really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
77,151 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.

2006 Toyota Prius steering problems

steering problem

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2006 Toyota Prius Owner Comments

problem #19

Dec 222017


  • 138,000 miles


Clock spring failure. Controls on the right side of the steering column are not working. Concerned that this clock spring failure will also cause the driver's airbag to fail to deploy in a crash.

- Wildwood, MO, USA

problem #18

Jun 182017


  • 118,000 miles
Baught the car off a private sale. Car is a complete bad condition fron the suspension tonthe motor makes strange noises air conditioner wont work tires fall from allighments seat beats are off burning a pil change in less then a week.no accidents no changes as is and have been using it for work.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #17

Oct 012015


  • 200,500 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Toyota Prius. While operating the vehicle, the power steering suddenly malfunctioned and caused the steering wheel to become very difficult to turn. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the power steering ECU was faulty and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. Also, while driving the vehicle, it suddenly stalled and would not restart. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the throttle body was faulty. The failure was repaired. The contact also indicated that the air conditioner blower stopped operating and the front windshield could not be defrosted. The manufacturer was notified of the failures. The failure mileage was 200,500.

- Encinitas, CA, USA

problem #16

Nov 232011


  • miles


I was in a 2006 Toyota Prius car accident on the freeway when the steering wheel started jerking (to the point of no control), the brakes stopped working and the car kept accelerating. Car lost control. Car was totaled, two witnesses and a police report. I was sent the emergency room. No responsibility was assumed by Toyota, which completed their "inspection" on March 9th, 2012. Then eight months later on November 14, 2012 they come out with two recalls: A steering recall & an engine and engine cooling, hybrid propulsion system recall, probably as part of what they saw happened to me. I was never notified after about these recalls that my car potentially could've been defective from and part of.

- Bellevue, WA, USA

problem #15

Nov 182015


  • 100,000 miles
Water pump was replaced in 2011 and again 2015. My car has 160,000 miles at this time in Nov 2015.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #14

Jul 032014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 147,848 miles
I was driving on interstate highway 5 North to los angeles late evening around 9:00pm. The steering column began making a grinding noise and vibrating. Each time I turned the steering wheel either to the left or to the right the car made a vibration and grinding noise and felt stiff. The jarring was felt in the acceleration pad and in the brake pads each time I either accelerated or braked. I took the car to the dealer where I service my car on July 5th 2014. The service department was able to duplicate the exact complaint I had. The service department gave me an invoice informing me that the charges to fix the steering column and the electric motor inside would cost me over $2000. I called Toyota on 14th July to ask if they would take care of this issue. I was informed by Toyota on July 18th, that they would not cover this because it was out of warranty, and the car had 148,000 miles, and the recall work had been done in 2012 on this vehicle. As a peace offering they said they could give me 700$ to fix it or buy a new vehicle. The dealer, where I went to get the problem resolved, said they could not do anything because this was a different issue from the recall"??? I now have a vehicle that is not safe to drive which I am being told is not covered by the company. I have never heard of a steering column failing. I was not aware that my vehicle even had a recall. I had no intimation from anyone. And no I did not realize that in late 2012 the dealer had done some work on the recall. What is there to show that the work was done correctly and that this is a common failure problem in all vehicles?" I have had vehicles that I have used for over 200,000 miles with no mishaps including a Saab and an Acura.

- Rolling Hills Estates, CA, USA

problem #13

May 312014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 81,689 miles


I am requesting that NHTSA investigate expanding/adding-to the recall of Toyota Prius coolant inverter pump failures* to include coolant storage pump failures blowing a main fuse causing dangerous loss of all power and control. On May 31st, 2014, while traveling at about 60mph, without any warning, the car instantly shut down: No drive power, no power steering, no power brakes, no front panel display. This was a dangerous situation. After diagnosis, the Toyota dealer with assistance from Toyota corporate concluded that the "coolant storage pump" (not the coolant inverter pump as in the recall) was the cause of this blown "am-2" 15-amp fuse which shut down the hybrid system, power steering, brakes, etc. They indicated that the coolant storage pump fault was a known cause. This car is well-maintained, dealer maintained. It had all the recent recall updates installed. It was a mild day ~75deg. We'd been driving about 10 mins after a 30 minute stop. Vehicle load was not a factor -- two slim adults, no cargo load. No electrical charging loads. I am very concerned with the safety implications of immediately losing all power, power brakes, power steering, without warning, because of a single coolant pump fault. Can you please investigate this. I hope they fixed my vehicle. And I hope if anyone else has this problem its not deadly. Thank you, * recall of inverter coolant pump 12V536000: "...open fuse, creating a stall-like condition of the hybrid system while the vehicle is being driven. This may increase the risk of a vehicle crash." Ps I found another complaint that might be related (..shut off in traffic, similar VIN, NHTSA id number: 10567158). Though this complaint seems to be focused on the costs replacing additional pumps.

