2010 Prius Recall Expected

Posted: Feb 08, 2010 09:55 a.m.

It's not official yet, but 2010 Toyota Prius owners should prepare themselves for a recall.

The New York Daily News reports, "Toyota will announce recalls for 300,000 of its prized Prius hybrids in the U.S. and Japan, the company's home turf, Japanese newspapers reported Sunday."

The New York Times says the decision to recall the Prius came "after receiving a flurry of complaints about the vehicle’s brakes, a person briefed on the decision said late Sunday."

The problem with the Prius centers on the hybrid's brakes.  The Prius has two braking systems: a regenerative one, in which braking friction is captured and used to recharge the car's batteries, and a conventional one. The complaints arise from what Toyota characterizes as a software malfunction when the car switches between the two systems.  When braking on slick surfaces, braking power can be lost for up to a second. The problem does not appear to affect earlier model Prius hybrids, though there have been some complaints lodged about Lexus hybrids (Lexus is Toyota's luxury brand) including the Lexus HS 250 hybrid. No word yet if the HS 250 is part of the expected recall.

A fix appears to be imminent. The Detroit Free Press says Toyota "has told dealers in the United States it is preparing to repair the brakes on thousands of Prius vehicles, according to an e-mail sent by a company executive."

Still, Prius owners should know that a recall has not been announced in the U.S. yet, though some sources expect it to be soon. The Free Press reports "It was unclear whether Toyota planned a formal U.S. recall," and adds that Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said, "We will make an announcement soon on the action we plan to take," while "commenting on news media reports Sunday that the company has decided to issue a recall in Japan. Takeuchi did not confirm those reports."

If you own a 2010 Prius, we'll keep you updated on any recalls and what you need to do. Check out the latest Toyota recall news and information, including how the company's recent troubles affect our rankings. If you're in the market for a new car, check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars as well as this month's best car deals