Master Re-Boot

Master re boot is used if all else fails, triangle caution is on dash and will not go off, scan tool will not communicate, READY light will not go on, and the car will not start. A master re boot will not hurt the car, but will re set all PCM’s. Any stored data will be lost; i.e. codes, monitor status, freeze frame, etc.  This condition cannot be duplicated as far as I know as no one (including me) has followed the path closely enough. Every time the car was “locked up” it was in a real world shop with real techs working on real cars, not some hybrid that was bugged to be a problem car. As carefully as you try to bug a car, it is never as good as old fashioned “it is broke, now what do I do?”

This may happen when a body shop has had the car apart and the proper procedures were not followed and other reasons that in a real shop are part of life. I have personally used this procedure and it works as promised.  It takes less than one minute so why not try it?

01-03 Prius procedure

Get out of car, use key to lock and unlock driver’s door. DO NOT use remote. Get in car, with foot on brake, insert key and turn to start position and hold the key in that position for 30 seconds. Turn key off and try to restart. All should be OK, car starts, warning lights off, and all PCM’s re set. Repeat if not successful.

04-09 Prius procedure

Disable SMART KEY (button that says KEY under steering column), and insert key fob transponder into slot in dash. With foot on brake, push power button and hold the power button in for 30 seconds. Release power button and try to restart. All should be OK, car starts, warning lights off, and all PCM’s re set. Repeat if not successful.

This cannot be used to re set the PCM. If the car starts OK, a scan tool is required to clear codes.

The history of the Master Reboot.

In 1999 I bought an Insight and started my love of hybrid technology and also added hybrid repairs to my shops service list. Along the way I met Gilles Labelle and helped do a radio show along with Jim Dunn. We met back in 2002. We also worked together with the Tour de Sol and lots of “energy” related not-for-profit projects. One day Gillis told me about a procedure he had discovered on line from a Prius chat group that was supposed to help “unlock” the computer system that was somehow “frozen”, much like your home computer will lock up and you must reboot it to get it working again. I paid little attention to his story at the time as I had never come across that situation. Fast forward to a couple years later and I am in Missouri on a Friday night. The reason I was there was to conduct a hands on hybrid class and my host Lou Craven had a wrecked Gen I Prius for our demo car. As fate would have it we worked late that Friday night and after trying to put a few parts back in place it failed to restart (it was OK before). Using what I knew after 35 years in the business I was out of ideas but then I remembered Gillis suggestion, but not the exact procedure. I called (lucky for cell phones and friends) and found Gillis. The rest is history. Three times since that Friday night at Lou’s shop and training center it has saved a few butts.

Thanks for letting ACDC help you enter the hybrid repair world.  If you need anything at all pick up the phone and call 800-939-7909.

Craig Van Batenburg, CEO