- Poway, CA, USA

problem #12

Jul 022013


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Toyota Prius. The contact stated while approaching an exit from the highway at 30 mph the steering wheel could not be turned to the right or left; however, the failure only occurred for a brief moment. The steering wheel began to function normally within a few minutes. The vehicle was taken to the dealer a diagnostic test that was unable to locate a failure code. The dealer also test drove the vehicle but the failure did not recur. The VIN was not available. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 75,000.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #11

May 012013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
The cooling system in my car is defective. The water pump is apparently leaking when I have committed no precursive action to cause it. This issue is related to the same issue in my other similar Toyota priuses, where defective electric water pumps unexpectedly stop working. The other cars are consequently recalled and I believe mine should be as well. news.consumerreports.org/safety/2012/11/Toyota-Prius-and-other-vehicles-recalled-due-to-water-pump-and-steering-issues.html thanks.

- Saratoga, CA, USA

problem #10

Jan 012013

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
2006 Toyota Prius. Consumer writes in regards to steering recall notice. The consumer stated he received an urgent recall notice in the mail. However, when she called the dealer to schedule an appointment, she was informed the part was not available and they were not sure, when it would arrive.

- Claremont, CA, USA

problem #9

Sep 132012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 77,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while reversing at 5 mph, the power steering assist failed and the steering wheel could not be moved in either direction. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who advised that the spiral cable, steering shaft, the connecting yoke, and the steering column shaft extension needed to be replaced. There was a recall for the steering failure under NHTSA campaign id number: 06V188000: (steering: Electric power assist system) however, the contact's VIN was not included. The vehicle was repaired by the contact. The manufacturer was notified of the failure who filed a complaint and offered no other assistance. The failure mileage was 77,000. Updated 10/19/12 updated 10/23/2012 updated 11/19/12 updated 11/20/2012

- Sanford, NC, USA

problem #8

Jul 252012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
While my 16 year old son was practicing driving maneuverability with my wife in a parking lot, the steering shaft completely failed and the vehicle could not be controlled or steered. They parked the car safely and got a ride home. It was found that the splines on one of the intermediate steering shafts completely failed. The upper parts of the steering mechanism could turn without turning the lower parts. Toyota had a recall on some 2004-2006 vehicles with this exact description of parts but my VIN is not included in the recall. My failure is exactly as described: Low speed with the steering turned at the end of travel. Searching the Prius forums on line, this is a common problem. Even cars that have had their steering mechanisms replaced have failed a second time. The issue is a defective design of the steering shaft. First, the electric power steering places forces on the steering shaft that would not exist in hydraulic power steering. The spline now has the force of the driver plus the boost of the power steering. At the end of travel, the power steering is forcing the linkage to turn even though the driver is just slightly turning the wheel. The rack and pinion and the associated shaft and link were designed for non boosted forces. The second design defect is the fact that this safety critical part doesn't include some type of redundancy for failed splines. In state of the art designs available since the 1970S, the clamping bolt provides a secondary fail- safe for loosing the spline interface. If the splines fail, the bolt interferes with the shaft after a few degrees of movement. This gives the driver a sloppy but safe way to drive the vehicle. Unlike the Prius failure, this system can keep the driver in control. My Toyota dealer did nothing for me because the vehicle is outside of the warranty. Toyota customer line did nothing...updated 06/28/13 updated 07/1/2013

