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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
22 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
12 / 0
Average Mileage:
15,789 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.

2009 Toyota Prius engine problems

engine problem

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2009 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #41

Mar 312010


  • 6,800 miles


I was driving my newly purchased 2009 Toyota Prius (VIN# [xxx]) on rt 66 in arlington Virginia on March 31, 2010. I was driving approximately 50-60 miles per hour and accelerating. I took my foot off the accelerator to slow the car and the car kept accelerating. I then depressed the brake, but the car did not slow, and in fact I heard what sounded like the engine ¿gunning¿ and it continued to accelerate. I pressed the brake down as far as it would go and while the car slowed its acceleration, it did not slow or stop the car. As soon as I lifted my foot from the brake, the car began to accelerate again and I could hear the engine racing. I pressed the brake again, and the same thing happened ¿ the car slowed its acceleration, but did not slow its overall speed. As soon as I lifted my foot from the brake, the car accelerated. I did this three times, becoming increasingly afraid. I then jammed my foot hard on the brake and pulled off onto the side of the highway. I turned the car off, and it finally stopped. I sat there for a few moments, then turned the car back on and got back onto the highway. As soon as I got up to highway speeds, the same thing happened again ¿ the car accelerated on its own and the brake would not stop the car. I pulled over a second time and turned the car off as the only was I could find to stop it. I turned the car on again, and this time was able to reach my destination with no more incidents. I reported the problem to the carmax dealer from whom it was purchased and have been on hold to report this directly to Toyota for over 30 minutes, but have been unable to get through. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #40

Mar 242010

(reported on)


  • miles
2009 Toyota Prius. Consumer states extraordinary experience with brake/acceleration problems. The consumer stated while waiting for her husband, she put the vehicle in park mode. She then decided to return to the front entrance of the building. She put the gear into reverse and let the vehicle go at its own speed. She stated she never touched the accelerator, but as she was about to turn the wheel to go through the front entrance, the vehicle then accelerated quickly. The consumer quickly put her foot on the brake, but they didn't work. She quickly turned the steering wheel to the right to avoid hitting a pedestrian. She ran over 2 trees, which brought the vehicle to a stop.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #39

Mar 162009


  • 15,000 miles
We purchased a 2009 Prius, 11/08. In 3/16/09 it accelerated unexpectedly on the NJ turnpike near newark airport, a speed judged at 85 miles/hour. I was the driver, there were 4 passengers. Clearly unattended acceleration not caused by a floor mat. Scenario: Traveling in right lane, came up behind cement mixer traveling at 45-50 mi/hour; accelerated quickly to get into middle lane; middle lane traffic constant, traveling min. 70 mi/hour; once in middle lane, de-accelerated; instead of de-accelerating, the car engine roared, taking off at an unbelievable speed; turned on flashers, put foot on brake; able to control speed of car, breaking all the time, engine roaring. No place to pull over. Only thought: Get to toll booth, hope I could stop it completely with brake; suddenly, after about 5 min., there was a sound in the engine (?) like a thud; car resumed normal operations. Follow-up: Went into nyc, drove car home that evening, 3 hour drive; husband took car to vineland Toyota dealer where bought; they said black box showed that, in addition to most recent acceleration, there were prior accelerations; we never noticed them; they could find nothing wrong with it; said mat had been the problem; husband, former CEO/amer. Lung assoc., contacted Toyota regional, saying that he was not satisfied with diagnosis of problem - we were afraid to drive the car. Knew management because of Toyota's support of ala. In fact, after his retirement, endorsed '02 Prius in Toyota brochure, and was featured in 2 Toyota videos; management sent techs from reg. Office; reps concurred with dealer: Problem was floor mat. Outcome: No work we know of was done to rectify acceleration; mat removed, but couldn't see how it interfered with pedal. Couldn't replicate the event by moving mat around. No explanation for thud; little likelihood that the mat could slip back in place. Don't trust car! please advise us of your intent on this matter. Thank you.

- Shiloh, NJ, USA

problem #38

May 012009


  • miles


The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while approaching a traffic light at approximately 5 mph, the vehicle abnormally accelerated. The vehicle proceeded to crash into another vehicle before coming to a stop. There were two injuries. A police report was filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The vehicle had not been tested or investigated by the dealer. The failure mileage and VIN were not available at the time of the complaint.

- Holladay, UT, USA

problem #37

Sep 232009


  • 12,299 miles
The contact rented a 2009 Toyota Prius. While driving at speeds of 40 mph up hill, the vehicle abnormally accelerated and crashed into an 18-wheel truck. The driver sustained a broken leg and was transported to the hospital via helicopter. The front end of the vehicle was severely damaged and was towed back to the rental car company. The contact secured legal council to handle the matter. The failure mileage was 12,299 and the current was unknown.

