive market share in the United States, safety recalls may bring billion-dollar expenses.

If Toyota were to make a “safety defect determination” regarding a defect in its vehicles, federal law requires that it be reported to NHTSA within 5 days . When Toyota makes a Safety Defect Determination they are also required to file a Defect Information Report - containing information such as the chronology of events, parts suppliers, and proposed remedy - with the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration.

In the Statement of Facts laying out Toyota’s actions during the Unintended Acceleration scandal, an email explained one Toyota executive’s attitude toward the Unintended Acceleration recall:

When Toyota determines that a defect in one of its vehicles is not “safety-related” they may utilize a number classifications. Such classifications include Technical Service Bulletin, Limited Service Campaign, Special Service Campaign, and Warranty Enhancement (Customer Support Program). These classifications do not require that Toyota file a Defect Information Report with the NHTSA and the completion rates are not as stringently monitored as those of a Safety Recall.

NHTSA tracks completion rates of Safety Recalls and requires re-notifications be sent to owners with outstanding campaigns until the completion rates improve. Limited Service Campaigns do not have this federal requirement.

Un-repaired Limited Service Campaigns do not show up when a vehicle’s VIN number is entered into NHTSA’s safercar.gov website. Only un-repaired Safety Recalls do.

Below are Toyota’s definitions from their www.Toyota.com/recall website.

When completion rates decrease – so does the cost of the campaign. Consumer Affairs recently published an article about classifications of vehicle defects.

Petition for Exemption

According the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, if a manufacturer discovers a defect and does not want to make a “safety defect determination” triggering enhanced federal scrutiny, they are supposed to file a Petition for Exemption .

This allows NHTSA to review the defect and approve or deny the petition. Denial may trigger a Safety Recall.

Want to search the Federal Registry to see if Toyota filed a Petition for Exemption for Limited Service Campaign F0B? Click here.

Other Toyota Limited Service Campaigns

Here are a few other campaigns classified as Limited Service Campaigns by Toyota.

In Toyota’s E0U Limited Service Campaign , “the subject vehicles contain a brake reservoir which has two separate chambers connected by a filter. This filter may become clogged, resulting in illumination of the Brake ( ) warning lamp due to low fluid level in one of the reservoir chambers. Under certain conditions this could cause additional warning lamps shown below to illuminate and front brake assist could be temporarily lost.”

Toyota’s E0U Limited Service Campaign expired on June 30, 2017. Toyota will no longer cover the cost of the “remedy”.

In Toyota’s E0N Limited Service Campaign , “the Pre-Collision System (PCS) uses a radar sensor to determine the possibility of a frontal collision. FCC regulations require the radar sensor to be temporarily inactive while the vehicle is stopped. Due to a program error in the Driving Support ECU, if the radar sensor is inactive for 10 seconds or more, the PCS may not reactivate on certain 2011-2014 Model Year Sienna vehicles equipped with PCS.”

Toyota’s E0N Limited Service Campaign expired on June 30, 2017. Toyota will no longer cover the cost of the “remedy”.

In Toyota’s D0N Limited Service Campaign , “due to an assembly error during manufacturing, the Rear Driveshaft in certain 2011-2012 Model Year Highlander Hybrid vehicles can disengage from its inboard joint assembly. If this occurs, the driveshaft could vibrate and rattle inside the inboard joint, causing a loud noise from the rear of the vehicle while driving. Continuing to drive the vehicle can damage the housing of the Rear Differential Motor. If the housing is damaged, the entire differential motor would also require replacement.”

Toyota’s D0N Limited Service Campaign expired on October 31, 2016. Toyota will no longer cover the cost of the “remedy”.

In Toyota’s F0N Limited Service Campaign , “the subject vehicles may illuminate a Check Engine warning lamp due to software programming for continuous variable valve lift control. If this condition occurs, the vehicle may experience a reduction in power.”

Toyota’s F0N Limited Service Campaign expires on June 30, 2018. After that date passes, Toyota will no longer cover the cost of the “remedy”.

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The Dangers of Limp-Home (aka Fail-Safe) Driving Mode

“I’ve never lost power before,” Anderson said, adding that the experience left her shook up. “I just thought, ‘Please, God, let me out of here.’ I was lucky I wasn’t on the freeway.”

-February 7, 2018, LA Times article by Ralph Vartabedian

  • In addition to the warning lights and buzzers, reduction of power, and reduction of speed associated with limp home (aka fail safe) mode, over 80% of post-E0E inverter failures result in the loss of ABS (anti-lock Brakes), BA (Brake Assist), VSC (Vehicle Stability Control), and TRAC (Traction Control).
  • In the ZE3 Warranty Enhancement FAQs (link), Toyota refers to Fail-Safe mode as “Limp-Home Mode”.
  • In its ZE3 documentation, Toyota states fail safe (aka Limp Home Mode), “is a form of vehicle self-protection” that may “reduce vehicle power to minimize potential component damage.” They continue the description saying, “…you will notice a reduction in power and speed.
  • In NHTSA’s E0E Recall Acknowledgement (link) sent by Jennifer Timian to Abbas Saadat on February 13, 2014, NHTSA states as the Problem Description of an inverter failure as, “various warning lamps will be illuminated on the instrument panel and the vehicle will have reduced power allowing it to only drive a short distance.
  • On February 6, 2018 Toyota’s Tom Trisdale, Vice-President, Product Quality and Service Support, sent correspondence (link) to Toyota dealers stating, “…the safety recall remedy addresses the safety defect. It is designed to ensure that the vehicle will enter a fail-safe driving mode in the unlikely event of an intelligent power module failure.” Here is how (link to SOFaddress) Toyota used the word “addresses” during Unintended Acceleration.

