really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 0
Average Mileage:
77,349 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 4 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #74

Oct 092011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 150,000 miles


I was driving with my two children on the 405 North freeway just South of the 10 freeway at 9pm in my Toyota Prius 2005. I had issues with one of the headlights already. It would flicker and then turn off without warning. Last Sunday, however, both headlights failed, including all interior lights, as I was speeding down on of the busiest freeways in the country at nighttime. It was pretty terrifying.

- Beverly Hills, CA, USA

problem #73

Aug 252011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 64,500 miles
When starting the vehicle up, no speedometer display is illuminated. The display for the vehicle environmental controls (miles per gallon/energy use) still works. Along with the speedometer display, the rear hatchback door does not work. I tried to adjust the inside light display to see if the light level was turned off. This was not problem. I turned the light adjustment knob in both directions, and still no speedometer display. Upon trying to turn off the engine, it will not turn off. I was able to shut the vehicle off by disconnecting the car battery in the passenger side rear hatch back area. Note that because the rear hatch back door does not work, all the vehicle parts which leads to the rear battery has to be taken out from the rear seat of the vehicle. One particular time I disconnected the car battery on the black portion of the battery, and the vehicle did not shut off. I brought the vehicle to the Toyota dealership several times, and because this problem happens intermittently. Toyota was unable to duplicate it. However, one day when it was not working, I brought it in to them. They later claimed that it was a "cold start" problem to the computer that is responsible for the speedometer display (besides other things, rear hatch back door, cruise control, etc.). Toyota claimed they found the problem on the internet, and it was not a recalled part. This particular part (computer) normally happens only in the states that are very cold.

- Waikoloa, HI, USA

problem #72

Jul 272011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Gauge cluster on my 2005 Toyota Prius is completely dead. I cannot see any information such as speed, temp, fuel, etc. Also, the car does not turn off when I push the on/off button. Dealer says that it will cost $1000 to diagnose and fix. I am very concerned, as this is a safety issue!

- Cypress, CA, USA

problem #71

Jun 012010


  • miles


Passenger front hid headlight was intermediately operational for a short period of time. Eventually it would not come back on. Toyota dealer quoted $350+ for part and $150+ for labor, per headlight. According to other Prius owners and internet articles, this issue is apparent to be a manufacturer defect; but Toyota refuses to admit in order to prevent a recall. Unwilling to paid for Toyota's mistakes, the vehicle was driven with only one headlight for some time. Until recently stopped by police and issued a traffic violation warning. For safety reasons and to prevent future violations, replaced the burnt hid bulb ($50+ from amazon.com) personally (followed proper procedures). A week later, that same bulb went out. More evident indicating the issue is not with the bulb; but with the electrical system and Toyota is not willing to paid for their own mistakes. Shame on Toyota!!!

- Alton, IL, USA

problem #70

Jun 252011


  • 111,860 miles
Driving North on I75 at approximately 65 mph. The gas gauge had 3 bars illuminated. The vsc warning light and the red triangle with the exclamation point came on. I lost the ability to accelerate and the car suddenly went dead. Luckily I was able to make to relative safety on the side to interstate. The car was towed to a dealer who said the car ran out gas! they also said that the "fuel register unit was operating as designed." How was that possible" the charge? over $1200! according to Toyota corporate and the dealership, repeated unsuccessful attempts to start the car will, by design, cause irreparable damage to the ECU code id box which can cost $1200 - $1800 to replace. This "design" is apparently in the name of anti-theft protection. (why not just immobilize the car instead of partial self-destruction") even given the high extent and documented history of gas gauge display malfunctions and many other related electrical problems, Toyota corporate would offer no financial assistance, no reimbursement of any portion of the repair. This is the second time the car has lost all power in the middle of heavy traffic. That time, 08/09/10, the water pump failed. Subsequent to that, I received a recall notice to replace the water pump.

