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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
71,698 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.

2005 Toyota Prius electrical problems

electrical problem

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2005 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 6)

problem #120

Jun 022015


  • 142,600 miles


Just purchased this car. There is a pungent odor in car resulting in dizziness and nauseous and it leaves a strong chemical odor on the hair and clothing for hours after being in the vehicle. It is a strong, plastics odor. I googled this and found it is a common issue. There was one post that explained very clearly what the issue is. Toyota has ignored the problem but it can cause physical harm due to the toxins in the air as a result of the problem.

- Hamburg, NY, USA

problem #119

Apr 282015


  • 77,401 miles
I am currently experiencing troubles with my front passenger headlight. The problem first occurred about a year ago (Jan. 2014) when I purchased the car used from a car dealer in tysons corner va. I took the car back within days of noticing the light kept going out and asked them to repair the issue since I had just purchased the car. They did so and said that it was most likely a faulty light and replaced it. It is a little over a year now and the same light is going out again. What is happening is that when I turn the car on and turn on all of the car lights to drive it at night, they turn on, but about 15-20 minutes down the road and unbeknownst to me, the right passenger light goes out. Because of the shape of the car, you cannot tell that it is out. The only reason I knew it was out again was because I got pulled over and given a ticket. This is extremely unsafe and I have read a number of similar occurrences online. I took the car to the repair shop and they have said (after looking online) that the issue is the "headlight light control ECU sub-assembly". because of the safety risk this posses to the driver and others on the road, not to mention the cost of the single item to repair it, Toyota should make appropriate financial accommodations to those having this trouble. Normal ware and tare on the vehicle is reasonable, such as burt out lightbulbs but systems like this that work for a couple days and then suddenly do not is not safe.

- Winchester, VA, USA

problem #118

Apr 192015


  • 141,000 miles
Bought one-owner 2005 Prius 11-26-2014 after paying for a pre-purchase inspection at a Toyota dealer showing complete service record including all recall campaigns. 4-19-2015 without warning on the expressway, the entire 'combination meter display' simply turned off, leaving the car running in the blind, no gauges/meters/guidance of any kind. The car continued to operate and I drove directly home and parked it. Internet search revealed that this as a known safety issue by Toyota affecting 2004-2009 Prius models. Toyota issued a 'warranty enhancement-ztv' and warranty policy bulletin (bulletin no. Pol12-05) to effect the necessary safety repairs, but only applies if one discovers (meaning suffer the panic of having the entire panel go blank) the issue before either '9 years with no mileage limitation or before September 30, 2013', whichever is longer. In our case, it expired just before our pre-purchase inspection/purchase of the Prius and the dealer indicated/Toyota confirmed that this is not something that a Toyota dealer service department could have discovered through Toyota records. Instead, the owner has to wait for the failure to occur. In our case, Toyota corporate, with full knowledge of this safety defect, said our joint 'plan of action' was (a) if the display does not illuminate, under no circumstances drive the car, and have it towed to the Toyota dealership for necessary repairs, or (B) if the display illuminates, immediately drive it to the Toyota dealership for necessary repairs, but that (C) Toyota would 'decline to further participate or contribute' to the repair. This should be a mandated, required safety recall; by its own measure, up to 669,000 Prius models may be at risk to this known defect, yet Toyota refuses both the recall and the repair. How many out there are ticking time bombs?

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #117

Jul 222014


  • 140,000 miles


Purchased this vehicle used as a means of fuel efficient transportation while I am in college. I began experiencing headlight failure on the vehicle about a week after purchasing it from the dealership. When I brought it to their attention, I was informed that the headlights were under recall and would be replaced. A few months later the passenger side headlight began flickering again and went out again. The headlight comes on initially before flickering (sometimes violently) and going out again. I suspect that it is a power supply issue and not a headlight issue.

- Abita Springs, LA, USA

problem #116

Mar 042015


  • 109,465 miles
While driving at night, headlights turned off (failed). Stopped vehicle and waited a couple of minutes and turned light switch off and back on. Lights functioned ok. One week later, same failure occurred.

- Bedford, TX, USA

problem #115

Feb 062015


  • 211,000 miles
Left headlight will intermittently go off. There have been a couple of instances where both lights have gone off on the highway at night.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #114

Jan 082015


  • 164,845 miles


Driving after dark, temp 12 F, dashboard light went black on area behind steering wheel. Upon arriving at destination, vehicle took several attempts before it turned off. Car was taken to Toyota dealer. I suggested this problem may be on a recall for the multi system light in the dash. After 2 hours Toyota did not address the "recall" issue and diagnosed loose batter cable. Car performed normally. Next morning the car started and dashboard lighting came on as per usual. End of day when temp dropped dashboard went black again and the car was difficult to turn off at end destination. Toyota dealer was called immediately (Sunday) left message. Called again next morning after 10am no call received from dealership.

