really awful
Crashes / Fires:
29 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
9 / 1
Average Mileage:
45,163 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 (Page 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #35

Jun 152009


  • 40,000 miles


The problem is engine surging when I am braking. The regenerative brakes seem to send power to the motor that the computer does not handle properly and the engine surges, making it difficult for me to slow the car down to make turns or to stop. The car feels out of control. This problem seems to be random. I have contacted the Toyota dealer several times about the problem over the years since I purchased the car in January of 2005. They said they had received no other complaints of a similar problem. It happens more frequently in the summer than in the winter. I talked to the service manager at my Toyota dealer last month and he again said that there were no other complaints of a similar problem and that it might be the fault of the ethanol in the gasoline. I think it is a problem of the electronics and that the shield protecting the electronics is not capable of protecting against electro-magnetic problems in the area or in my car.

- St. Louis Park, MN, USA

problem #34

Nov 052009


  • 73,800 miles
On 11/5/09 in mid-afternoon I was driving my 2005 Prius North on calvert St. In baltimore city, just above saratoga St., at about 25 mph when the traffic in front of me slowed. At the time I was speaking to my boss on my verizon cell phone using my bluetooth headset. I applied my brakes and the car was braking as usual slowing down normally until about 10 mph, or so, at which point I felt the car bounce very slightly and gently as if there was a small gradual dip and rise in the roadway surface. My foot was still applying light pressure on the brake pedal as I intended to come to a near crawl as I neared the car in front of me, but after the slight bump the brake pedal gradually went to the floor and my car proceeded without any braking in effect. After the pedal was depressed to a point near the floor I pumped the brake pedal once and press on it as hard as possible. At this point the right rear wheel brake applied and the rr tire squealed as it appears it was the only one braking. I continued pressing until the car came to a stop at which point I notice that several of the instrument panel lights were now on, including the ones for the brake, the ABS, and vsc. I then continued driving slowly home, about 2 mi., because it appeared that only the rr brake was working and that there was not power assist with the braking. When I got home I turned the car off and then back on to see if the problem persisted, and upon restart the brakes appeared to work properly and some or perhaps all of the warning lights were off. I took the car to bill kidd Toyota in timonium, md on 11/9/09 and they reported that scan code C1357 was present. They reportedly contacted Toyota tech assistance who instructed them to clear the scan codes and perform linear solenoid calibration. They road tested the car and said it was ok to drive. My boss was on the phone with me during the entire incident and hear the rr tire squealing and we discuss what was going on. I am a mechanical engineer.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #33

May 012007


  • 20,000 miles
There were three one-car crashes in my 2005 Prius, the first on 1 May 2007, the second on 16 Nov 2009, and the third on 1 Dec 2009. All were in forsyth county, nc. The first was an inexplicable crash into the exit gate from my community; the second and third crashes were sudden, uncontrollable accelerations into brick walls while trying to park the car in designated, marked parking spaces. The first crash caused personal injury and was reported to the local police. The second and third crashes were not. All three crashes caused significant vehicle damage. I became afraid to drive the car any longer, and so I traded it in to the local Toyota dealer on 1 Dec 2009 for a new 2010 Prius. I have written to the liability claim dept of Toyota, asking for compensation, but have not received any, as of this date (17feb10). The data below refers to the first crash.

- Winston-Salem, NC, USA

problem #32

May 052007


  • miles


I love my Prius but a different story here, I think. I bought a new 2005 Toyota Prius. When it was approximately 2 years old with approximately 40 thousand miles on it (3 years ago) the gas pedal stuck and it was not related to a floor mat. I was accelerating getting up to the 55mph speed limit while also climbing a hill going out of town into the mountains. When I crested the hill and let up off the gas it just kept going. It was quite lucky that it happened on a straightaway just before the mountain curves and drop offs. As a lifelong professional driver with experience operating just about anything my first learned reaction was to dig my heels in and pull the floor mat back, it's happened to me in other vehicles. I glanced down and there were no obstructions at the pedal. My severely disabled son was with me. Automatically, I started kicking the gas pedal. After several kicks it slowed. No problem since. Never reported the incident. Just figured a weird glitch. Had not tried brakes yet, nor neutral, it's a different kind of car, a bit scared to try to turn it off while going down the road. I had already spotted a decent place to ditch the car with minimal damage. I had reached 75 to 80 mph when kicking the pedal stopped it. It's a computer thing.