- Tucker, GA, USA

problem #69

Nov 082005

Prius 4-cyl

  • 14 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that whenever the radio was in use, it would not transmit a clear reception. The radio defect occurred on the purchase date of the vehicle and continued over the years. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and they were unable to provide a remedy for the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 14. Updated 05/26/11

- Port Angeles, WA, USA

problem #68

Mar 272011


  • 119,000 miles


Note: The date above does not reflect first date of occurance. This is the event date that led to Toyota admitting something is wrong with the car. Please read narrative: On three occasions the car has died while being parked at work and at home. On one occasion the car died in my garage. After the vehicle was jumped it seemed fine. No lights were left on nor were any electrical devices plugged into the accessories. When it started up the car stated that the parking brake was not properly engaged and the vehicle needed to be moved to a level surface. It was in my driveway. Another time the car did the same thing, dying at work in the airport employee parking lot. The car required being jump started and again it gave the same message. A co-worker stated that they had heard the car alarm go off at one point about an hour prior to shift change. Both times the vehicle was checked and the report was "nothing was wrong with the car." Most recently on 3/27/2011 the same thing occurred. This time when jump starting the battery the car's engine started and the car lunged forward at me with lights and alarm sounding. I was unable to shut down the alarm and went into the car and pressed the power button to shut the engine down. When I powered the engine back up the car alarm was again sounding and all the lights on the dash were illuminated. Powered it down and up again and this time no audible alarm but the exclamation mark in the triangle was illuminated as well as the message about the parking brake. I powered it down and up one last time and, with the message still illuminated, drove off. The message shut down when I got to the security gate. Toyota tested the vehicle on 4/1/2011 and reported that C1300 and C2300 faults were found (ECU and ABS actuator). As the car is out of warranty, cost will be about $3,000. (more info exists but no room here)

- Alpha, IL, USA

problem #67

Feb 132011

Prius 4WD 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
At random, the car does not start. There is nothing different about events leading up to the failure from one day to the next. My neighbor has the same problem, and so did a friend of mine. Aaa told me that in the winter the car is particularly prone to having trouble starting.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #66

Feb 052011


  • 25,000 miles
My Toyota Prius 2005 model had repeated and total failures when the 12 volt sli battery was low, or in cold weather. The designing logic is very bad: When the sli battery fails, the back doors and trunk could not be unlocked, so I could not get my jumper cables out since all electrical controls failed. The car could not be towed from behind when parked, not to damage the synergy drive (apparently). I was told to buy a trickle charger since the sli battery died a few times while the Prius was garaged for more than a week. The Toyota sli battery is specialized, small and the contacts are too small to grab with normal jumper cables. There are too many single point failures initiated by a discharged battery. When my remote key battery died, I was totally locked out of the car. Mechanical backup options are needed for all these electrical and electronic controls.

- Belmont, MA, USA

problem #65

Jan 042011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
The passenger side headlight would sometimes go out and then come back on after turning the car off/on. Eventually both of the headlights had this problem along with them turning pink in color and back to white while driving. I took the Prius into the dealership and since I purchased the extended warranty of 100,000 miles the hid electronic control units (ecus) will be replaced free of charge but the hid light bulbs are costing $350 to replace. I see that Toyota has extended the warranty of the light bulbs to a five year/50,000 for the 2006-2009 Prius starting Feb 9th 2011, tomorrow. The mechanics say these bulbs should last over a 100,000 miles but the ecus are making them go bad early. I had a "wonderful" conversation with Toyota extra care representative about this problem. He basically told me anything that anything that breaks that is not covered by warranty (headlights) because an item that is under extended warranty(ECU), is not covered. And then he went on to explain this by talking about what came first, chicken or the egg. I was hoping to get into more in-depth evolution discussion with him, but I ran out of time and patience. I still love our Prius, 78000 miles.