- Mason, NH, USA

problem #113

Dec 012013


  • 75,000 miles
Intermittent failure of headlight (left and right, though not simultaneously). Problem can be temporarily corrected by turning headlights off, then on. This issue occurs while driving (twice within a one hour drive) and when the car has just been started. Fuses have been checked and headlight bulbs have been replaced with no resolution.

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #112

Nov 242014


  • 150,000 miles
Car when in park or stopped (at a stop sign or light) will automatically shift into neutral about a second after I try to put it in reverse or drive. It began happening about a month ago and now happens every time I start the car. It also began happening at stoplights and almost caused an accident when I was trying to accelerate onto a fast highway from a stoplight last week. It takes up to 10 attempts to keep it in drive or reverse now from a stopped position, and I never know when or for how long it will happen. Other than this, my car is in good condition and has not had any problems. I looked up the issue online, and from what a lot of other Prius drivers say, it sounds like a major issue with the shift lever assembly (see below for links to forums where many others have the same issue). This fix costs a few hundred dollars, and it seems common in the 2004-2009 Prius. It has a tsb out on it (see link below), so the issue is known—but this part should be issued a recall for those having issues!! it is a dangerous and not-uncommon defect, and I am afraid for my safety when driving this car now! www.toyotanation.com/forum/62-Prius-forum/343977-08-Prius-won-T-stay-gear.html www.justanswer.com/Toyota/6wctj-Toyota-Prius-Prius-2008-will-not-stay-reverse-drive.html priuschat.com/threads/2008-Prius-shifts-back-to-neutral-wont-stay-in-drive-revposted-wed-Aug-12-2009-7-04-am.67254/#axzz3mfyfau2J

- West Chester, PA, USA

problem #111

Oct 152014


  • 228,534 miles
My left head light goes out intermittently. The light goes back on when I turn the lights off and then on again. This seems to be a problem that Prius owners are regularly experiencing.

- Findlay, OH, USA

problem #110

Nov 072014


  • 213,884 miles


The right side headlight goes out multiple times for no apparent reason. I have to turn the lights off- then back on--it will come back on--only till it goes out again.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #109

Sep 252014


  • 130,000 miles
Today, when our 2005 Prius was turned on, the dashboard lights, including the odometer and speedometer, and all of the dashboard warning lights, did not illuminate. Additionally, the Prius would not turn off by pushing the button on the dash. A google search revealed a known problem with the combination meter display that controls the dashboard lights, including all of the safety warning lights, that prompted Toyota to issue a warranty enhancement, covering this defect either for 9 years from the date the car was first put into service or until September 30, 2013, whichever is longer. As it turns out, my Prius is outside this warranty extension by three days. I called the national Toyota customer experience center at Toyota and was told, because there was a warranty extension, no further extensions can be granted and I am responsible for the repair of this defect. I have an issue with this due to the fact the module in question is not user-affected or serviceable in any way. If its engineering and/or manufacturing is such that it only lasts 9 years, and it is crucial to the operation of the car, and the display of system warning lights that reflect any problems with the supplemental restraint system, braking system, hybrid system, etc. I have an issue because this electronic device makes the car inoperable and many people with Toyota Prius vehicles, from model years 2004-2009 are experiencing this problem. Shouldn't non-serviceable, critical parts to the operation of a car, that display the status of safety-related systems, last more than 9 years? there will be consumers who opt to drive the car anyway, which could lead to injuries and death, depending on the status of their safety-related systems, which they have no way of being able to see when this defect appears in their cars, at the time of a crash or need to brake in an emergency.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #108

Aug 302014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 203,000 miles
Hybrid battery exploded in car, I thought someone shot at me or bomb went off in car. Later I realized there was a problem with the hybrid system. I couldn't get a hold of Toyota or representative of Toyota, I took battery out so there wouldn't be a fire. When I opened casing up I saw the damage where a cell or two exploded inside hybrid battery pack. When I finally got to talk to someone from Toyota 4 days later and told them I removed the pack so it wouldn't start a fire in car and for the authorities to inspect battery, they started yelling at me for driving the car and removing the battery. I said this is a safety issue, it can happen to anyone. It has affected me, my child and dogs hearing as a result and negligence of Toyota. I was scared and frightened by Toyota's response and the call back after I yelled at the and hung up. I got a call back from them where I was threatened by a man. I thought Toyota cared about customers, not to threaten them, and to tamper with evidence and hide a safety issue.