“It is an extreme safety hazard,” he said. “It is intended to limit damage to the inverter.”

-Attorney Skip Miller, February 7, 2018, LA Times article by Ralph Vartabedian

  • Limp-Home Mode (aka Fail-Safe Mode) is described by Toyota in their Frequently Asked Questions (link) section of the E0E safety recall documentation. Toyota states, “All of the following warning lights and messages will be illuminated on the instrument panel when the vehicle enters fail-safe driving mode (aka limp-home mode). The fail-safe driving mode will result in reduced power under which the vehicle can still be driven for short distances.” Toyota continues stating, “The distance a vehicle will continue to travel in fail-safe driving mode will vary based upon the hybrid batter state of charge and the road conditions.” If your Prius has a low battery it will may experience a shut down.
  • Toyota’s Defect Information Report, in the July 2012 – June 2013 section, states “The fail-safe mode allows the vehicle to be safely operated at reduced speeds.” Therefore, if you are driving at an accelerated speed when your vehicle enters fail-safe mode, your Prius can not be operated safely. Do you drive your Prius on the freeway? In the fast lane? On fast moving highways?
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Toyota’s Knowledge of the Inadequate and Unsafe E0E Safety Recall Remedy

Toyota Talk

"When implemented, the software change lessens the likelihood of a failure…”

- Toyota Los Angeles Region General Manger Alec Hagey , October 27, 2017

  • Around August 2014, six months after issuing safety recall E0E, Toyota issued Warranty Enhancement Program ZE3 (link to ZE3-Warranty Enhancement). ZE3 provides coverage for the IPM and “other internal inverter components” for 15 years with no mileage limitation from the date of first use. Prius drivers must have safety recall E0E completed before they can be eligible for the ZE3 warranty enhancement.
  • A safety recall is legally required (link to Recall Remedy Federal Law) to prevent a dangerous situation from occurring. A warranty repair is a reactionary repair completed after the component fails and the dangerous situation has already occurred.
  • The replacement part numbers are the same for the E0E safety recall (link to E0Epartnumbers) and the ZE3 warranty extension (link to ZE3partnumbers).
  • Toyota states the Diagnostic Trouble Codes on a pre-E0E inverter failure (link to E0Edtccodes) are P0A94, P3004, P0A1A, and P324E. Toyota states the Diagnostic Trouble Codes on a post-E0E failure covered under the ZE3 (link to ZE3dtccodes) warranty enhancement are P0A94, P3004, P0A1A, and P324E. Over 80% of post-E0E inverter failures have DTC P0A94 stored in the Prius.
  • In the Frequently Asked Questions of the ZE3 Warranty Enhancement Toyota states, “This Warranty Enhancement Program only applies to vehicles that have exhibited the condition described above.” Prius drivers with the E0E safety recall remedy completed must experience an inverter failure before Toyota will provide the ZE3 warranty repair.
  • Toyota distributed post-E0E inverters and internal inverter components through a system called “manual allocation control”. Toyota required dealers to send an email (link) with the VIN number and the reason the Prius needed an inverter repair (i.e. a post-E0E inverter failure) before they would send the replacement inverter assembly or internal inverter components.
  • In addition to the Manual Allocation Control emails, Toyota documents all post-E0E inverter failure warranty claims filed by its dealers. These warranty claims require Toyota-issued op codes with descriptions (link to TSB 0036-16OpCodes), which specify what repair was done, be listed. In the majority of cases Toyota also requests the failed components, including post-remedy failed inverters and internal inverter components, be shipped back to them when the warranty repair is completed.
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Inverter Failures – Before the Re-Flash and After the Re-flash

Before E0E Re-Flash

Various Warning Lamps Illuminate

Prius enters Limp-Home aka Fail Safe Mode
Reduction in power
Reduction in speed
Reduction in drivability
Common loss of ABS, BA, VSC, and TRAC

Potential Complete Shut Down of Prius

DTC codes P0A94, P0A1A, P3004, and P324E

After E0E Re-Flash

Various Warning Lamps Illuminate

Prius enters Limp-Home aka Fail Safe Mode
Reduction in power
Reduction in speed
Reduction in drivability
Common loss of ABS, BA, VSC, and TRAC

Potential Complete Shut Down of Prius

DTC codes P0A94, P0A1A, P3004, and P324E

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Financial Implications of the Cheap Software Re-flash

Levine and others compare Toyota’s software fixes to Apple’s secret modification of software that controls the iPhone, slowing down the device as the battery ages and loses its ability to hold a full charge. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department said in January they were launching investigations into Apple’s practices.

-February 18, 2018 LA Times article by Ralph Vartabedian

  • Toyota’s cost of the E0E software re-flash remedy is approximately $80 per vehicle. The cost of replacing an inverter assembly is approximately $2,000 per vehicle.