Wednesday, February 3, 2010

2010 Toyota Prius Brakes

I caught a video clip of Toyota USA President Jim Lentz as he left his "Today Show" interview Monday.  As he was leaving, he was ambushed by journalists armed with microphones and cameras.  He was hesitant - with good reason.  What could he add to what he ever-so-cautiously said to Matt Lauer?

The story is personal for me.  I invested in a new 2010 3rd Generation Toyota Prius 5 months ago.   I remember attending the dealer's "new" car-owner "class" last fall.  That night, one of the new Prius owners said something about the brakes "grabbing" - I think it was when the car was in "reverse."  ("Ding, ding, ding." I can hear the backup warning system).

At the time, I chalked it up to the new and different feel of driving a Prius.  The 2010 model uses regenerative braking as part of its hybrid system.  The brakes react a little differently from traditional car brakes.  It didn't bother me at the time because I pay attention to speed and I'm not heavy on the brakes.  (My Honda CRV has nearly 200,000 miles on it - with the original brakes).

This morning's news was a little more disconcerting.

There have been reports involving braking on bumpy or frozen surfaces.  Instead of stopping, some drivers say their cars lurched forward.  As you can see from the photo above, I drive on bumpy, dusty and recently, frozen surfaces - all the time.  I have not had any problems - yet.

But it made me wonder about how car computers deal with bumps and dust.

Then I thought:  Maybe it's time for a visit to the carwash.

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