2004 Toyota Prius FAQ  

 

Gathered from messages posted at the 2004 Prius Yahoo Group:

Please email corrections or suggestions for additional questions (with answers!) to the editor: bill.rob@verizon.net

 

Last updated: 3/1/04

 

What if the Check Engine light comes on shortly after purchase?

Where can I get manuals?

What should I check for when I take delivery of my new Prius?

How does the Smart Entry / Smart Start system work?

What happens when the battery in the fob dies?  Can you start the car?

I left the fob in the dashboard slot overnight, and now Smart Entry Smart Start doesn’t work.

What mpg should I expect?

What is the ICE?

What tire pressure is recommended?

How does the Power button work?

What happened to the Start button I saw in commercials?

What is this "EV Button" I keep hearing about and is it an available option?

When I park, do I have to push the “Park” button and turn off the headlights?

Why does the owner’s manual say I have Auto Headlights and Daytime Running Lights?

Why does the owner’s manual say my stereo has DSP (Digital Signal Processing) and ASL (Auto Sound Levelizer)?

What’s the whirring noise I hear coming from the engine compartment after turning the car off?

What is a Bumper Guard, or Rear Bumper Appliqué?

How do I turn off the Flashing Maintenance light (oil change reminder)?

What about jump-starting?

Will tinting my windows hurt my navigation system reception?

Where can I get a list of voice commands for the navigation system?

How do I get into the diagnostic screens?

How does the Bluetooth system work?

Does the CD player play MP3 CDs?


What if the Check Engine light comes on shortly after purchase?

If your Check Engine light comes on in the first 100 miles it will likely be one of two things:

 

1: There is a sealant on the cat converter that releases a fume which affects the O2 sensor and trips the Check Engine light.  Many have experienced this on the 04 Prius. Some dealer service technicians are not aware of this issue, so have them contact Toyota.  They should reset the light and the vehicle needs to be driven 100 miles for testing.  Return to the dealer for inspection if light comes back on.

 

2: You may only need to tighten your gas cap further until it clicks.

 

In all cases of a Check Engine light, go to the dealer to have it checked.

 

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Where can I get manuals?

Prius comes with quick-start manuals for both the NAV and the car itself.  There is also the full owner's manual which covers the audio system and almost everything except the NAV. There is also a separate NAV manual.

 

You do NOT get the Repair manual, but the back of the owner's manual suggests you can buy it at your dealer. It would be way cheaper to download it from the Tech site: techinfo.toyota.com, all the downloads you want for $10/day access from the US only.  But only try downloading if you have the patience of a saint or are on a Linux system and savvy enough to automatically download it all at once.

 

Or, order bound manuals with credit card from Toyota Publications at 800-622-2033

 

2001 Prius Manuals

  Repair Manual Volume 1 - Diagnostics    NPNRM778U1  $78.95

  Repair Manual Volume 2 - Repair         NPNRM778U2  $71.95

  New Car Features May, 2000              NCF182U     $34.00

  Electrical Wiring Diagram (NHW11)       EWD414U     $46.95

 

For 2004:

  2004 Prius Repair Manual Vol 1    RM1075U1

  2004 Prius Repair Manual Vol 2    RM1075U2

  2004 Prius Repair Manual Vol 3    RM1075U3

  Prius New Car Features 2004       NCF255U

  2004 Prius Electrical Wiring Diagram    WED555U

 

Bill Powell reported that he paid $34 for the 01 NCF and $60 something for the 04 NCF.  Prices do not include "shipping and handling" which was $20 something for the 5 pound 04 NCF so you should adjust the other prices accordingly and expect to choke up something in the neighborhood of $400 to have the whole set dropped on your doorstep.

 

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What should I check for when I take delivery of my new Prius?

See “pickup_checklist.html” in the files section.

 

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How does the Smart Entry / Smart Start system work?

Smart Entry and Smart Start allow you to unlock the doors and start the car without having to take they key fob out of your pocket.  Prius senses the fob in your pocket; just pull the door handle to open a locked door, and just push the “Power” button on the dashboard to start the car.

