What this article covers
On this page I’ll answer the following questions about the 2004, 2005, and 2006-2009 Toyota Prius combination meter repair.
- How can I tell if my combination meter is bad?
- What does a combination meter do?
- How much does a combination meter cost to fix?
- How can I repair my combination meter
Possible combination meter symptoms
The combination meter can cause quite a few symptom, many of which seem like they wouldn’t be related to a blank speedometer.
- Black screen where the speedometer should be
- No fuel gauge
- Trouble code B1271 — “Combination meter ECU communication stops”
- Can’t turn the car off properly (click for instructions to turn the car off)
- Reverse beeper not working
- Rear view camera doesn’t come on when in reverse
- Reverse lights don’t work
- Odometer isn’t visible
- Can’t open rear hatch
All of these symptoms may be intermittent. One day the Prius speedometer works great, the next the screen is blank.
What does the combination meter do? Do I need to fix it?
The combination meter does a lot more than display your speed, mileage, and gear position. Here are a few of its responsibilities.
- Displays the fuel level. Running out of fuel is the #1 problem people who don’t fix their combination meters have. No fuel gauge and no odometer means there’s no way to tell if there’s enough fuel in the tank.
- It houses the inclination sensor which is used for fuel gauge accuracy. This must be calibrated when replacing the combination meter.
- Activating the backup light relay, which is also used to turn the reverse camera on.
- Turning on many of the dash warning lights, including the check engine light, so you may not be alerted to problems if it’s not working.
- The interior beeper speaker is mounted its circuit board. This speaker alerts you to the following:
- Reverse alert
- Key left in the car
- Key leaves the car while the car is ready
- The car was turned off with the transmission in a gear other than park
- Trying to lock the car with the smart key while it’s Ready
- Seat belt warning
How much does a combination meter cost to fix?
There are two options for combination meter repair. Replacing with a new part from Toyota or repairing the old part. Unfortunately neither option is cheap, but in my view, a working combination meter is essential to avoid running out of fuel or damaging the engine with a missed warning. Here are your options from most expensive to least expensive.
REPLACING THE COMBINATION METER WITH A NEW PART
The combination meter must be programmed with your odometer reading (or as close a you can guess, since your odometer may not be visible). The company that makes the part for Toyota (Yazaki), programs the odometer before shipping it to a Toyota dealership, and then to us. This means that the part cannot be returned, and you’ll need to pay for the part in full when ordering. Unlike most Toyota parts, the combination meter takes about a week to arrive.
When the new odometer arrives, we’ll install it and then calibrate the inclination meter. This can be done in a single day.
Currently, the total cost of replacing the Prius combination meter with a new part is $954, but it will continue to increase as parts and labor prices increase, so call for a current price before counting any chickens.
Prius combination meter repair
There are a few advantages to having us repair your current combination meter. First, there’s cost. It will be about $400 cheaper than replacing the circuit board with a new part. Next, there’s time. We can remove the meter from your Prius, repair it, and then reinstall it in a single day. There’s no need to wait a week for the new part to arrive. Finally, you’ll be saving the landfill from one more piece of e-waste.
Why does it still cost so much without a new part?
The combination meter doesn’t just pop out. The upper dash must be removed and then disassembled to remove the combination meter. And then the combination meter must be disassembled to remove the circuit board. It takes time.
You watched a YouTube video and it looks easy? That’s cool. If you want to remove the combination meter yourself and bring it to us for repair, we’ll do it. This is for walk-in only. For mail-in, try Auto Be Yours. They do mail in repairs and they’re who we recommend for Prius multi-display repairs.
Are you handy? have more time than money?
If you’re looking at this and thinking, “I could probably do that.”, then you probably can. The only failure that I’ve seen thus far has been failed capacitors. I start with an inspection for broken solders and burnt components, then test all of the capacitors with and LCR meter. Any that are lower than specification, I replace. There are a couple of 22uF capacitors in parallel, so they’ll both read around 44uF, which is normal. As a general rule, if a capacitor reads under specification, it’s bad. If it reads over specification, it’s probably wired in parallel with other capacitors on the board.
ESR – equivalent series resistance
ESR is a good way to gauge the condition of a capacitor. However, there are a lot of charts out there and some of them don’t line up with my own test results using new capacitors. This is my favorite chart and it’s the “best” I’ve been able to find, in that it matches what I’d expect when testing known-good new capacitors and known-bad capacitors that are reading out of specification.
In general, new cheap Amazon or EBay capacitors have higher ESR than name brands like Panasonic, so in playing around while trying to learn to use the LCR meter I’ve come to the conclusion that buying name brand is worthwhile.
Call for current pricing and to schedule an appointment 510-540-7093
We stock all of the capacitors needed for the Prius combination meter repair, so there’s no need to wait for parts to arrive. We buy genuine Panasonic capacitors with the same form factor. For instance, if a capacitor is a SMD high-vibration rated, we use the same type. For one particular 100uF capacitor, which is always bad, we use a 200uF capacitor, so that even when it degrades, it’s unlikely to cause a failure. We noticed that the new Toyota boards came with the same upgrade so we decided to duplicate it.
Is it possible that we won’t be able to repair your combination meter? Yes, but we haven’t run in to this issue yet. Before we did our first “live” repair, I tested and repaired 10 used boards and then verified that they worked normally by burning them in for days at a time. It seems to always be failed capacitors, and that’s repairable.
If your board is broken in a way that we can’t figure out, or in a way that can’t be fixed, we have quite a few used boards, so it’s likely we’ll have one that can be repaired and then programmed with the correct mileage for your car, which we also do in-house. By the way, there are three different versions of the 2004-2009 Prius combination meter. 2004 has one type, 2005 another, and 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 have a third style.