really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
24,761 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Toyota Prius Owner Comments

problem #13

Jan 252011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 138,000 miles


Engine shut down while entering highway. Charged for ECM update when problem has been known. Cnn reported, "a software problem is causing some Toyota Prius gas-electric hybrid cars to stall or shut down while driving at highway speeds." A Toyota press release states: "Toyota motor sales (tms), U.S.a., Inc., will launch a special service campaign involving certain 2004 and early 2005 model year Prius sold in the U.S. on the involved vehicles, an issue with the program logic in the electronic control module (ECM) system may cause some or all of the following warning lights to illuminate: Master, hybrid system, engine, vehicle stability control, and brake. If this occurs, the vehicle will enter a "fail-safe" mode which allows limited operation via the electric motor. However, the electrically-powered brake and steering operation will continue to function normally if this condition occurs. The electric motor will also provide enough power to allow the driver to pull the vehicle over and away from traffic. Once the vehicle is stopped, the driver may be able to restart the gasoline engine in the vehicle by pushing the start button. Approximately 75,000 2004 and 2005 model year Prius vehicles may be affected by this condition. Toyota is proactively conducting a campaign in the interest of its customers."

- Evans City, PA, USA

problem #12

Apr 262009


  • 42,000 miles
My daughter was driving the family car a 2005 Toyota Prius on a NJ county road on a low traffic Sunday morning in April 2009. The car unexpectedly surged causing her to loose control, hit a telephone pole and cause property and physical damage.

- Hillsdale, NJ, USA

problem #11

Nov 012008


  • 60,000 miles
60 K inspection by state licensed service- Toyota. At 62K water pump had to be replaced by Toyota dealer, would not recognize previous inspection (not a dealer).dealer failed to burp engine causing air in system. Personally added antifreeze. 2) headlight are now locked in the lower elevation causing the dims to be approx 30 feet in front of vehicle. Outrun lighted area very rapidly. Believe to be a very dangerous situation 3)smart key (s) quit at same time. 4) second set tires needing replacement just over 25K miles 5) at times the engine battery just goes dead. All happened just over 60K miles. Dealer will look at items for a service charge and if problems the service charge will be deducted from cost. I was informed that none of the items are under warranty because the vehicle is past the 60K. It is apparent that the water pump condition happened prior to the 60K by the build up of antifreeze on old pump which I plan on sending to Toyota.

- Grand Haven, MI, USA

problem #10

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 #9

Apr 232006

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,063 miles
: the contact stated the vehicle stalled on two separate occasions. The first time it occurred was on April 7th while driving at a steady speed of 25mph. The second time it occurred was on April 21st while driving at a steady speed of 5-15 mph. All the warning lights illuminated and the vehicle was pulled over. Once pulled over, the vehicle would not go back into the drive position. Afterwards, it stalled and would not restart. The stalling occurred 3-5 minutes after it was pulled over. The vehicle was towed to the dealership both times. The first time the dealer replaced the entire transmission. The second time the dealer replaced the inverter. On April 23rd while driving the dash board lights became inoperable including the speedometer, and the gear indicator. The contact alerted the dealership by phone who explained the problem was likely the circuit board and it was okay to continue driving the vehicle. Afterwards, the vehicle began to blow out hot and cold air and the dealership was alerted again which explained it was okay to continue driving. Shortly after it began to rain, the wipers were turned on, and the dash lights became inoperable once again. The vehicle is scheduled for inspection on Monday May 8th.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #8

Feb 072006

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,200 miles
2005 Toyota Prius: In slippery conditions, when a front wheel slips, both wheels stop rotating and then the wheel that did not slip is given power. This takes about 1 second. During that time the motor has shut down, losing substantial forward momentum. If the second wheel slips, the process is repeated giving the original wheel power. The 1 second time interval occurs again and more forward momentum is lost. On a slippery hill, this basically stops the forward motion of the auto very quickly. If both wheels continue to slip, the auto just sits there, with the electric motor starting and stopping as the power is switched between front wheels. If there are cars behind yours, then backing up is impossible. If the wife and kids are in a bad neighbor hood and this happens, that could mean real trouble. The condition is totally unacceptable. All the Prius' should be recalled and the traction control reprogrammed to allow reduced power to the slipping wheel, not zero power. This will tend to maintain forward momentum and keep the motor from shutting down. I spoke to the original dealer and they claimed no knowledge of the design flaw.

- Southbury, CT, USA

problem #7

Jan 142006

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles


I took my Prius in for recall, noted in PE05029, on or about December 9, 2005. I had no problems with the Prius before the recall but did the recall because of the problems others were having. I had 25,000 miles with no problems before I took the car to Toyota to do the recall. Since then on two occasions, on or about January 14, 2006 and on or about January 16, 2006, I have had the engine start to rev up while at a stop light with my foot on the brake. I drive using only one foot so the gas pedal did not have anything. The engine seemed to rev to about 2000 rpms. This is an estimate on my own part from the sound and not a measurement. On the first occasion I turned off the climate control as I was proceeding to shut down the car and the engine returned to normal idle and then turned off as it normally would at a stop light. I left the climate control off and continued to drive when the light turned green and had no more problems that day. On the second occasion I eased up slightly on the brake pedal to see if the engine was actually propelling the car forward and the car moved forward but no stronger than it normally does with the electric motor. So, the engine although revving up seemed to be disconnected from the drive train. I believe I noticed on both occasions that the battery was fully charges with no white space at the top as usual. Probably because the engine runs more anyway since the recall as can be noted by the loss in fuel economy. I reported it to the dealers service representative that I took the car in for recall and was told that unless it was a repeatable problem they probably would not be able to find anything. I requested that he report it to Toyota anyway.

