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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
15,572 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 2)

problem #39

Feb 272009


  • 62 miles


On 2/27/09, my 2005 Toyota Prius' brakes completely failed. I was going downhill in an highly transited urban road (rte 123 in va, close to tysons corner). Thankfully I was only going about 40mph when the light changed to red. The 2 vehicles in front of me stopped. I pressed the brake pedal and my car accelerated initially, and then nothing. Brakes are meant to work. Always. I kept pumping the pedal hoping to engage the breaks, but they did not engage. What stopped me was the rear of a BMW X5. Thankfully I was the only injured party, and my injuries are mostly muscular. I could have died or I could have killed someone. In January, I had taking my car to the dealer because all the alert lights on the dash would sporadically go off. They kept the car for a week and claimed that the secondary battery needed to be replaced. I got my vehicle back and on 2/23/09 the issue restarted. I was due to take my car back to the dealer the day of the accident. I called a lawyer to see if I had a case, and was told no. I am still researching the issue because someone should be held accountable and future tragedies should be avoided. If anyone has started a class action suit, please do let me know as I would like to join you.

- Burtonsville, MD, USA

problem #38

Dec 272008


  • 94,000 miles
On three separate occasions my headlamps have gone out. Each time it has been the right or left side. The fourth time. The lights came on using the hi-beam only. Numerous incidents have taken place. This is the second time my wife has been pulled over for this. I have replaced these myself. However, this last time it is not the bulb. It is the electrical system. According to the forum. Costs have been from $300 - 2K. Some dealerships assume some responsibility and others don't. this is a safety and expense issue. Driving home is very difficult at night and using the hi-beam is blinding to on coming traffic and against the law in most circumstances.

- Battle Ground, WA, USA

problem #37

Nov 222008


  • 120,000 miles
Left headlight keeps going out in Prius. Turn off then back on to reset both headlights went out one night and almost caused a wreck it reset once I turned it off and back on.

- Mobile, AL, USA

problem #36

Oct 012006


  • 13,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. For the past two years, the vehicle has emitted an odor inside the passenger compartment, which sticks to the contact's clothing and hair. The odor has been recognized by Toyota as an odor that originates from the rear battery which is found under the back seat. The odor is triggered by extreme heat and while pulling heavy loads. The contact lives in Arizona so the vehicle is subjected to extreme heat. Toyota stated that the odor was non-toxic and that there was no current remedy for the defect. The contact believes that the chemical may be toxic and feels uncomfortable driving the vehicle. The failure mileage was 13,000 and current mileage was 45,000.

- Surprise , AZ, USA

problem #35

Jul 142008


  • 80,000 miles
I own a 2005 Toyota Prius. I purchased it in March 2005. Last week, my multifunctional display (mfd) ceased to operate correctly. The mfd initialized to the mpg screen but had unusual colors. I attempted to change the display screen by selecting the audio, climate, display, and info buttons but to no avail. The screen would go blank and then show the "Prius hybrid" initializing screen and then return to the mpg screen. As I was nearing my 80K service, I contacted my dealer and reported the problem. They diagnosed the mfd as being unserviceable that next Saturday. The service representative made the comment that it was common for the mfd to go bad. To replace the mfd with a new one, it is $4,000 plus installation. That is 19% of the cost of the vehicle when it was brand new! I began researching and found that Toyota had issued a technical service bulletin on 10 January 2005 title: Multi-display functions are inoperative; tsb# EL002-05 which identified issues with the mfd. Also in browsing the web specifically www.priuschat.com and autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/Prius-2G/ and saw that I was not the only one with this problem. One electronically gifted person disassembled his mfd and diagnosed the problem as improper soldering on the circuit card (see techno-fandom.org/~hobbit/cars/mfd/compare.html ). it seems that Toyota corporation was aware of the problem and were not disclosing it hoping that the faulty mfd?S would not be discovered until the vehicles exceeded the 3 year 36,000 warranty. I know I am outside the mileage warranty, however, I am just passed the 3 year window. I purchased and use my car as a commuter vehicle driving almost 100 miles per day. As a maintenance officer in the us army, I know there are components that are mileage dependent (engines, transmissions, differentials) but this is not one of them. Electrical components are built to last the majority of vehicles life, not just until the warranty expires.

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #34

Aug 102007


  • 33,000 miles
Five no starting concerns after two years of ownership.

- Dearborn, MI, USA

problem #33

Feb 102008

Prius 4-cyl

  • 58,203 miles


2005 Toyota Prius right hid headlamp flickers and sometimes turns off while driving. Dealer will not cover extensive repair cost. From internet information this seems to be a very common problem that could be very dangerous if both headlights quit simultaneously.

- Waterloo, IL, USA

problem #32

Oct 012007

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. While being serviced at the dealer, they noticed that the headlights were distorted. The plating on the internal part of the headlights were overheating. There is no way to release this heat and the contact is concerned that a possible fire may occur. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but they did not want to be responsible because it was no longer under warranty. The failure mileage was 40,000 and current mileage was 41,000. Updated 01-14-08. Updated 12/12/07.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #31

Nov 092006

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
: the contact stated while driving 65 mph under normal road conditions, the vehicle stalled. There were no warnings prior to the failure. The vehicle was taken to the service dealer, who was not able to identify the problem. Updated 12/18/2006 -

- Brunswick, ME, USA

problem #30

Feb 212006

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,500 miles
: the contact stated the console showed whether the vehicle was running on engine power or electrical power. Since purchase the vehicle has not operated on electrical power at low speeds. The dealership determined there is nothing wrong with the vehicle.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #29

Sep 152005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,216 miles


My 2005 Prius had engine failure while traveling at high speed on the highway. I pulled over and had to get the car towed, and the computer reset. I soon after learned of a recall, and now I am told that my car does not qualify for the recall. I think it is unsafe, and I want the computer problem remedied.