 

If you have the SmartEntry Fob in your pocket and you walk away from the car while it is running, the car will beep at you a few times, and a yellow warning icon on the dash lights up: a picture of a key with an exclamation point over it. But the car keeps running.  If the person with the fob stays away from the car, someone else can still get in and drive it since it is still running, but the warning light remains on.

While the car is running (in park) it will not let you lock the car doors by pressing the electric door lock button by the arm rest while driver door is open. It is also not possible to lock the car from the outside be pressing the button on the door handle if you don't have the fob on you. So if you leave the car running, it won't let you lock the driver door and lock yourself out of a running car if you don't have the fob with you.

 

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What happens when the battery in the fob dies?  Can you start the car?

If the fob battery dies, you can still start the car with the fob.  The slot you put the fob in will sense the chip in the fob, even if the fob battery is dead.  Your remote entry buttons on the fob won't work, nor will Smart Entry / Smart Start if you have it.  But the mechanical key will get you in the car and the fob will start it.

 

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I left the fob in the dashboard slot overnight, and now Smart Entry / Smart Start doesn’t work.

Smart Start/ Smart Entry was disabled because the fob was left in the car (for more than 10 minutes after power off). There is a button to the left and under the steering wheel labeled 'SMART' which controls whether the Smart Start/ Smart Entry system is enabled or not. Push it once to re-activate Smart Start/ Smart Entry.

 

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What mpg should I expect?

People who owned the Classic Prius (01-03) report there is a break-in period after which your mileage will likely increase.  Dave Hermance, Toyota's executive engineer for environmental technology, drives an ‘04 Prius and said he typically gets between 53 mpg and 55 mpg combined. But he says he knows exactly how to "pulse drive" the car - that is, to accelerate briskly and get it up to speed, then mostly coast and let the electric motor handle the slight modifications needed to keep the vehicle at speed.  Hermance says most drivers get about 44 mpg.  But car makers (including Toyota) are not allowed to publicize anything other than the EPA figures.

A survey of 750 first-generation Prius owners on yahoo.com showed them obtaining between 35 mpg and 55 mpg combined driving, with an average of 44. An early poll of 30 2004 Prius owners showed most got between 45 mpg and 49 mpg.

One devoted Prius owner in Minnesota, says he averaged 45.4 mpg over nearly 60,000 miles in a 2001 Prius. He has since purchased the redesigned 2004 model and has raised his average to 47.1 mpg.  He expects this to increase as the drive train continues to break in.

The Environmental Protection Agency has admitted that their actual gas mileage is smaller than it appears in the agency’s tests.  For various reasons, the tests produce a mileage figure 15 percent to 20 percent higher than real life.  That’s for all cars, but it may hit hybrid makers hardest. First, since hybrid mileage is high, a 20-percent error is a lot of gas, and second, buyers care. The driver of the average car may not notice if he uses 12 gallons instead of 10 between Reno and Sacramento, while the driver of a hybrid will gripe if he burns three gallons instead of 2.5.

No fix is imminent. It’s been known for years that the tests are inaccurate, but they do provide a basis for comparison.

Winter fuel hurts the mileage, as well as colder tempatures. Colder air is heaver and it takes more horsepower to "push" it out of the way.  Short trips KILL gas mileage. Check your tires pressure. Leaving it set at the factory recommended settings will adversely affect your mileage. Try 40/38 (front/rear), or even 42/40. Your rolling resistance will decrease,
and your MPG will improve.

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What is the ICE?

The Internal Combustion Engine.

 

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What tire pressure is recommended?

You should keep your front tires 2 PSI higher than the rear, that's required for handling purposes.  The manual recommends 35/33. If you check your pressure every day, 35/33 will work fine if you don't live in extreme climates (Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco are examples of non-extreme climates--Texas, Minnesota, Wyoming are examples of extreme climates). In extreme climates, consider either 42/40 or 40/38. The additional 5 or 7 psi lets you be a bit lazy about the pressure checking. Extreme climates want additional pressure to deal with the extremes.