- Wadesville, IN, USA

problem #6

Jan 012005

Prius 4-cyl

  • 25,552 miles
I have an early 2005 Prius which has "stalled" I.e. lost al engine power on two occasions. I believe the "stalling" is intentionally designed into the software to protect the transmission. I think a design decision intended to protect the car is putting my life at risk. My early 2005 Prius has "stalled" twice: Once on the freeway at 80 mph when I had to jam on the brakes (someone cut me off) and again on surface streets at 30 mph when I floored it to accelerate suddenly. In each case the transmission's internal components would be under tremendous strain unless it disengaged. In each case all lights, headlights, indicators stayed on, the "check engine" light came on, the car continued coasting (as if put in neutral), and the car was unresponsive to the throttle and the gear shift. (in neither case did I hit the gear shift nor power button before the "stall"). in both cases I coasted to a safe spot (try crossing five lanes of 70+ mph freeway traffic at night while coasting). Only after parking, turning off power, and restarting power would the car operate...at which point it operated fine. Dealer couldn't find anything wrong...in fact the second incident was two days after my 30,000 mile service! they apparently took no action regarding the concern I expressed to the service rep with respect to stalling...he assured me they would check for all available software updates, but corporate told me today there is at least one update (relating to the navigation system) which was not downloaded, so apparently the dealer is not responding to this life-threatening concern. I called corporate today to start a "case" and was told they are unaware that this is a recurrent issue. This despite discussions in the press and on hybridcars.com. I am contacting you in case I am killed or injured before Toyota figures out that this is a serious and recurrent issue. The first incident was around January or February 2005, and the most recent was Monday Sept 19 2005.

- Mission Viejo, CA, USA

problem #5

Jun 282005

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,400 miles
Driving 65 mph on the freeway, the low-fuel indicator light started blinking. Approximately 15 miles later, still driving 65 mph, the engine shut off. Dashboard warning light and check engine light illuminated. "consumption" was highlighted in red. The car continued to drive in electric mode at 52 mph for about 1.5 miles. When the battery was drained, the car came to a stop. After 5 minutes, I hit the power button to turn off the car, then again to turn on the car. The engine started and we drove to the next gas station, 4 miles away. Toyota (1-800-331-4331) said to take it to the dealer. The Toyota dealer said there is nothing they can do and Toyota has not advised them on a remedy. Dealer refused to provide me with this Agency's name (NHTSA). I left a message with "the Prius team" at Toyota 3 days ago and they have not returned my call.

- Johnstown, OH, USA

problem #4

Jun 062005

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,300 miles
I have a 2005 Toyota Prius, purchased new in Oct 2004. I was driving on I-57 in Illinois at 65 mph. Temperature outside was 91F. low fuel warning signal began to flash. Since I planned to gas up about 25 miles away, I continued driving. Should have had approximately 2 gallons of fuel left. About 5 minutes later at 65 mph, the engine suddenly stopped running. The "red triangle of death" and the yellow "check engine" warning lights came on. Realized that the electric motor drive system was still working. Noticed that I was approximately 1.5 miles from an exit. Slowed to about 45 mph and continued to drive using the Prius' batteries and electric motors. Pulled into a shell station and turned the car off. Began to refuel. After about 4 gallons, the pump clicked off. Tried again - it clicked off. Tried again and was able to refuel normally. In all, I added 9.767 gallons. If the car has 11.9 gallon tank, there should have been 2.1 gallons left when the engine shut off. Upon restart, same engine warning lights were on, but within a few seconds they went off. Digital fuel gauge increased, one block at a time, until it indicated full. Car seemed to be operating normally. Resumed 65 mph. Car has continued to operate normally since. The shutting off of the engine was abrupt and would have been a safety problem had someone been following me too closely, or if I had needed full power to avoid traffic or an obstacle. Had read about this happening to other Prius owners and that some had reported not being able to restart the car. For that reason, I chose not to pull off on the shoulder and stop the car (for fear that I would not be able to restart it), and was fortunate to be able to drive with the electric motors to a nearby exit. Have not yet taken the car to the dealer to have the problem corrected. Have not had any parts replaced or software upgraded. Would appreciate any advice or service information you may know of.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #3

Jun 012005

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Consumer states while driving her vehicle lost power. The vehicle was pulled off the road, after the vehicle was shut off, and it started back. The service department states the computer did not register the event, so they could not find anything wrong. The local service department said this was the first complaint they had received.

- Needham, MA, USA

problem #2

Mar 152005

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,321 miles
On my 2005 Toyota Prius, the engine suddenly stalled when leaving the dealership in fresno, California. The electric engine continued for a short time to get back to the dealer, then everything was dead. After working on it for several hours the dealer could not find the source of the problem, but did get it operating again and I continued the trip with incident.

- Ellensburg, WA, USA

problem #1

May 172005

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59 miles
Bought a 2005 Toyota Prius on 5/16/05. On the second day it lost power on the highway at 60+mph. Engine light and ! light on. Car ran well enough to take to dealer after re-starting a few times. Lights remained on until re-started at dealer. Car remains at dealer.

- Santa Monica, CA, USA

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