- Hadley, MA, USA

problem #28

Jan 222006

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,170 miles
While driving on the freeway at speeds up to 65 mph pulled off and went through a small town. After coming to a stop light started to press the gas pedal to accelerate and the red triangle with an exclamation mark lit up on the dashboard, and then the small car with exclamation mark came on the lcd screen. The car didn't stall nor loose power, but I pulled over to check and see what the owner's manual said. It stated to contact the dealer. Had the car towed. Tried to power off and on twice but the icons still remained, and on the lcd stated a problem existed. Also, it seemed T when I powering on/off the engine did not kick in as usual. However, I am not sure, if I left the car powered on long enough because it usually took 20-30 seconds before engine kicked in.

- Lompoc, CA, USA

problem #27

Oct 132005


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a 2005 Toyota Prius. I got my car 8-23-2005 and on 10-13-2005 I was hit on the passenger side while making a left hand turn. The intersections was just after a traffic circle, signs was missing, it was raining, dusk and the person who hit me did not have her lights on and was driving too fast for conditions. My car stopped, and could not be restarted. It was towed. I called my insurance company and was sent to a repair facility. After several days they got my car, but because it would not start, towed it to a Toyota shop. It sat there for 10 days, until I called, then it was sent back to the repair shop. It took 6 more weeks for the car to be repaired. One delay was in getting the seat-belt, which was supposed to come with the seat, but did not. It had to be shipped from Japan (I was told). After the repair was done, 9 weeks after the accident, the car would not start. It was towed to another Toyota dealership. Two weeks later, I am told that a wiring harness was the problem. This has to be shipped from Japan, and the expected date of arrival is 1-11-2006. Meanwhile, I have not had my car for nearly 3 months. My insurance paid for 30 days of a rental car (I waited a week to get the rental car), then I paid for another 4 weeks. I have notified Toyota 2 times about this situation. I have called the dealership, where I have a "special" customer convenience card. This card only seems to be good for purchases, and not for actual assistance. I think Prius owners need to know that their cars can only be repaired at a few locations, and most dealerships can not repair them properly. Additionally, I think the car has a significant blinds pot, as I am frequently surprised by other cars suddenly appearing.

- Timonium, MD, USA

problem #26

Nov 032005

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,334 miles
After Toyota's recalling 75,000 Prius in U.S., I took my 2005 Prius into torrance Toyota(310-325-75000) to have the software"glitch"repaired. Michael gallagher(service advisor) told me there is additional glitches and now my car is inoperable and he has been ask

- Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, USA

problem #25

Oct 312005

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
Toyota Prius; driving on interstate 287 in New Jersey when the engine cut out and would not restart.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #24

Jul 292005


  • 10,507 miles
2005 Toyota Prius stalling at 35-40 mph. The vehicle would not restart and was towed to a repair facility. The consumer was told that the problem was due to bad programming at the factory. The computer wa reset per tsb EG047-04.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #23

Sep 122005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,010 miles
While stopped at a stop light, I got a red triangle with ! inside that came on. The vehicle engine stopped and the car was put automatically in park. I could not restart the car and had to have it towed. The accessories still worked, just no engine.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #22

Jun 152005

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,000 miles
Vehicle stalled/died and lost power. This happened on 08.15/2005.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #21

Aug 262005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,000 miles
1 )stall on 5/26/05 @1:30 pm at a speed of 35 mph + - without warning. After few mints I able to start & got the engine, & restarted & also re started ac & got gogoing. Same day @ 4:30 pm ac was shut off without warning and screen was completely blank @ speed of 62 mph + -, pulled of to shoulder turned off ing. 2) same thing on 8/31/05 11:30 am @ speed of 55 mph first ac went & with in less than a mile engine went completely, did not start in first few minutes, after waiting 10 or so minutes engine started & ac started. Drove to the dealer for check up, was given hard time by service rep, will not take in without appointment & refused to provide any assistance or a loner car. When I told him " you want me to get killed out in traffic" he replied " nothing I can do to help you I am doing my job what I am told" I asked want see manager he replied " he is on vacation no one is taking his place" I was very upset & angry with his reply & attitude in the end he added " go get a lawyer" I left the service department with appointment on 9/2/05 3:pm and then.......................! went to see sales person & she was very humble & help full, she set me up with loner- rental car at no charge & I left my car Prius 2005 with dealer ship for full check up. As of now car is @ dealership. Bhatia ps: Blue team service rep.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #20

Aug 242005

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,898 miles
2004 Toyota Prius with 23915 miles on it. Driving to work West on I-90 during rush hour engine stopped dead. I-90 is 8 lanes of traffic in spokane, wa. Had to have car towed to dealer for repairs. Problem was a failure in the electronic control unit. ECU had to be re-programed. Cause found by dealer: Found code P3191 & poaof codes. Found tbs #EG047-04. According to the service advisor, Toyota issued a technical bulletin covering this problem but stated there were too few failures to warant a recall. Being on an interstate during rush hour with traffic doing 70+ mph and having an engine failure could create a life threating situation very quickly. The last thing I asked the service advisor is if this will happen again? his response, "it shouldn't." that's reassuring.

- Post Falls, ID, USA

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