 

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How does the Power button work?

The hybrid system will start and stop by pressing the “POWER” switch briefly with the brake pedal depressed.  Each time you press the “POWER” switch briefly without the brake pedal depressed, the hybrid system mode changes in the order of “OFF”, “ACC”, “IG–ON” and then back to “OFF”.

 

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What happened to the Start button I saw in commercials?

There are Prius advertisements that show a "Start" button, but the button on the actual car reads "Power".  In reality, there never was a "Start" button. There used to be an "Engine/Start/Stop" button that morphed into a "Power" button.  Perhaps Toyota felt “Engine Start Stop” was too wordy, and not really appropriate given the hybrid nature of the car (gas engine and electric motor).

 

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What is this "EV Button" I keep hearing about and is it an available option?

 

The "EV Button" is a feature that allows a user to "encourage" the car to stay in electric only “stealth” mode. This is currently available on Japanese and European models only.

 

The decision to not use the EV Button on the US version appears to be largely a Toyota decision.  It appears that Toyota never broached the issue with the EPA on how to test a vehicle with this capability. Toyota simply decided most Americans would not use it, or that it might confuse their marketing effort to show that you “just drive it” like any other car, so it was left off.

 

This feature could increase MPG, but could also decrease the life of the battery. The full extent of the EV button’s advantages and disadvantages are not yet fully available to the general public. People have speculated that the primary use for such a feature would be for doing things such as pulling the car out of the driveway.  Top Prius engineer Dave Hermance is on the record saying the EV button in Japan only works for a maximum of 1 kilometer.

 

For information on adding the EV button to your ’04 Prius, go to http://www.seawell.net//Prius/04Photos/EVButtonMod.jpg . The group http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/gridable-hybrids is discussing this issue at length, as well as the possibility of adding more battery capacity, and perhaps plugging the Prius in to charge it up.

 

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When I park, do I have to push the “Park” button and turn off the headlights?

No. To park, after you have stopped you can just push the “Power” button if you want, without pushing “Park” first.  Pushing “Power” will put the car into Park, and it will turn the car off.  When you open your door, the headlights will turn off.  So if you want, you can leave your headlights switch in the “on” position at all times.  This will mean your headlights are always on when driving, such as with Daytime Running Lights.  And you won’t have to remember to turn on the headlights when it gets dark.

 

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Why does the owner’s manual say I have Auto Headlights and Daytime Running Lights?

Because the 2004 Prius sold in Canada does have Auto Headlights and DRLs.  But the Prius sold in the US does not.  In the US Prius, you can leave your headlights switch in the "on" position all the time, they will be on day and night when driving, and will turn off automatically when you turn off the car and open the door to leave.  The manual says to turn them to the off position if you won’t be driving for a long period of time.

 

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Why does the owner’s manual say my stereo has DSP (Digital Signal Processing) and ASL (Automatic
Sound Levelizer)?

DSP/ASL are not included in the base stereo or the premium stereo.  The owner’s manual is incorrect.

 

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What’s the whirring noise I hear coming from the engine compartment after turning the car off?

That's the little electric pump putting coolant into the thermos-type container to keep it hot.  This thermos-type container stores three liters of coolant at close to boiling temperature for up to three days. When the Power button is pressed, hot coolant is injected into the engine, avoiding a cold start. This reduces emissions at startup, as well as wear and tear on the engine.

 

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What is a Bumper Guard, or Rear Bumper Applique?

This optional accessory is a thin plastic film applied to the TOP of your rear bumper to protect it from scratches while loading/unloading cargo.  It has a design on it that says "Prius".  It does not go on the BACK of the rear bumper, and does not protect the bumper when you back into something.  It's also called the "Rear Bumper Appliqué". You can see a picture of it in the files section (rear-applique.jpg).

 

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How do I turn off the Flashing Maintenance light (oil change reminder)?

