hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
64,904 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.

2003 Toyota Prius electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Toyota Prius Owner Comments

problem #10

Aug 102013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles


My 2003 Prius (first gen, from Japan), has been thru a few recalls - 1 was to seal the battery better early on (04ish), then it was given new pinion shaft nuts. Latest issue has been an issue all along, just not diagnosed/fixed til now. Sometimes the 'check engine' light would come on, with the car/! /triangle graphic on touch screen. This time it didn't go away. Long story short, it was the electric water pump that needed to be replaced. Dealer said it wasn't cycling properly, leaking antifreeze; also a big hybrid battery issue was showing up, but they suspected when fixing water pump it might clear up battery issue. Did research, found this has been a big issue for a lot of Prius owners. Saw the consumer reports & this story, from a Toyota news release. The following is exactly what I've experienced, & my car was part of the pinion shaft nuts/steering column recall, but not water pump recall!: "Toyota is recalling 670,000 of their popular Prius hybrids in the us to correct two safety issues. They say all of the vehicles will be inspected to see if a part in the steering shaft needs to be replaced due to an issue that could cause excessive wear. 350,000 of these same Prius vehicles (from 2001-2010 in Japan ) are also being recalled to replace the electric water pump for the hybrid system. Toyota says the pump could fail and cause the hybrid system to stop running. They said its dealers will inspect & replace any defects free of charge. Recall notices will go to owners in Dec. 2012. About 2.77M vehicles worldwide are affected."Toyota did not pay for my repair, $669; that was with a 15% off coupon! I am keeping my receipt. Toyota needs to include my VIN in the next batch of recalls for this defective water pump, which has been defective since day 1, but a slow diagnosis, that may have affected the overall function of the hybrid system battery permanently. No fun!

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #9

Jul 252012


  • 85,377 miles
I took my car in a week before this incident because I needed service and was going on a trip to san diego with my 5 yr old daughter. Keyes Toyota in van nuys did everything to it and replaced my front brakes and inspected everything including the other brakes... so yesterday, im on the freeway and suddenly a piercing, long beep happens and 2 warning lights come on. " brake and ABS"... I'm thinking " what just happened! I just had my car made perfect the other day!!"?.. and then, not two minutes after those warning lights came on, my brakes completely failed!! pedal to the floor nothing! :-(... I was soooooo scared.... I put my hazards on and crept over to find a shoulder.... I weaved over without causing an accident thank god so I get to the shoulder thankfully but it's a short shoulder... and im praying as I roll to a stop.. I've been back and forth with the dealership and Toyota corporate these past 24 hours because I should not have to pay over $2000 for something that is the manufacturers fault!!... I could have died or killed someone...what if my daughter was in the car and I was at an intersection slowing for a red light!!?" oh my god!... something has to be done... I'm fully ready to sue Toyota...go to the news outlets...los angeles times...anyone who will make this public... no one should die because they are trying to help the environment.... and no one should die because a corporation won't own up!..I'm putting a stop order on the repair tomorrow morning....I'm hoping you can help me and others who could potentially be fatally injured (or their children) from an electrical system that just fails! both the dealership and corporate just said " well, that particular part only has a 3 yr warranty or 36,000 miles and so after that it's the owners responsibility. Really" it's my responsibility if your crazy faulty car kills me or my child" nuts!

- Sherman Oaks, CA, USA

problem #8

Aug 102011

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
2003 Toyota Prius. Consumer writes in regards to recall notice concerning pinion shaft nuts on the electric power steering the consumer stated the recall was performed at the dealership on August 10, 2011. Upon leaving the dealership, when the consumer attempted to use the horn, he discovered it was not working. The consumer returned to the dealer, to inform them, the horn had been disconnected or maybe a wire had come off. The dealer stated the recall had nothing to do with the horn. The consumer stated the horn was working prior to arriving at the dealer. The consumer then contacted Toyota customer service and they contacted the dealer. The dealer stated it was just a coincidence that the horn broke while performing the recall. According to the service invoice, the horn and cruise control short power spiral cable was bad. The consumer stated the dealer refunded his money. Updated 09/23/11 consumer's issue resolved 12/6/11

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #7

Feb 152010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 150,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Prius. While the contact was driving 5 mph out of a parking lot the vehicle suddenly stopped accelerating after the vehicle traveled over a patch of ice. The vehicle has not been taken to the dealership and there were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 150,000.updated 03/30/10. Updated 09/28/10

- Marietta, OH, USA

problem #6

Dec 192009


  • 43,746 miles
Warning light comes on and manual says do not operate vehicle, park immediately. This happened on my 2003 Toyota Prius in December. Fortunately the dealer was open and when reported said it was not a big deal, the care was drivable and should be brought in for service. In service found master warning light codes P0300, 301, 302, 303, 304, -3191, P33101, C1202 then noted "found warranty enhancement to clean throttle body (EG9016.5 01.99). Was never notified of this issue and was parked in dangerous location while attempting to ascertain what steps to take in light of the "do not operate vehicle" warning in the manual. Same situation arose in our 2002 Prius this date and awaiting results of dealer's analysis (although when the light went out they said we could just as easily cancel the service appointment). In both cases service departments seemed familiar with problem (and my service advisor referred to it as a "silent recall".)

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #5

Jan 232006


  • miles
2003 Toyota Prius with engine problems. Consumer states that the triangle and engine lights would illuminate upon starting the vehicle. Mechanic stated that there was oil in the air intake and on the sensors. The consumer stated twice while his wife was driving, the vehicle shut off, which left her driving with just the electric motor.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #4

Jan 182007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles


2003 Toyota Prius -- in cold weather the cars computer does not act properly and will shut down the engine.

- Prescott, AZ, USA

problem #3

Dec 182005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles
Computer failed.

- Cary, NC, USA

problem #2

Jul 182005


  • miles
Toyota Prius hybrid 1. tire blow out with the right psi and clear beautiful day. Dealer will not warranty or change tire. 2. the car stop and started running only on electrical service. Call Toyota dealer and they ask me to start the car three times and it will go away. I did it and drove to the dealer they explained to me that the humidity was causing the problem. This had happen about four times and every time the humidity was high but this is and inconvenience not just to me but my wife. One of this days the easy fixing will not work them what?

- Remington, VA, USA

problem #1

Oct 122005

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,912 miles
2003 Toyota Prius gas engine stalled, warning lights came on all over the screen, and it would only drive on "battery power." After stopping, I turned the car off but it would not re-start immediately. After a few tries and then waiting, the gas engine started when I turned the key. During the time it was running on battery, air conditioner was blowing hot air. After gas engine re-started, air conditioner blew cold air. Toyota service said they had never seen anything like what was on the screen they diagnosed and said it was the computer and ordered parts. They were also thinking the battery had something to do with it. 1. they may not have diagnosed my car correctly since they do not know about this recall, and may not fix it correctly (including putting grease on certain wires). And 2. that news reports in the U.S. say it is 2004 and 2005 priuses which are affected, so 2003 owners may not get letters to take their car in on this recall. This could result in people being killed. I want service dept to understand that Prius 2003 owners may not be notified because Toyota may not be aware that they also have the problem. They should inform Toyota they have a 2003 in for repair with same problem as 2004-2005 cars. I am concerned they may not do repairs on my car in accordance with what is specified on the recall even if I did not get a letter. This upsets me and it also scares me. I am sure Toyota would notify service & owners if they were aware it also affects 2003 Prius'. so I want you to make them aware of it and be sure they send the 2003 owners letters too.

- Fort Pierce, FL, USA

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