- Kenner, LA, USA

problem #36

Feb 282010


  • 2,960 miles
This is extremely urgent! I own a 2009 Toyota Prius with no floor mats in it at all and the gas pedal stuck once a few days before the driver in California(2008 Prius)was stuck speeding on highway and stopped by police. After seeing that story, I was compelled to share my story. Toyota refused to help me saying my year wasn't in recall list. It happen the same way it happen to him in calif. I was accelerating on highway to pass driver and it stuck for 20 seconds then unstuck. I slammed on brakes which didn't help much. I started going upwards to 70 mphs with braked to the floor. There were no floor mats in car at the time. I'm afraid I will be the next Prius that may cause accident or even kill someone. Please help! Toyota refuses to see my car! I don't know what to do...maybe I should go to the news. I'm scared!

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #35

Feb 012010


  • 11,200 miles


My 2009 Toyota Prius was stopped at a traffic light when it suddenly lurched forward. My foot was on the brake at the time. I brought my car to my Toyota dealer, where they inspected it and told me that they couldn't tell me why it happened.

- Goleta, CA, USA

problem #34

Mar 012010


  • 36,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Prius. The contact was driving approximately 2 mph into a parking space with pressure applied to the brake pedal. The vehicle slowed down, followed by an unexpected acceleration. The vehicle crashed into a handicap parking pole. There were no injuries. There was a separate occasion when the gear selector failed to shift into reverse gear or park position. The failure occurred intermittently vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer. The technician stated that the vehicle was functioning properly. The vehicle has not been repaired at this time. The failure mileage was 36,000.

- Richmond , TX, USA

problem #33

Mar 102010


  • 36,000 miles
I just bought a 2009 Prius & there are so many issues with unexpected acceleration & vehicle not going into park or reverse just stops in neutral, I was at a heb sore trying to park, all of a sudden my car sped up an hit a pole in front of me, I was trying to park, with my foot on break, so as to slow down, yesterday I had my wife drive the Prius & the car suddenly stopped would not go into reverse or drive, that was very dangerous then they pull into a target parking lot I had to drive out there to meet them, it took almost 1hr & 3mins to get the car in reverse, off course I called my Toyota sales guy this being the third time I have reported this incident & the keep down playing it saying there is nothing wrong, not really looking into it.

- Richmond, TX, USA

problem #32

Feb 042010


  • 11,280 miles
Previous to the accident at the 5,000 mile check up I had reported to the Toyota dealer that the car would sometimes jump forward when the engine transitioned from electric to gas mode. They assured me that this was normal. On February 4th at 1035 I was stopped at an intersection behind a large van. The car was in the electric mode when the gas mode kicked in and the engine raced up and the car lunged forward striking the van in front of me. There was no damage the van, the front of my car was damaged. I called the police. The van driver had a disabled passenger and left as there was no damage to his vehicle. The police arrived and I explained that my car had for some reason lunged forward striking the other vehicle. Since no one was injured he wasn't required to take a statement from me the next day February 5th I took my car to the Toyota dealership for my 10,000 mile check up and again explained about the car lunging forward during the transition from electric to gas mode. No action taken other than assuring me that this normal. On March 4th while sitting at another intersection the car again lunged forward for about 6 feet before the full depression of the brake caused the engine RPM to come down and the car to stop. At this time I called and spoke to the general manager of the Toyota dealership and he said to bring the vehicle out to the dealership and they would run a full set of tests. On March 10 I returned the vehicle to the Toyota dealership and they kept the vehicle overnight and returned to me the next day March 11, 2010. According to the maintenance chief there was nothing in the tests that indicated any problems. Unsatisfactory answers each time I have complained about the problem, now my car is damaged and Toyota says everything is fine, I think not.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #31

Jun 252009


  • 10,000 miles


While in 'cruise control' with no use of the gas pedal, the car started to increase speed beyond the set speed. When I realized what was happening, I stepped on the brake which overrode speed control and began slowing down as it normally would if the car was not accelerating but at steady speed, note: Date below is approximate. Event happened twice during summer of 2009 at high speed (setting at 70mph).

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #30

Mar 102010


  • 6,200 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Prius. While driving 70 mph with the cruise control engaged the contact applied the brakes and noticed that the cruise control would not disengage.the contact had to apply the brakes three times in order for the cruise control to disengage. The manufacturer was called and informed the contact to take the vehicle to the dealership. The contact stated that the failure with the cruise control was directly related to the sudden acceleration with his Toyota vehicle. The current and failure mileages were 6,200.

- St. Augustine, FL, USA

problem #29

Feb 142010


  • 15,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Prius. While the contact was driving 75 mph the vehicle suddenly accelerated. In order to stop the acceleration the contact had to apply the brakes and shift the vehicle into neutral gear. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the contact was informed that the cause of the failure could not be determined. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 15000 and the current mileage was 18000.