- Amherst, VA, USA

problem #31

Feb 152006


  • 5,000 miles
When I am braking at about 30 mph and hit a pot hole or some other road defect, my car suddenly accelerates/braking does not function for about 1/2 a second. If I hit 2 potholes consecutively, the problem will occur each time. I have complained about this problem to Toyota dealerships since I bought the car as it occurs frequently. The dealerships could not find anything wrong with the car, but it sounds exactly like the problem with the 2010 Prius recall.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #30

Mar 012009


  • 60,000 miles
About 1-2 times per month, I've noticed what feels like a very small momentary acceleration while braking, if I hit a bump/pothole at the same time. I've only noticed the issue within the last year, since transferring and using a different route to get to/from work.

- Yorktown, VA, USA

problem #29

Oct 222009

Prius 4-cyl

  • 9,600 miles


Our son was killed on Oct 22nd in a single car crash while driving a 2005 Toyota Prius( the police report states that he lost control, jumped the curb and died in the ensuing crash) while negotiating a curve while attempting to enter the freeway in tucson AZ. We strongly believe that this may have been caused by sudden acceleration and or brake problems. I know this is an older model, but in light of Toyota's lies and cover-ups time will only tell. Updated 02/19/10 updated 03/10/10 updated IVOQ 09/02/10 update 9/19/2011

- Vail, AZ, USA

problem #28

Jun 302009


  • 70,710 miles
I have 2005 Toyota Prius that was bought on Dec 2004. While driving to my work on June 30th 2009, my Prius car speed reduced slowly from 45mph and did not go faster than 30 mph on rte 28 North from manassas, va to centerville va. Since I cannot drive more than 20 miles per hour, I parked the car on local roads and asked aaa to tow my vehicle to ourisman Toyota dealer, chantilly. Dealer could not duplicate the problem and gave car back. I believe, this is due to computer system failure. But dealer could not identify. It happened only one time from Dec 2004 so for. But I am scared of driving the car to long travel and using only for local drive.

- Manassas Park, VA, USA

problem #27

Dec 292009


  • 51,000 miles
We have a 2005 Toyota Prius that was involved in an accident as a result of the car taking off on it's own and the brakes not working. The Prius only stopped when it hit another car and then we were unable to get the car turned off. This was not due to the floor mat recall. The car was in park and took off, would not stop even with both feet on the brakes, it stopped only upon impact. Literally was seconds away from pinning a person inbetween the two vehicles. This could have led to a death or serious injury. Since then the car was repaired but Toyota engineers test drove it for about 10 miles and of course it didn't happen to them so they indicated there was no problem. We had 51,000 miles on the car before this happened. Currently the car sits in the driveway not being used because of the defect. This model is not part of the recall yet but obviously is defective. We have two additional 2007 Prius models in the family that are of concern. This is of major concern as nothing is being done to correct or address these models, only the newer Prius models. We see Toyota as ignoring the concerns on this model. It is a huge safety hazard as when you look around on the roads, many of these vehicles are still in use.

- Greenfield, WI, USA

problem #26

Jan 022010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
2005 Prius with about 50K miles. Driving in nv. Temp about 33F. Accelerated from about 60 mph to 70 mph to pass. Throttle stuck wide open. Accelerated up to about 85 mph. After about 15 secs, the engine throttled back to normal. I checked immediately for a bunched up floor mat or carpet or anything under the accelerator pedal. There was nothing at all. This has only occurred once.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #25

Jan 102010


  • miles


I realize you've just opened an investigation into 2010 Prius' surging forward on their own, but you need to know it happens with earlier models. I've been keeping a close eye on the Toyota problems because I have a 2005 Prius. And I have the same exact problem with surges that's been reported as 'only' a 2010 model problem. It's not. Whenever I go over a pothole, or bumps in the road, or even sometimes, a wet surface (if it's raining) my car will surge forward without me having used the gas. I kept waiting for something like this to be mentioned in the reports but today is the first time I've heard it. It could easily be replicated in my car, if tested. It does it everytime. I've never hit anyone, though I've been close to rear-ending other cars before. It happens without my foot being on the gas or even the brake. Then once I slam on the brake it will stop. However, the car does this surge all on it's own. I'm growing more concerned about it and am growing scared about driving my Prius. I used to love it-- now I want to trade it in for a Ford! please help. The latest incident was a few weeks ago-- during some rain.