- Niagara Falls, NY, USA

problem #107

Aug 252014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
I went from a stationary driving position, to driving off at 20 mph down a 3 lane highway, suddenly a few seconds after, all these lights came on: Flashing warning light, brake lights, ABS light and a loud beeping noise. I had no power, no brakes?.. fortunately there was nobody in front of me or close behind and I could veer into the side of the road. I turned the car off totally. And then tried to turn it back on again to see what would happen, and all the same lights and beeping noise started again. Had the car towed to Toyota in santa monica. There was no manager on site. One of the service guys said he would have it checked. They refused to give me a temporary rental or substitute car - they said they would give me a ride to a rental place! this is 11 a.M. the following morning. The manager at the dealership is still not there. The associate called me and said I could pay to have it repaired !! I have called the Toyota customer relations service, who say they will get back to me in "a day or so". aside from my life and others lives, being put in total jeopardy by my cars' failure, I think the lack of urgency on this matter is appalling. There may be other Prius cars that will have the same failure, and people killed.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #106

Jun 302014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 80,800 miles
In 2007, we purchased a certified used Toyota Prius 2005 with 13,298 miles. We have owned this car ever since. We currently have about 81,000 miles on this vehicle. Brake failure incident on June 30, 2014, I was driving the 2005 Prius slowly (10-15 mph) along a roadway located in a tecumseh, mi city park: ¿¢as the car approached a local street, I braked for a stop before making a right-hand turn. As I engaged the brake, the ABS system red light appeared, the red brake light was lit and the related buzzer was activated as well. ¿¢as I braked, my right foot went all the way to the floor. I experienced complete and total brake failure. ¿¢I finally stopped the car with the emergency brake. ¿¢I drove the Prius very slowly over the two miles home, using the emergency brake to stop as needed. ¿¢my wife and daughter were riding with me in the car and witnessed the incident. On July 1, 2014, I contacted aaa and arranged to have the car towed to a repair shop in ann arbor, mi ¿¿ 30 miles away. After a week, at the repair shop I arranged to have the vehicle towed to the local Toyota service facility. Over the previous five months, I experienced another curious problem that may be brake related. When braking on bumpy roads (we have horrible pot holes on many major streets and roads) or curb cuts, the car accelerates ever so briefly. The feeling of loss of control is very disturbing. It remains to be seen if this problem is related to the brake failure noted above. There were no injuries as a result of this brake failure. However, I had just returned home from business in a neighboring community 35 miles away. I often drive backcountry county roads with posted speeds of 55 mph. If I had experienced the brake failure then, I might well have been killed along with others.

- Tecumseh, MI, USA

problem #105

Apr 142014


  • 150,000 miles
Both of my Prius headlights went off, for no apparent reason, while driving down a busy highway. Flicking them off and then back on brought them on again, but this is a dangerous situation. This has happened one more time since then. This could cause a serious accident. Toyota is unable to isolate the problem. The company wants to replace the bulbs, but this doesn't fix the problem, according to many other people who have had this problem. Replacing the bulbs or adjacent parts can cost hundreds of dollars, which is not sustainable. It seems that a recall is in order.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #104

Feb 272014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 97,448 miles
On 2/27/14 the SRS indicator light in our vehicle lit up causing us to review the owner's manual, which recommended immediate service. Per technical service bulletin T-sb-0042-11, this issue was caused by failure of the wiring harness, which was diagnosed with scanner code B1826. According to the tsb, the design/material fault can occur in 2004-2009 priuses. The fault, according to a Toyota service advisor, results in a failure of the air bag system. To address the condition, "an updated wire harness must be installed." The cost to repair this design fault is $2,500. And up depending on if one or both sides of the wiring harness has to be replaced. Because this safety related defect needed to be addressed at once we paid to have the vehicle repaired but expressed our view to the Toyota personnel that the defect should have been covered by Toyota. We feel that this defect should have been the subject of a recall. Calls to the GM of the dealership have not been returned.

- Moraga, CA, USA

problem #103

Dec 312013


  • 182,000 miles
After a short period of time headlight flickers then goes out. Have to turn off then on, only to last a short time. Brand new bulbs.

- Springfield, MA, USA

problem #102

Dec 152013


  • 170,000 miles
The dashboard screen goes blank. This has happened twice in the last couple of days. I can't tell how fast I'm going, how much gas is left, what gear I'm in, how much mileage is on the vehicle, whether or not the lights are on, etc. Toyota has a service notice about it, but my vehicle is just 2 months out of warranty. I didn't have this problem before while it was in warranty. It is extremely unsafe.

- Walnut, CA, USA

problem #101

Aug 072013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 175,000 miles
The headlights would shut off and not come back on during various speeds. It was extremely dangerous. While driving at night at 65mph a headlight ( randomly left or right) would shut off at night). I would have to pull over and turn the light switch off to reactivate the headlight!!! the headlight would come back on once the switch was turned off and on again, but several miles down the road, a headlight would go off again!!! this is extremely dangerous!! we brought it to a Toyota garage, and were told there was a recall on these headlights but not for our 2005 vehicle. We paid $476 to replace both headlights!! how can headlights be recalled for this problem and be covered for certain years only"?? with the research I have done it appears this is a dangerous problem for 2005 models too!!! why wait for accidents or deaths??" thus occurred at all speeds!!

- South China, ME, USA

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