Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
5 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,249 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Toyota Prius engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Toyota Prius Owner Comments

problem #9

Aug 042013


  • 106,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while parking, the vehicle indecently accelerated to 115 mph. The contact applied the brakes and shifted into neutral in order to stop the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to the dealer however, the technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 106,000.

- Wilmington , NC, USA

problem #8

Dec 152009

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that upon starting, the vehicle jerked forward. In addition, while attempting to stop at a stop sign, the contact depressed the brake pedal but the vehicle hesitated to stop. The failure occurred on an intermittent basis. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic and an authorized dealer for diagnostics. The technicians were unable to duplicate the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 33,000... updated 09/15/11 the consumer stated he/she took the vehicle to the dealer auto shop on August 2, 2011 for the replacement of the electric power steering pinion shaft nuts. They adjusted the gear, accelerator and steering. However, the problem still exists. The vehicle accelerates and moves forward as soon as the consumer starts it. Updated 10/03/11

- East Meadow , NY, USA

problem #7

Jan 062010


  • miles
2002 Toyota Prius accident the consumer stated she was leaving a meeting when she attempted to release her emergency brake. She was parked on an incline and has parked there once a month for over a year. Before she knew what was happening, the vehicle started to roll backwards at such high speed that she was unable to control it by braking. Therefore, she side swiped another vehicle and caused over $10,500 worth of damage to both cars.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #6

Aug 122007


  • miles


The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Prius. While driving 10 mph the RPM's increased excessively causing the vehicle to accelerate and crash into a building. The vehicle was destroyed and no one was injured. The contact stated that the brakes failed to stop the vehicle. The manufacturer was not informed of the failure. The contact is concerned that the late model Toyota have not been investigated regarding the acceleration. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Ithaca, NY, USA

problem #5

Jun 102003


  • 15,000 miles
My 2002 Prius has braking problems when it hits a rough patch of pavement or encounters small bumps. This has happened since it was purchased (new). If you are slowing down and hit a bump or a series of bumps, the braking power literally disappears for a moment or two. The braking power does return, but it adds considerably to your stopping distance. I never realized how serious it could be until I heard about the other Toyota recalls involving brakes.

- Dunstable, MA, USA

problem #4

Jun 062008


  • 40,000 miles
I believe Toyota has known of the braking problem all along. I purchased new, a 2002 Prius. In 2008 my anti-locking brake system went out. The service mgr. Told me it needed a new relay, and he could fix it for $1700. I have never in my life seen a relay costing $1700. My brakes still worked, just not properly so I didn't spend the $1700. As long as Toyota can get their customers to spend $1700. There is no need to have a recall. I have around 47000 miles on the vehicle and am on my third set of rotors and brake pads. My tires actually last longer. I believe this braking problem has been around from day one. I think ray lahood should check frequency of this repair against customers records, it might reveal a consistent fault.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #3

Nov 152009


  • 86,000 miles


I drive a used 2002 Toyota Prius, which now has about 86,000 miles on it. In November 2009 I was parking when the car spontaneously accelerated. My speed was less than 2mph, my foot was continuously on the brake while easing into the parking space, prior to the uncontrollable acceleration. Suddenly without warning I heard the engine race and the car bolted forward, unresponsive to my braking. I only stopped when my car collided head on with a parked car, which was moved about two feet by our collision. It happened too fast to even think of changing gear into neutral, because I was only 5 feet from the other car when the spontaneous acceleration occurred. After the accident I looked for cause and I determined that no object in the cab had accidentally pushed the accelerator pedal, including the floor mat. I believe that because of the small number of drivers experiencing uncontrollable acceleration out of the millions of Toyota sold, that the phenomenon is caused by two or more independent errors in the vehicle electronics, occurring unfortunately at the same time. The confluence of two unlikely events has even smaller probability, therefore few occurrences. For example if the cruise control failed to disengage and also there was a significant delay in the signal from brake pedal to brake drums, the combination could be tragic. The Toyota Prius 2002 model which I drive has not been recalled; however since the accident I have been ever on the alert, prepared to gear into neutral. Even this vigilance will not provide safety if the distance between my car and an obstacle or crevasse is short when the flaw surfaces again; given the finite speed of human nervous transmission, the car's sudden, uncontrollable acceleration needs to be investigated.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #2

Oct 292009


  • 49,000 miles
2002 Prius suddenly speeded up just before I got to waist high back deck of our house. I hit the clip on sunvisor. Had 25 stitches in scalp. Have not seen this model in recall. Car was totaled. Did not have on seatbelt as I was only getting the paper at the end of long driveway early in the am.

- Dundee, OR, USA

problem #1

Sep 242005

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,240 miles
I had just left one area of a parking lot and was traveling to another at a low rate of speed (5 to 15 mph) so my 2002 Toyota Prius was running under electrical power. I turned right to pull into a parking space between two SUVS, coasting in with my foot over the break pedal. When I was more than halfway into the parking space, the car suddenly shot forward jumping the curb and stopping only when it hit a stone pillar. When I looked down (after checking to see if my 13 year old son was alright, I saw that my foot was on the brake pedal. Fortunately no pedestrian was in the walkway, and I did not hit the SUV to my right or left. However, the unexpected acceleration was not a result of pressing on the gas pedal.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

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