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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 0
Average Mileage:
78,521 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 7)

problem #132

Mar 012016


  • 299,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. The contact noticed that the odometer gauge was not functioning. The gauge remained at 299,000 miles. The dealer informed the contact that the odometer gauge needed to be replaced and also stated that the gauge was designed to stop at 299,000 miles. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and indicated that they had not received any complaints concerning the odometer gauge failing to work after a certain amount of miles. The failure mileage was 299,000.

- Homestead, FL, USA

problem #131

Apr 092016


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. While driving at various speeds, the vehicle accelerated independently and the hybrid battery warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the hybrid battery failed and caused the rpms to rev and the battery needed to the replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 140,000.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #130

Jan 282016


  • 155,000 miles
Dash goes completely blank while in motion and car will not turn off

- Duncan, SC, USA

problem #129

Jan 112016


  • 211,000 miles


Digital dashboard sometimes is completely blank for extended periods so that I can't see my speed, fuel levels, odometer, and other info. When I start up it happens and continues the whole time I am driving. It is causing other problems related to the hydrolic braking sometimes as well when this happens.

- Hazel Park, MI, USA

problem #128

Nov 112015


  • miles
The car kept slipping into neutral when wanting to drive. Parking button didn't work.the vehicle was parked and I was trying to drive it.

- Somerville, MA, USA

problem #127

Jul 012015


  • 159,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while driving the vehicle, the combination meter would intermittently fail causing the instrument panel gauges to stop functioning. In addition. The parking brake did not function. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that combination meter would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failures. The failure mileage was 159,000. The VIN was not available.

- Marble, NC, USA

problem #126

Sep 162015


  • 132,000 miles


Our daughter drove the vehicle to school. She parked the vehicle and found that the vehicle would not turn off. We took the vehicle to the dealership and was told by the service advisor that the cause of this problem was a part called the combination meter. He advised that the part was recalled and we should have been contacted by Toyota. He provided me with a phone number for the Toyota corporations recall department. I telephoned Toyota and they advised me that I was misinformed by the service advisor and that the part was not recalled, but there was an extended warranty issued on the part in 2012. I asked why the vehicle was not recalled and was told because it wasn't a safet my concern is that this vehicle is unsafe if this part fails. By surfing the internet, I found that there have been many complaints by others regarding the same problem. If my daughter would have driven this vehicle home, parked the vehicle in the garage as she usually does. The vehicle would not have turned off. The vehicle is a hybrid and when the battery power was depleted, the gasoline engine would have kicked on. This could have caused a danger, due to carbon monoxide poisoning to any occupants within the house. Additionally, if the anti lock braking system no longer works when this part fails, the braking distance increases in an emergency braking situation. When this part fails the dash goes completely black, the driver is unaware that the ABS braking system is no longer working. The driver is also unable to see the speedometer or any other gauges in the dash. Due to recent deaths, due to carbon monoxide poisoning caused by vehicles not turning off. I feel that Toyota is negligent for not taking my concerns more seriously. Toyota is aware that there is a problem with this part, they issued an extended warranty in 2012.

- Etiwanda, CA, USA

problem #125

Aug 192015


  • 174,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. After the vehicle was shifted into the park position, the contact exited the vehicle as it began to roll away. The vehicle struck the contact. The instrument panel failed to illuminate. A police report was not filed and there were no injuries reported. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, where it was not diagnosed or repaired. In addition, the contact attempted to turn the ignition to the off position, but the key failed to eject from the vehicle. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer, where it was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 174,000.

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #124

Aug 202015


  • 174,000 miles
The car jumps out of gear, or it won't go into park. But it started to drives away after I got out of the car, or as I was getting out. This happen twice, once at the dealer. The display for transmission position was broken. The same display that shows speed, fuel level and other items was not working. Also, I could not shut off the car or remove the key. The first time it happen was 8/19/2015 at a car wash. The display went dead during the wash. Wile trying to fix the problem, the car drove away in reverse and knocked me over. I had minor injuries. I might have some other problems as a result of that accident. The next day I want to the dealer. Without looking at the car (no computer analysis), the service man told me the display and computer was bad. He said it happens a lot. He also quoted me a price of around $700. I went back to my daughter house to look for another dealer and to research the issue. (I was visiting from ca). At her house, I noticed the car would not shut off and I could not get the key out (the dealer rep told me to put the key in the slot). So I just went back to the dealer to have them fix it and pay the price. (it should be noted that the dealer and its employees never gave me the same information and they wanted me to get so frustrated, that I would leave with the car not repaired. They suggested that I take it somewhere else. At one point, they claimed that I told them I was going to take the car away without the repair. I never said that! they did everything they could to make me mad and so would not fix the car). When I went back to the dealers, the car drive away, again in reverse. I had to hop on one leg to keep up and get back in to stop it. In ether case, I could have been killed. No display, can't shut it off and it jumps into gear!! that is a safety issue! life and death issue it is!

- Santa Clara , CA, USA

problem #123

Aug 192015


  • 174,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. While washing the vehicle, the contact noticed 2-3 drops of water entering the front passenger side window. The window was closed at the time of the failure. Additionally, when the vehicle was started, the contact noticed that the instrument panel failed and would not illuminate. The contact engaged the push-to-start button with the brakes applied to shut off the vehicle, but to no avail. The contact then shifted into park and attempted to exit the vehicle when the vehicle abnormally accelerated. The contact was knocked to the ground by the driver side door and sustained minor injuries. As a result. The dealer stated that the instrument panel computer needed to be replaced. The dealer failed to perform a diagnostic to determine the cause of the electrical failure or the acceleration failure. The dealer also advised the contact that the manufacturer extended a warranty to cover the failure, but the contact's vehicle was over the mileage limitation by 4,000 miles. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 174,000. The VIN was not available.

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #122

Jul 102014


  • 65,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. While driving at approximately 25 mph, the air bag warning light illuminated on and off. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the main wiring harness needed to be replaced and not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 65,000.

- Missoula, MT, USA

problem #121

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 #120

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 #119

Apr 192015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 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 #118

Jul 222014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 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 #117

Mar 042015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 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 #116

Feb 062015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 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 #115

Jan 082015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 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 #114

Dec 012013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 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 #113

Nov 242014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 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!

- West Chester, PA, USA

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