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Q: Plastic piece under my car is dragging on the road

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There is a large piece of plastic protecting the bottom of every 2010 Toyota Prius, and it just so happens that the one on mine is beginning to fall off and makes a terrible racket dragging on the ground. This car barely has 20,000 miles on it and this is unacceptable! Is this a defect? How could this just happen on such a new, high-tech car?

This is the same cover that needs to be removed to service the oil and filter. If the cover is not being removed and reinstalled completely by repairer, then it becomes warped over time. Unfortunately Toyota has not recalled this piece but has a technical service bulletin (TSB) 0032-11 dated 4/11/2011 to replace the complete cover and attachments with a new style. The new style may be better, but without seeing the new replacement unit, I could not say it will last any longer than the one you have now. The cover will last longer if it is removed and reinstalled by removing all attachments and not just opened at the hinged area. As far as repair of the original one and installing metal hinges, I have seen some owners post pictures of them installing aftermarket hinges that they got from a hardware store and attached with bolts. I cannot verify this as a solution, and no TSB recommends this as a repair.

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