- St Louis, MO, USA

problem #64

Jan 312011


  • 116,002 miles


We were traveling along a familiar country road on a warm sunny day. When we arrived at a rural store there was only one other customer there. I slowly eased into the designated parking area which was situated about 17 inches above the lawn below. I was probably traveling less than one mile an hour. When I braked, the car accelerated and propelled itself over the blocks and railroad ties that are found in front of parking spaces, and we literally flew about 7 feet out and down onto the grass stopping just a few feet from a tree and a fence. While in the air, all I had time to do was put my foot down hard on the brake because there was not enough time to turn off the engine during the 5 seconds this was happening. Our first reaction was that I might have hit the accelerator instead of the brake, and though I found this inconceivable because I had never done anything like that before and because the two pedals are so different, I could not consider another explanation. However, as time passed, we came to the realization that this could not been the case because even if I had pressed the accelerator by mistake I would have had to have "floored" it to get that kind of acceleration in such a short distance, and even mistaking it for the brake I wouldn't have "floored" the brake because I was only about 18 inches from where I was to stop. Even under normal circumstances, the Prius just does not have this immediate kind of acceleration we experienced. I cannot help but think about this event occurring as I stopped at a crosswalk. This is a dangerous automobile that I loved driving for 5 years, and now I will not drive again.

- Mendon, UT, USA

problem #63

Nov 082010


  • miles
We are have a problem with our 2005 Toyota Prius. The headlights (one or both) goes out without warning. The is a known safety problem with headlights on the Prius. Toyota will not issue a recall because they have not been directed to by the government.

- Germantown Road, MD, USA

problem #62

Oct 082010


  • 120,573 miles
2005 Toyota Prius stalled on an overpass with no shoulders. The transmission became stuck in park, and the vehicle could not be pushed since the front wheels were locked up. The car was eventually towed, and it had to be dragged onto the flatbed wrecker since the front wheels would not roll. The problem was determined to be a failed pump for cooling the inverter. The pump failed such that it blew a fuse that also controlled the transmission shifter, preventing the car from being put into neutral so that it could be pushed out of traffic lanes. This is a very unsafe failure mode.

- Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #61

Oct 262010


  • 108,000 miles
2005 Toyota Prius, repeated headlight failure. I have been issued three police summonses for headlight failure and have only owned this vehicle for two years. I replaced both headlights three weeks ago and the passenger headlight is out again.

- Newfane, NY, USA

problem #60

Oct 172010


  • 150,000 miles
My 2005 Prius' right headlight (hid) turns off. After turning the lights off and back on, it lights up again. It's very strange because if the bulb was dead, it wouldn't come back on. Just recently, someone made me aware of the issue. But, who knows how long it has been going on. There is no pattern or unique incident that causes the bulb to turn off and on. It happens multiple times on trip between 2-4 miles (sometimes more than 2 or 3 times on a short trip). Since I became aware of the issue, I don't take the car on long trips. My local mechanic said "dead bulbs don't turn on and off, they just stay off." Sometimes my bulb will stay on for 10-20 minutes, then go out. Doesn't sound broken to me. The mechanic told me the ballast could have a problem, but that costs several thousand dollars to fix (not to mention replacing one bulb is like 200 dollars)..

- Hemet, CA, USA

problem #59

Oct 162010


  • 96,000 miles
We purchased a Toyota 2005 Prius in August of this year. It had 92,000 miles on it but was in exceptional condition. Just this week October 15 the passenger side headlight started blinking and one day later went out.

