Help - 2010 Prius-III will not Start - With Video

Discussion in 'Toyota Prius Family' started by LadySpirit, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. LadySpirit

    LadySpirit Member

    Hi All:

    My parents have been having a problem starting their third generation Prius for about 6-months now. From a once every two to three week occurrence to an everyday occurrence this past week, something is going on that I do not have an answer for. I have driven their car about once a month since its purchase and have never experienced the Fail to “Ready” Mode – Start so I had my mom video it with her explanations. Watch the Green and Orange lights on the Start button during the narration and screen displays in particular. It appears as if they are locking in ACC mode (is holding down the button for 2-seconds to reboot even needed?) but let me know your experience. According to my mom, she has held down the button for a much longer period then 2 seconds and it will still not reboot sometimes.

    It appears as if the Prius is locking in on ACC mode but let me know once you view the video. My parents are becoming afraid that their Prius will not start when they drive it somewhere and I wanted to make sure it was nothing they are doing wrong before moving it up beyond the local Toyota dealership (Car Max in Kenosha, WI).

    The “problem” occurs usually after they have driven the car for 5 to 30-minutes and allow it to sit in the parking lot of wherever they are. When they get back in to go home, they experience this problem on an ever increasing occurrence basis.

    Click on the YouTube logo to watch it in full screen at 480p to 1080p on your own PC if you could and provide feedback ASAP.


    Thanks again

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2011
  2. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Re: Help - 2010 Prius-III will not Start with Video

    I watched it a few times and I couldn't see anything about what she was doing that I would expect to result in failure to start. In my 2G it goes straight into "ready" any time I push the start button with foot on the brake (unless it's already ready, in which case it shuts back down). Granted, I don't have a 3rd gen so I'm not familiar with any peculiarities of the system. In the 2G there is no 2-second delay or button hold for anything to happen so I don't really understand that part of the description.

    One thing that comes to mind is the classic weak 12V battery thing. When the 12V battery is on its way out in a Prius, the gremlins come out in force. All kinds of odd behavior can result, including start-up symptoms. That sort of thing would get worse quickly when the weather turns cold. (Right about this time of year!) I say get a read on battery voltage under load (acc mode) and blame that first if it's dropping much below 12V.
  3. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    You are not holding the button until the ready light comes on. It thinks you have activated the ignition and when you do it again you have put the car into ignition 2. By repeatedly pressing the power button you are turning it off. It started the last time because you where more diligent. Take time and read your manual so you understand how the system works! Good luck, H
  4. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Harold:

    I do not remember holding the Start button until the ready light comes on. Are you sure about that?

  5. Rokeby

    Rokeby Gen II Prianista

    +1 on the possibility of a weak 12V battery. But given the age of the car, that would require
    either the dealer failed to fully charge it and repeatedly driving very short distances, or the
    battery has been deeply discharged once or twice. Typical 12V service life is ~4 yrs with
    some reduction in extremely hot or cold areas.

    It would be a good idea to check the tightness of the battery connections, especially the
    connection of the small ground wire to the bodywork. The battery is in the rear, under the
    hatch floor and spare tire. It takes a bit of digging to get to it.

    I have not heard of "rebooting" by holding the start/power button for 2 seconds before.
    At least on the Gen II, depressing the start/power button for 2 seconds is for emergency
    engine shut down.

    The problem may have to do with depressing the brake pedal. It is possible that the switch
    that sends the "brake pedal is depressed" signal is out of alignment. IIRC, there are actually
    2 switches; one for the brake lights, and one for the "OK to initiate the start sequence" signal.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011
  6. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Yes, you do have an issue. On your video, it shows that the car is not going through the proper boot sequence. The only light on the left is the anti skid. During the proper boot, the yellow triangle lights up as well as many other idiot lights. As you can see in the video, I push the button very quickly. It's not a push and hold.


    I didn't record it but without my foot on the brake, I started the accessory mode. When it starts, the only thing illuminated is the radio. The dash is dark.
  7. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    On my 2006 I just push the button-foot on brake- and that is it.Probably less than .2 second of "hold"
    Our 2006 also has the original battery- -5.5 years of service and probably 6 years old.
    There is something wrong with that vehicle.
    PS Yes when $$ situation improves the battery is first order of business.
  8. LadySpirit

    LadySpirit Member

    I too am inclined to think the battery may be a contributor to the problem. Since new, the car starter would only require a "brief" push as with MS's car. I remember commenting to Wayne about nine months ago that the starter was getting slower as it required me to hold the button down longer -- but it did eventually start.

    About six months ago, the no start problem began. A key factor is that it doesn't happen when the car has been sitting in the garage overnight. It seems only to happen after we have driven it someplace and the car sits in a parking lot for awhile. I have even stopped shutting it off when I'm sitting waiting -- like waiting for my sister to come out of her apartment. I call her on the cell phone and she gets her stuff together, but it takes her about five minutes before she gets to my car. I used to shut it off while sitting, but now I leave it on because I'm afraid it won't start up again.

    I just went out to try the accessory mode. It took only a "brief" push to start the car with the brake on or to start the accessory mode without the brake on or to shut the car down. In accessory mode, the whole dashboard lit up, just like when starting the car -- except the "ready" display doesn't show up. Everything worked fine -- because it got a good sleep overnight. Weird! Could it be that the battery gets drawn down from the drive/trip causing it not to start -- but seems to recover its charge after sitting overnight in the garage?

