really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,079 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2005 Toyota Prius Owner Comments

problem #6

Sep 032004


  • 100 miles


I have an unresolved safety issue with my 2005 Toyota Prius. This happened to me on the first day that I drove my then-brand new car. I still remember this dangerous event very clearly. I can easily replicate the problem for you. I was about to back my Prius out of its diagonal parking space on a busy main street in downtown el cajon, ca. It was daytime. Vehicles were parked on either side of me, which prevented me from seeing whether or not there was traffic approaching. I carefully backed out of the parking space until I could see whether or not there was traffic approaching. I saw that there was and it was approaching quickly, so with the intention of stopping my car's backwards movement and, instead, going forward into my parking space, I hit the brakes and quickly moved the gearshift lever over to the left and fully down into the drive gate to the stop position, before I released the spring-loaded shift lever (which sends it back to its 'home' position). I then quickly pressed the gas pedal, intending for the car to move forward so that I could drive back into my parking space. To my shock, my car jumped further backwards into the traffic lane, instead of forwards into my parking space. Having good reflexes, and in somewhat of a panic now, I once again shoved the gearshift lever fully into the drive gate and fully down until it contacted the stop, before letting go of it. Once again I punched the accelerator pedal and once again the car jumped -- backwards! I fully applied the brakes and hoped that the oncoming vehicles would not hit me. Fortunately, they did not. The problem is that if the gearshift lever on the 2005 Prius is moved too quickly, there will be no gear change. This could be corrected if the gear selector remained in the appropriate gear's gate, giving the electronics time to make the shift. This flaw could cause accidents and be falsely attributed to driver error. In the interests of safety, it should be fixed.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #5

Nov 022009


  • 76,000 miles
Gear shift selector sticks in drive or reverse. A few years ago, the only symptom was clicking noise when lever was actuated, but now it does not return to a neutral position when you let go. Happens every time. Consequentially, unless you consciously return the lever to central position, pressing park does not take the car out of gear. If inattentive or a unfamiliar driver operates car, it will continue to move. I have been trying since November 2 to convince Toyota customer experience that this is something they should repair, is not a normal wear item, and began even before my vehicle was out of warranty. No luck. Dealer has offered a 15% discount from a $575 repair and has already charged me $45 to "diagnose".

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #4

Feb 132010


  • 40,000 miles
I have a 2005 Toyota Prius. It has never been in an accident or had any damage. For the past couple years, I've been noticing a problem with the gear shifter. Usually in cold weather (below about 40 degrees F), the gear shifter does not change gears. For example, I'll put it in drive, release the gear shift, and it immediately reverts to neutral. Same thing happens when I put it in reverse. To go anywhere, I have to hold the gear shift in the gear I need. Sometimes, if I hold it in drive for about a minute, it finally stays in drive when I release it. So far it hasn't jumped gears while driving - only when I first turn the car on. I took the car to the dealer today and he said he's seen several cars with the same problem, and said I have to get the entire gear shift mechanism replaced, which costs ~$700. I'm nervous that if I don't get it replaced, the gears could jump while driving and cause a safety hazard.

- Chapel Hill, NC, USA

problem #3

Aug 282008

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,810 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. After parking the vehicle, it rolled down-hill. She attempted to re-enter the vehicle to stop it, but was unsuccessful. Consequently, the vehicle crashed into a pole. She went to the hospital for knee injuries and lacerations. The manufacturer was notified, but no assistance was provided. The failure mileage was 55,810. Updated 1/5/10 updated 01/06/10

- Murrieta, CA, USA

problem #2

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 #1

May 272005

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,013 miles
The consumer had the vehicle for 2 weeks and had an episode where the engine stalled on the highway. The consumer believed it may have been caused by a momentary event to shift it incorrectly from the braking mode. When the consumer first attempted to put it in reverse, it wouldn't take then, and it would not take into the proper drive mode either. The engine had stalled, and would not go into drive. The consumer stopped the vehicle, and was able to restart it. The consumer had not experienced problems since then. The consumer called and reported the problem to Toyota. Gasoline engine on hybrid vehicle failed to kick in or stalled.

- Jamesville, NY, USA

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