- South Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #24

Jan 012010


  • miles
2005 Toyota Prius - when applying brake lightly in the phase of slowing down, as I go over a defect in the road, the car speeds up immediately until I put heavy pressure on the brake and the car stops. This has happened several times. The dealer has test driven the car and has not been able to reconstruct the defect which is intermittent. Their response is disbelief! approximate incident date is latest date but problem has been there all along.

- Cumberland, RI, USA

problem #23

Jan 022010


  • 1,000 miles
I own a 2005 Toyota Prius. Occasionally, and almost always in rain, the car jerks when I come to a complete stop or attempt to accelerate after coming to a complete stop.

- Haddonfield, NJ, USA

problem #22

May 252005


  • miles
I have a 2005 Prius. Three times, the car has surged for a few seconds while stepping on the brake. The first time it happened I was slowing to make a right turn. I reported it to the dealer on 5-25-05. I was told that sometimes that's the way the brakes operate. Another puzzling occurrence which I reported to the dealer on 4-25-06, was that sometimes when I step on the gas, nothing happens, and then it surges forward.

- Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #21

Jan 252010


  • 80,000 miles
05 Toyota Prius ( my car) was running at 25 miles/hour in local traffic. I found the car in front of me was slowed down, so I stepped down my Prius' brake firmly. My Prius's response the event of brake being stepped down was not agile enough, so Prius hit the front car's back bumper. I would like to report this sluggish of Prius brake to figure out whether my car's safety is compromised or not.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #20

Feb 012010


  • 82,000 miles
On my 2005 Toyota Prius, I have occasionally experienced, when braking, if there is a bump in the road or the road is a little slick, the car seemingly jerks forward/accelerates for a split second. The most recent time was February 1, 2010.

- Southborough, MA, USA

problem #19

Jan 272010


  • 61,000 miles
My daughter was driving our 2005 Prius at about 30 miles an hour at approximately 3pm when she saw a truck stop approximately 300 feet ahead of her. She applied the brakes but the Prius did not stop and collided with the truck causing a total loss of the Prius. The road surface was wet from snow and the temperature was approximately 34 degrees. Although the car was heavily damaged the air bags did not deploy. This crash could have resulted from a brake problem or unintended acceleration.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #18

Mar 182008


  • 30,000 miles
I have been driving my 2005 Prius for 5 years and have experienced the following nearly 20 times, when braking, if a pothole or bump in the road is hit, the car seemingly jerks forward/accelerates for a split second. And the vsc light on the dash will go on for a short time.

- Oswego, IL, USA

problem #17

Jan 122010


  • miles
2005 Toyota Prius there have been multiple occasions when as I have neared an intersection at the same time as hitting a depression or pothole in the road, my car, while my foot if on the brake bringing the car to a stop has jumped forward. There is one place on my way to work where this has happened many times. Since my foot is already on the brake I press harder and the acceleration stops. Fortunately this has never happened when there was a car or pedestrian directly in front of me. I am concerned though that it could cause harm in the future or that it could get worse or totally out of control. I see no evidence that this has anything to do with the gas pedal. I never did anything about it because it was so momentary, I was always able to stop it. And it never occurred to me that it could get worse or totally out of control.. based, however, on what I've read, it doesn't sound like Toyota would do anything about it even if I did bring it there for repair. Putting something under the gas pedal is not going to fix this problem.

- Keene, NH, USA

problem #16

Nov 022009


  • 25,000 miles
Clearance problem between brake pedal and accelerator. While exiting from a major highway as I attempted to slow down on the off ramp my foot got trapped between the brake pedal and the accelerator. This caused the car to accelerate and I tried to brake with my left foot which caused my right foot to further depress the accelerator. I was now at the end of the ramp at an intersection where I was able to turn right and I was able to remove my left foot from the brake, free my right foot and brake with my right foot. If there had been any cars coming through the intersection there would have been an accident. The clearance between the brake pedal and accelerator needs to be increased or perhaps install a small floor mounted divider between the brake pedal and accelerator so that the right foot can not get under the brake pedal.

- Annapolis, MD, USA

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