    The problem of not starting is getting more and more frequent. The trips aren't too short, usually about five to fifteen miles out. It happens to me and it happens to my husband. Surely we can't both be the culprits of operator error over and over again? That is the usual response from repairmen when it is difficult for them to duplicate the problem. It worked with a "brief" starter push for the first two years. Very frustrating.

    Any help would be most appreciated. I will be taking the car in to Carmax, it is still under warrantee, but it's hard to find the problem when they can't duplicate it right away. When Wayne starts it, it has usually been sitting in my garage over night and has "rested" up so it works for him. He suggested the video approach so I can prove that it happens. Very frustrating.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011
  9. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    Most of us don't Wayne, it is just a good habit to get into.:D H
  10. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Are those wires wrapped around the steering column attached to a scangauge, by any chance? If so, that would be an easy way to check the battery. Set one of the gauges to show voltage, activate the SG before starting the car so you can see what happens, and let us know what you see.

    I agree with Rokeby that the car shouldn't be due for a new 12V for a few more years unless something has happened to this one, like deep discharges or a factory defect. However, defective batteries are not unheard of.
  11. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    I was able to replicate some of this on my 2011 Prius by leaving my foor OFF the brake and pushing the Start button and holding it for several seconds. Then I get the yellow antiskid symbol on the left and 4-5 idiot lights on the right, plus the gearshift display and the HSD. The Ready light is not on, the car won't go into gear and won't move.

    In my case:
    (a) If I then push the brake down at this point and again press the Start button, the boot sequence will complete and the car will start.

    (b) If instead I push the Start button without touching the brake, the car shuts down. At that point, I can mash on the brake and push Start and it will boot up as usual.

    I suspect that in your case (as someone already suggested) the brake pedal sensor is faulty or misadjusted so that the computer is not getting the message that the brake pedal has been pushed down. Alternatively, maybe the brake pedal is not being mashed down far enough, but this seems unlikely given that you are familiar with the car and have been using it without problems. Still, it might be worth trying really standing on the pedal to see if that makes a difference.
  12. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    I found a vague post this morning that sounded like a similar issue. The dealer found a 3 port USB plug under the seat that was replaced.
  13. bestmapman

    bestmapman Fighting untruth and misinformation

    Re : Help - 2010 Prius-III will not Start - With Video

    I think it is the start switch problem. I think it is not engaging correctly. On tested it on my car and the start switch engages immediately. Either way, if it is under warranty get Toyota to fix it or get them to get you a new car.
  14. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    Any updates on this?? Did you find out where the problem was??
  15. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    A little update… It is getting worse as yesterday, my mom and my sister had the fail to ready occur 6 times.

    So we take it in today with the above vid and many more just like it. The Carmax Service writer gets in and it happens to her 3 times. They take the car to the back and we wait. The Tech comes out and it starts so he drives it into the back. They said the Fob has a low battery which is not the case because both fobs – my moms and dads -- are doing it and it is still random but getting worse.

    With new battery’s in the single fob, the service writer asks that I place the key right next to the Start button when booting it up. Like that is going to help and who would use a proximity key like this “ever”. Nobody would. Before we left, I showed the Service team manager yet another vid recorded after the video above and she said yes, I see it did not go to “Ready”.

    We drove it home. During my third time of booting it up with 30-minute waits in between each reboot over a 2-hour period as it sat in my parents garage, it does it again as seen below.


    I have to head back out there on Friday to do this all over again and it has to be extremely frustrating for my parents who purchased the Prius on blind faith and my personal recommendation that the Prius is the most reliable vehicle on the road :(

    Any additional commentary would be greatly appreciated.

  16. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    I would be asking for escalation and making a phone call or two myself. Your videos should be enough proof. Their denial and blaming it on a $2.00 battery is very weak.

    How many times has it been back for this issue?

    Use the "L" word in front of the service rep next time you're there.

    According to the Wisconsin lemon law, a nonconformity is defined as a condition or defect that:

    Substantially impairs the use, value or safety of a motor vehicle.

    Then after a reasonable number of attempts to repair the nonconformity and the nonconformity continues to exist then:

    The manufacturer must either repurchase the vehicle or, if the vehicle is owned, replace the vehicle

    I have recommended the Prius to many people and several people that I know personally have bought the Prius on my recommendation. I would feed responsible too if there was an issue. Is there another dealer around that isn't a huge superstore that you could take it to?
  17. bestmapman

    bestmapman Fighting untruth and misinformation

    Re : Help - 2010 Prius-III will not Start - With Video

    Wayne, I would elevate this. You have a lot of pull with this. Very few people has a voice (website) like you and Toyota will not want all the negative publicity that you (your website) can generate. They will fix this situation immediately if you elevate it to corporate level.
  18. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    For some reason it is not getting the message that the brake peddle has been actuated? H
  19. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    The light would not be grn if it is not picking up the brake actuation! H
  20. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    With a few trips out to Carmax yesterday, it is in their hands. They are replacing the 12V and will keep it for a few days to see if that cures it. That is not the problem so they have their work cut out for them.

    Harold, yup. The green light on the power button shows it was not the brake actuation switch.

    My mom is driving a very used loaner Altima for the time being.


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