- Jensen Beach, FL, USA

problem #28

Mar 082010


  • 6,300 miles
I was driving my 2009 Toyota Prius, exiting the staten island expressway and as I approached the intersection the light began to turn yellow and I tried to stop (the road surface was uneven). When I put my foot on the brake the car lurched forward into the intersection so I had to go though the red light and I was lucky that the oncoming traffic hadn't begun to move yet.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #27

Feb 022010


  • 8,000 miles
My 2009 Toyota Prius has had occasional bursts of energy and jolts forward on is own. Luckily I was in "park" each time it happened. I wasn't even pushing the gas pedal. It was a very sudden thing, I had no warning. It's definitely not a floor mat issue. Now I'm afraid to drive it. The last time this happened was approximately a month ago, I asked if there was recall for my car, and the dealer said no. What's making me worry now is the story on the news about a "runaway" Prius. I thank you in advance for anything you can do to help.

- Sanford, FL, USA

problem #26

Feb 142010


  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Prius. The contact stated as she was driving there was unintended acceleration which happen twice. To stop the vehicle she had to pull to the side of the road or run the vehicle into the curb. The dealer was called and stated she can bring the vehicle in for them to take a look but there is no fix for the failure. The Toyota manufacturer was called and they stated there is no fix and gave her a claim number. The failure mileage was 25,000.

- Swanee, GA, USA

problem #25

Nov 262009


  • 9,350 miles
1. after turning off cruise control, vehicle accelerated on its own up to 95M.P.H. until I was finally able to get it stopped by pressing the brakes to the floor. After getting the vehicle pulled over to the side of the interstate, there was a lot of smoke coming from the front brake pads. I restarted the vehicle in an attempt to get it off the interstate for further inspection. As I exited the highway, I turned the vehicle onto the off ramp but the vehicle did not turn and drove us directly into the guard rail. I contacted Toyota and they have denied there was anything wrong with the vehicle and dismissed my complaint.

- Powell, OH, USA

problem #24

Nov 212009


  • 9,719 miles
Multiple issues with 2009 Prius. First: Loss of air pressure in front left tire from time I picked up the vehicle to present. I continually need to put air in the tire, usually on a weekly/bi-weekly basis. The other tires are fine. Second: For the same tire, the tire pressure light would not be triggered until ~23 pounds, should have been triggered in same tire at 33 lbs. Third: Vehicle would not stop when applying pressure on brakes at slow speed. This has occurred about 6 times in a 6 month period. Simultaneously, the vsc light went on and the slid indicator went on. The terrain was on either asphalt or concrete roads, slightly downhill (concrete) and one street is a bit rough (filled in pot holes). Also, both areas are within a quarter mile of each other and near the ocean. With each occurrence the vsc went into effect. On 11/21/09 it jolted hard much more than the other occasions; this date was the incident on the bridge when the car was going in a slight downward direction. I lost control of the vehicle for several seconds and was afraid that I would hit the car in front of me; I beeped my horn to warn the driver in front of me. My vehicle did stop in time but it took alot longer than it should have taken. On a later occasion, I was going about 5-10 mph faster on a nearby street and attempted to stop for a stop sign and it did the same thing, however the vsc did not jolt back as hard. The vehicle was not angled down as much as the 11/21/09 incident. On 11/21/09 I took the vehicle to cabe Toyota dealership and they looked at the car but found nothing wrong with it. I also had the car looked at by Toyota Corp today and was told that the driver feels that I felt the ABS brakes only. This is not the case. When I stepped on the brakes each occasion it was as though there was nothing there and I had no control in stopping it. This was especially true when the vsc kicked in (the jerking). Each time it lasted many, several or more seconds.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #23

Jul 312009


  • 6,700 miles
In addition to the traction control, ABS, gas pedal/floor mat problems with the Toyota Prius there is also a safety issue with the power button. In an emergency situation, like the door coming open, throttle getting stuck, etc. You can't power off the vehicle quickly. You must hold the power button for some amount of time before the car will shut off. Unlike the Toyota Camry example where they suggested turning off the ignition, you can't do that on the Prius. You also can't remove the key/fob to turn the vehicle off or power it off. There is also an extreme under steer problem with the vehicle which is a safety concern. In wet conditions it is exacerbated. It can be observed on clover leaf overpasses and general cornering.

- The Woodlands, TX, USA

problem #22

Feb 112010


  • 12,500 miles
I keep hearing about the momentary loss of braking on the 2010 Toyota Prius. However, I have encountered the same problem on my 2009 Prius. When passing over a slick, bumpy, or icy surface, I experience a momentary loss of braking, and a warning light that looks like a car skidding comes on for less than a second. This generally occurs at slow speeds, but has occurred at speeds up to 25-30 mph.

- Hurst, TX, USA

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