— A Toyota Prius AC smell caused a car owner to file a class action lawsuit which includes these Toyota Prius vehicles in the U.S.
- 2006-2020 Toyota Prius
- 2017-2020 Toyota Prius Prime
- 2010-2015 Toyota PHV
- 2012-2016 Toyota Prius c
- 2012-2017 Toyota Prius v
According to the Prius lawsuit, the vehicles were defective from the time they left the assembly lines because the air conditioning and heating systems build up moisture and growth of mold. This allegedly creates toxic odors that enter the Prius cabins, especially when the AC systems are in use.
Mold and other contaminants allegedly cause smells of sweaty socks and urine, causing Prius occupants to inhale noxious fumes that cause health problems.
The Toyota Prius AC smells have allegedly caused owners to spend money in an effort to erase the odors, but nothing allegedly works other than to mask the smells which are always there.
Toyota Prius AC Smell Bulletins
The class action lawsuit alleges Toyota has issued technical service bulletins (TSBs) about the AC odors but has refused to recall the Prius cars to properly prevent the smells.
TSB AC002-97 was issued in 1997 and titled, “Air Conditioning Evaporator Odor,” which talked about “[b]lockage of the evaporator housing drainpipe, resulting in the buildup of condensate” or “[m]icrobial growth in the evaporator, arising from dampness in the evaporator housing where the cooling air flow is dehumidified.”
The bulletin described a “musty odor ... emitted from the air conditioning system of some vehicles which are usually operated in areas with high temperature and humidity.”
More Toyota AC smell bulletins were issued, including T-SB-0261-09, T-SB-0142-13 and T-SB-0022-20. Toyota told dealers the Prius AC smells were “naturally occurring” and dealers should use the A/C Evaporator Cleaning Procedure With Toyota Genuine A/C Refresher Kit.
In addition to the TSBs, the AC smells were addressed in Toyota Tech Tip T-TT-0577-19.
"On 2016-2020 model year Prius and 2017-2020 model year Prius Prime vehicles follow the recommendations when performing the HVAC odor maintenance service using A/C Power Foam Evaporator Cleaner & Refresher." — T-TT-0577-19 / October 15, 2019
Even though dealers received bulletins, Toyota allegedly concealed the AC smell defects to increase profits by selling the Prius cars.
The plaintiff also alleges Toyota's repairs and other odor mitigation efforts have failed to provide permanent repairs to the air conditioner systems.
The Toyota Prius AC smell lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: James Bettles, v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al.
The plaintiff is represented by Edelsberg Law, P.A., Kopelowitz Ostrow Ferguson Weiselberg Gilbert, and Gordon & Partners, P.A.