Toyota recalls 752,000 Prius cars over flawed hybrid software

The cars can stall if if a failsafe doesn't kick in.

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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JANUARY 13:       Toyota Prius +  mpv stationwagon"n on display at Brussels Expo on January 13, 2017 in Brussels, Belgium. The Prius + is also marketed as Prius v or Prius  in Japan and is the MPV version of the normal Prius hybrid. (Photo by Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images)
Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

If you drive a Prius from the past several years, there’s a distinct chance you’ll have to take it in for service. Autoblog reports that Toyota has begun a safety recall for 752,000 of the vehicles worldwide, 267,000 of them in the US, due to a flaw in the hybrid software for 2013-2015 standard Prius cars and 2014-2017 Prius V models. The machines won’t kick into a failsafe mode “in rare situations” if the hybrid system fails, forcing the gas engine to lose power and stall — a significant problem if you’re on the highway.

The fix will involve a free software update at the dealership, plus an inverter fix if that component failed as a result of the glitch. Drivers will be notified by late August.

While this doesn’t appear to be an urgent issue, it’s not great news for a company considered a pioneer in hybrid cars. It’s not as serious a blow as it might have been in the past, though. The automaker has expanded its hybrid range beyond the Prius in recent years, to the point where it’s launching its first RAV4 plug-in hybrid this summer.

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