1)    Turn the power switch IG-ON and make sure that the ODO/TRIP meter is the odometer display.

2)    Turn the power switch OFF.

3)    While pushing the "ODO/ TRIP meter switching & TRIP meter reset" switch, turn the power switch IG-ON.

4)    Until the resetting is completed, the reminder light flashes.

5)    The resetting is completed when the reminder light turns OFF.  Release the "ODO/TRIP meter switching & TRIP meter reset" switch. 

6)    After the resetting is completed, the ODO/TRIP meter displays as a set of zeros for 1 second. Then, the ODO/TRIP meter displays the your normal odometer mileage.

 

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What about jump-starting?

If the Prius’ auxiliary battery is discharged, jump-starting can start the hybrid system. Use the jump-starting terminal under the black plastic cover on the driver’s side in the engine compartment. For details, see “JUMP STARTING PROCEDURE” on page 239 of the owner’s manual. 

 

If you want to jump start another car with your Prius, you can connect the cables between the cars as described on page 239 of the owner’s manual, start the Prius, allow the other car to charge from the Prius running for about 5 minutes, disconnect all jumper cables, then try starting the other car on their own battery. If it starts, good, if not, they're SOL and will need a car with an alternator to provide the extra juice. 

 

The problem is the Prius’ 12V system is only good for about 100A (which is significantly less than most cars’ 12V starter motors consume). So if you were to try to start the other car while the jumper cables were still connected to the running Prius, you'd most likely pop the master fuse between the 12V battery and the inverter in the Prius.

 

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Will tinting my windows hurt my navigation system reception?

The Prius owner’s manual warns that tinting your windows may interfere with navigation satellite reception.  Many Prius owners on the Yahoo board have reported tinting their windows with no negative effect on NAV reception, and no one yet has posted a problem with it.  Reputable tint installers also report never having such a problem. The antenna for the NAV system in the Prius is in the dashboard up near the base of the windshield, so the primary source for satellite signals is through the section of the windshield that normally does not get tinted.

 

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Where can I get a list of voice commands for the navigation system?

Look for the file called “Prius NAV Voice commands.xls” in the Files section of the Yahoo group:

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/2004-prius/files/ . By the way, Denso, the same supplier that makes the nav systems for Lexus, produces the Prius NAV system.  Here’s a good explanation of how the nav works, from Denso Australia: http://www.denso.com.au/dw/satnav/satnav_gen.htm

 

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How do I get into the diagnostic screens?

Start the Prius.  While pressing and holding ”INFO” switch, operate light control switch, OFF, TAIL, OFF, TAIL, OFF, TAIL, OFF. The diagnostic mode starts and the service check screen (”System Check Mode”) will be displayed. Service inspection starts automatically and the result will be displayed after a short pause.  You’ll be able to see how many satellites are currently being received as well as Greenwich Mean Time, among other things. Press “Menu” to see the menu.  To exit either turn the power switch off, or press the ”DISPLAY” switch for 3 seconds.

 

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How does the Bluetooth system work?

If you have a Bluetooth-enabled hand-held cell phone, the Prius hands-free system will automatically connect itself to your hand-held phone with a wireless connection.  So when you’re in the Prius you can use the hands-free microphone and speaker system built in to the car.  Callers reach you at your hand-held cell phone number.  The only cell phones available today with Bluetooth are on the new GSM cellular network which has limited coverage areas compared to older cellular networks like TDMA and analog.  Eventually there may be Bluetooth Hands Free cell phones available for TDMA or CDMA or a GAIT phone, which does both GSM and TDMA, and covers both 1900MHz and 850MHz.  Read more at www.toyota.com/bluetooth.  Also check what other people have written about their Prius Bluetooth experiences in the Bluetooth database at http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/2004-prius/database.

 

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Does the CD player play MP3 CDs?

No. Only CD Audio. It does support CD-Text, though, so you will get titles on supported discs (including ones you burn yourself if titles are added via Nero or other CD-Text capable burning software).

 

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