Systems Crash on 110 South


Here’s one of those hazards of 21st century technology: my car crashed on the 110 last night. No, not the actual car, just some sort of software problem. My 2004 Toyota Prius gave me some sort of Hybrid System Warning (with all lights on the dash and assorted warning beeps). I exited the highway post-haste and parked safely at the LAPD Internal Affairs office parking lot (seemed like it’d be a safe spot) and waited for roadside assistance.

Unfortunately the closest dealer for me to be towed to was Carson (where I bought the car) and not to Hollywood where I’ve had it serviced in the past. They’re looking at it now and I’m happy to report that they’re able to duplicate the problem (how many times have you called tech support and you can’t get the system to do whatever it is again?). I figure half the battle with fixing a car like this is figuring out the problem in the first place.

I consider myself lucky that the car didn’t quit altogether and that everyone on the 110 was nice enough to let me off quickly (I put on my hazards and I’m telling you, everyone yielded to me immediately). I had an alternator problem in my traditional car about 10 years ago (also on the 110) and lost all power and couldn’t even signal to get over to the shoulder and had no power steering or anything. I much prefer this sort of breakdown!

I’m carless at the moment, but if the repairs take more than a day I’ll have to get a loaner or something. Or maybe just start walking to work again.

4 Replies to “Systems Crash on 110 South”

  1. God bless you for being one of the three people in l.a. who actually knows how to drive!

    Adam Corolla had a hilarious rant about people breaking down on the freeway, and stopping in the middle lane, or the fast lane when they could have easily pulled off the road.

    Good for you – keeping your head in a unnerving situation

  2. My wife & I had the same thing happen to our ’04 Prius on the 110 North a few months ago. Every light in the car went on, the gasoline engine shut off, and we watched as the battery strength dropped like a lead balloon.

    We managed to cruise on electric power into a Gore lane and then called Toyota Roadside Assistance. They suck — “two hour wait”, the rep told me. I hung up and called Triple A and had a tow truck there in 10 minutes.

    They towed us to Glendale Toyota, but it was afterhours so our Prius wasn’t looked at until the next morning. The problem was a “memory failure”, according to the Glendale service rep, and they replaced a board or a chip and did the equivalent of Ctrl+Alt+Del and it’s been driving fine ever since.

    We love our Prius, especially my wife, but it’s an eerie nagging feeling knowing that you’re essentially piloting a computer. Thank god Microsoft didn’t make it.

    Great blog, keep it up.

  3. Well, I just heard back from the dealership – the problem was a “no start code”. They’ve cleared the code but can’t fix the software issue at this time that’s causing it. They’ve called Toyota national and they’re working on it and will issue an upgrade sometime in the future.

    They said it’s safe to drive in the meantime.

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