- Lohrville, IA, USA

problem #58

Jun 202010


  • 72,000 miles
Sudden warning light indicating headlight leveling failure. Occurs intermittently under various circumstances. Consequences: Headlights either aimed too high blinding oncoming drivers or slanted downward making car impossible to drive at night. Part has not been replaced and car is not driven at night. Old part still available. There was a technical service bulletin in early 2006 indicating that the headlight leveling sensor was not watertight and prone to failure due to water entering the system and corroding the electrical contacts. Toyota improved the integrity of the unit and sold it using the same part number with the added suffix "G". while Toyota will cover the replacement cost of the sensor under the 3 yr/36,000 mile warranty there is no coverage for vehicles out of warranty. A recall was never issued. Again, this is only a problem that occurs with the hid headlight system in the earlier generation II Prius (2004 - 2005). Service bulletin:00406 NHTSA item number:10019992 my car is out of warranty and I was unaware that there was a problem with the system when it could have been remedied while the car was under warranty. Mileage at failure 72,000. This is a safety issue and a recall should be issued ! cost of part $370 + tax. Labor is another $210 + tax.

- Peru, NY, USA

problem #57

Jul 162010


  • 147,000 miles
At around 10pm this Friday night I was driving home on the country road 3 miles from my house. It is a 2 lane road with no street lamps. I was traveling at 50mph and coming around a gentle curve when all of a sudden every light in the car went out...headlights, taillights, dashboard, hazards, even the navigation system display. A month ago I had my car in for its safety inspection and 150K mileage service and was told the car was "fine" but I've had intermittent issues with the hid lamp on the driver side going out. When this happens if I cycle the light switch off then back on again it fixes the issue. When all my lights went out on Friday, I was only able to avoid driving off the road and getting in an accident because it was a road I am very familiar with and knew where the turn was coming up. I was able to slow my car to a stop. After sitting in the dark a minute (the engine was still running just fine) I was worried a car might come down the road behind me and not see me and hit me. I then decided to try cycling the light switch off and on because that had worked for the headlamp issue. I cycled it once but the lights remained off, but after the second time I cycled the light switch all the lights in the car came back on and I was able to drive home. I took the car to Toyota of warrenton and told them what happened. They "ran a diagnostic" and checked the vehicle but said they couldn't duplicate the issue and then sent me home. I am now afraid to drive my car at night in case this happens again.

- Linden, VA, USA

problem #56

Jun 232010

(reported on)

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
2005 Toyota Prius. Consumer states vehicle loss steering, brakes, cruise control on the highway, when applying brake at a full stop vibration is felt the power steering, brake and ABS light illuminated. The consumer stated he noticed when the problem occurred, he was using his bluetooth headset.

- Modesto, CA, USA

problem #55

May 132010


  • 142,962 miles
I drove a 2005 Toyota Prius VIN#[xxx] until 5/13/2010. At around 10am I was driving on the hwy in the lft lane. With cruise control on going 75mph. I had a gps on and navigating. And I had my blue tooth earpiece on. Then all at the same time my blue tooth shut down. My gps shut down. And every warning lite came up in the car. Even the display that usually shows how the hybrid systems works was blinking problem!! problem!! so I let off the gas and started to move to the rt side of the road. Thats when I realized that I had no power steering. There was an exit coming up so I let the car slow down to about 50mph. As I started to exit I put my ft on the brakes. Thats when I noticed that the pedal was very stiff and vibrating. I was coming to a blind intersection and I had the red lite. So I pushed on my brakes. Instantly I could hear screaching tires. So I looked in my side mirror. And to my suprise im looking at a large amount of smoke coming from me! my rear tires had locked up and my front tires werent doing anything. So I started fishtail back and forth like I had my ebrake on. I put all my wt on the pedal cause the intersection was really getting close. And without power steering it was very hard to keep the car from crashing. I came to a stop just before the light. Then drove my car to the nearest dealer at in berkeley ca at 10mph. I told them everything. Even about my blue tooth and garmin. They got me a rental car then 4day later they said if I give them $2000 for a part and $1000 in labor it might fix it but there not sure cause they never saw this problem before. And they werent going to pay for my rental cause the part was out of warrenty after 36000miles. I have had every svc done at Toyota. And if theres a computer pt that Toyota knows can brake easily. Which they do. Thats why its only warrenty to 36000miles. It shouldnt result in the loss of your brakes and power steering. Very dangerous!! I could of died. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Modesto, CA, USA

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