Fixes on Fleet of State-Owned Toyotas Nearly Done

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – The Montana Department of Transportation said Toyota is quickly repairing the state’s fleet of Prius hybrid cars that have been recalled for braking issues, work expected to be done this week.

Agency Director Jim Lynch said 85 Prius cars in the state motor pool were affected by the recall. He said the Helena Toyota dealer was expected to have almost all of them repaired as early as Monday.

“As soon as we got the recall notices we took them out of serivce,” Lynch said.

Prior to the recall, Lynch said records show two agency employees complained of spongy brakes when driving one of the vehicles. Lynch said he is not sure the issue is the same as the one prompting the recall.

Toyota announced recently that it would recall about 437,000 Prius and other hybrid vehicles to fix brake problems. There have been about 200 complaints in Japan and the U.S. about a delay when the brakes in the Prius were pressed in cold conditions and on bumpy roads.

In total, the Transportation Department has 106 Prius hybrid vehicles purchased with the aim of improving the efficiency of the state fleet.

Lynch said the repair to each vehicle is taking technicians at Helena Motors about 40 minutes.

“It’s been a real good fleet vehicle,” he said. “It gets great mileage and works very well. Other than this glitch it has been a great vehicle.”