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Toyota to fix 380,000 Priuses in North America

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Toyota Motor Co. has announced a "limited service campaign" to fix cooling pumps on 378,000 Toyota Prius hybrid cars in North America.

Air can leak into water pumps that cool parts of the electric drive systems on model year 2004 through 2007 Priuses. Excess air in the cooling system can allow bubbles to form which can, in turn, inhibit cooling.

The campaign involves only Priuses from model years 2004 through 2007.

This cooling system is separate from the cooling system for the car's gasoline engine. Hybrid cars such as the Prius have both a gasoline engine and electric motor.

Once sensors in the car detect overheating of the electric drive system, a warning light will come on alerting the driver to the problem, Toyota spokesman John Hanson said. At the same time, the car will enter a "safe mode" in which total driving power will be reduced.

"You will notice that the car will not go as fast as it used to go, and you will see an indicator light," Hanson said.

Owners of model year 2004 through 2007 Priuses have until November 2013, to have the water pump replaced at no cost. Priuses built after the 2007 model year and other Toyota and Lexus hybrid models do not use the same water pump, and therefore are not involved in the campaign.

The "limited service campaign" is not considered a safety recall because the problem in question is not considered a safety issue, Hanson said. To top of page

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