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Toyota Will Repair Prius Heat Risk Problems

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On: Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 2:10PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Will Repair Prius Heat Risk Problems

Toyota has announced that it will pay to repair approximately 650,000 Priuses for problems with overheating and losing power. A notice to Toyota dealers explains in detail how to repair the defective Prius models from the 2004 to 2007 model years. Most of the Prius models with defective coolant pumps are in the United States—370,000 vehicles.

Toyota Motor Corporation is volunteering to repair the approximately 650,000 Priuses at an average cost of $100 per vehicle for a defect in the coolant pump. Toyota reports that the electric water pump allows air into the system, slowing the circulation of the coolant fluid and potentially allowing the components to heat up. Subsequently, the warning light would be triggered and, if not attended to, the engine could switch into a “fail safe” mode causing the Prius to lose power.

Although there have been rumors that electric hybrids have a higher incidence of potential fires, in fact, electric car fires are still few and far between, and there are many more combustion engine cars overheating and catching fire than electric ones. There have been no reports of major fires involving a factory-built, highway-capable electric vehicle; however; in the world of electric vehicle conversions engine fires have been common.

Toyota stated that there have not been any reports of injuries related to the potential overheating issue with the defective pump that has the main purpose of cooling the hybrid system.

Toyota is reporting that the repair campaign is NOT a safety recall, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is not involved because the potential problems with the Prius vehicles do not pose a safety problem.

United States Prius owners will start receiving notification the first part of December. Repairs include using an alternate pump system in the defective vehicles as well as in future Prius models.

Since November of 2009, Toyota has recalled a total of 15.4 million vehicles around the world and 11 million units in the United States.

The repair campaign comes at a time when the Japanese automaker is struggling to separate its reputation from news of any more recalls that could further damage the company’s safety and dependability ratings in the consumer's eye.

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