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Miami Prius drivers: Software issue could cause car to stall

South Florida Toyota Prius owners learned of a recall this month that impacts millions of these popular cars. The recall affects over half of all Priuses sold around the world. The issue is with the software in the cars that manages the vehicles' electronics system.

The software problem could cause the circuit transistors to heat up. This can damage the system and activate warning lights. This could potentially cause the car to slow unexpectedly or stop completely. Toyota says it has not been made aware of any accidents caused by the software issue.

Toyota is recalling almost two million model year 2010 through 2014 Priuses. Of those, about 700,000 of the cars were sold in North America. Most of the others (about a million) were sold in Japan. The remainder are in other parts of the world. Prius customers can bring their cars in to Toyota dealers so that the software in their cars can be updated to fix the issue.

After a slew of recalls and costly litigation over problems with its various vehicles in recent years, the world's largest car maker appears to be taking no chances with the car that has been widely considered synonymous with hybrid and retains its popularity. Nearly a quarter of a million were sold in 2013 in the U.S. alone.

As a spokesman for Edmunds says, the carmaker is "trying to be more transparent, and is more aggressive than other automakers with recalls." She goes on to note that a recall for something like this will likely not significantly impact its sales. "It is not a recall where there are crashes or people are dying."

The advantage for consumers of Toyota's conscientiousness about getting out in front of defective products in its vehicles is that they can get the problem fixed before it causes damage or harm. Anyone who has suffered harm due to a defective vehicle should report it to the automaker and perhaps the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They also can hold the carmaker liable and seek compensation to cover any expenses and other damages caused by the defective vehicle.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, "Toyota recalls 1.9 million Prius hybrids to fix software problem" Jerry Hirsch, Feb. 12, 2014

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