Question about Toyota Prius

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Sometimes it will not start & key will not come out of dash. Cannot change gears or anything else. Eventually, sometimes it will start & key will release after 10-30 minutes. Sometimes battery just goes dead, as I cannot turn fan or lights off. Tow truck could not even get it started this last time. Nor could the Toyota Service center-couldnt get key out either. After 2 hours, and a charge, key released & it started right up. They could find no problem with the car. This is the 3rd service check w/ the same problem. Car checks out fine. Got new batteries for the key. My pocket book is complaining. Any advice? frieda

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  • wesfrieda Dec 14, 2009

    Thanks for the idea. I will call the dealership tomorrow & ask.

  • wesfrieda Dec 15, 2009

    The Prius key is a square, remote box looking thing. The car will start without putting the key in the dash, so i am not sure where i would put the engine oil you suggested. Do not know where a barrel would be. Am afraid if i put oil on the remote, that it might ruin the batteries inside or the push buttons. I just do not understand your suggestion???

  • wesfrieda Dec 15, 2009

    That sounded like a good place to check. Called the dealer & he said he put the car on the computer & checked everything, including the theft thing. He found nothing wrong. Any other thoughts?

  • wesfrieda Dec 16, 2009

    That sounds reasonable to me. How should I proceed with the Toyota dealer service dept?

  • wesfrieda Dec 16, 2009

    it is a 2005 Prius

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Clean the inside part of the battery connectors really well. Even if you think it is ok. I mean clean it really well until all you see is the metal without moisture, oil, or any corrosion. Since it is a new battery I asume the terminals are free of contaminants.

Posted on Dec 16, 2009

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Generally the only reason a key will become stuck is a bad tumbler. We see this alot . Always it requires replacing the tumbler.
You may need to have this replaced.

I'm assuming the reason battery went dead was because the key was stuck in the on position.
Also maybe a brake switch is intermittanly bad or the transmission interlock is not activating.

I know you would like a definate answer but if the dealer looked at this then they have tested things and have the most up to date service bulltins to address this.

Even if we suggeseted a fix that would not be a guarentee that it was the problem. You would then need someone to replace something but the shop will not guarentee the fix based on our guess.

If it was my car I would replace the brake switch first or with a diagnositc scanner look at the data to see if the trans is actuallly in park when the shifter is in the park position.

Without usung any diagnostic equipment its all going to be a guess since everthing comes thru computers and its possible you have a bad computer.

There are some shops that deal with just hybrids. You should call one to see if they have any insight since many of them have more experience than the dealer mechanics

Posted on Dec 15, 2009

  • Ernset ( Skip ) Bouvette

    If you list what year the car is I can search more databases

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Sounds like the steering lock needs changing ,the tumblers in the barrel are worn or sticking .i would try putting some engine oil in the key hole and work it in a bit with the key.If this doesnt work then a new barrel is the order of the day

Posted on Dec 14, 2009

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Sounds like a theft deterrant issue has that been checked?

Posted on Dec 14, 2009

  • Dennis Gentz
    Dennis Gentz Dec 15, 2009

    the ignition cylinder may have an issue that is intermittent but the only symptom that goes along with this would be the theft deterrant

  • Dennis Gentz
    Dennis Gentz Dec 16, 2009

    an ignition cylinder replacement under warranty just tell them it keeps happening they will replace it

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