- Avon, OH, USA

problem #7

Feb 052011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 119,730 miles
Service visit for our 2006 Prius was completed on Feb 5, 2011 and upon driving home the car steered differently. A second service visit was initiated at our request and the dealer inspected the car and found no problem. On February 25, 2011 a third service visit was initiated at our request and the service department provided a written estimate for replacing a "failing steering motor assembly" for an out of warranty cost of $1950 plus tax and installation. I asked if this was a recall item and they indicated no and a call to Toyota on case number 1102251605 arrived at the same conclusion. Out of warranty and no recall at this time. The response to a question "is this car safe to drive" to the dealer service employees was responded to with yes the car is safe to drive. I have read on the internet that if this unit fails or partially fails, even worse, an un-commanded veer or turn could occur. An out of lane event is likely with a correction force to overcome the servo turn, and additional correcting force to return correct direction will need to be applied. Now I understand this, well enough to know that I will not let my wife drive the car and she will drive mine now. If an accident occurs and I am unable to provide additional information, please use this information to hold Toyota accountable and responsible. I drove the Prius yesterday several hundred miles and the steering problem made me a nervous person by the time I had returned home. Clearly this is not a wear and tear item. Steering is a lifetime critical item and computer controlled systems like this are normally designed with the intent to last the life of the vehicle unless physical damage has altered the system. This needs to be investigated quickly and openly before lives are lost. This is your chance to prevent loss, I call it mitigation because you now know of the hazard and some of the risks. Action is required. I currently have very limited resources.

- Port Charlotte, FL, USA

problem #6

Apr 282010


  • 45,000 miles
Driving in good weather on a local road and car skid light went on and wheels locked to the right. Steering was not responsive. The lack of steering caused the accident. However, the airbags did not deploy.

- Woodcliff Lake, NJ, USA

problem #5

Feb 172010


  • 8,035 miles
1) steering wheel/shaft appears to be improperly supported; feels loose when turning lock to lock since new. Have brought to the attention of four (4) Toyota dealers when service performed (have taken to Toyota for all service work since new), all have advised that there is "nothing wrong" with the vehicle. It is the only vehicle we have ever owned that has this sense of disconnect and potential for a much more serious issue were there ever a steering failure. 2) over rough roads (when vehicle was driven in seattle and bellevue, wa) when stopping, the ABS system seems to activate prematurely and increase stopping distances. We have other vehicles with ABS brakes which do not activate so readily and stop so slowly. As it relates to incident date(s): Since new, vehicle purchased November 2005.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #4

Feb 172010


  • 55,000 miles
I was driving at about 65 M/hr on I-95 and noticed my car veering first to the left then to the right. I was puzzled by this and looked over to notice that trees were not moving, I.e., it did not feel windy outside. This was a very peculiar incident that has happened to my car about 3-4 times in the past 3 years. I later heard on the news the recall of corollas for the same type of issue. They actually showed a test model simulation and it looked exactly like what I have been experiencing. I don't know if this is my imagination but it certainly did not feel that way when the incident occurred.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #3

May 152009


  • 40,200 miles
My 2006 Toyota Prius has several issues with acceleration, braking, turning car off and on alarm goes off constantly and terrible gas mileage around 30 miles per gallon.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #2

Oct 012006


  • 4,860 miles
In 10/06, I had an incident where the brakes and steering of my 2006 Prius ceased to function briefly, as I tried to brake at an intersection. I took the car in to my Toyota dealer shortly after -- they checked it but found nothing wrong, so nothing was done. The day in question was drizzly and the roads wet. It was daytime, and I was driving with my children in boston, approaching the forest hills intersection. There were trolley tracks in the road (since removed), which I try to avoid, since I know they can be slippery. As I approached the intersection, going about 20 mph, I put my foot to the brake. At that point, it seemed to me that both the brakes and the steering ceased to function or froze up, so that I couldn't stop the car or keep it going straight. Thus the car kept going, veering to the right, with one wheel banging into and up onto a curb, before the car stopped. The whole thing took only a few seconds. I turned the car off and sat there in disbelief, since I'd experienced nothing like this in 30 years of driving. Fortunately, there were no other cars close by, so I didn't cause an accident, and I had been going slow enough so that neither I nor my two boys were hurt. I have come to know the car better, and have learned that often when the road is slippery or rough, yellow warning lights will flash, and the brakes will seem briefly less crisp. It is possible that the wet conditions and the trolley tracks on the day of the incident contributed to what happened. However, I want to emphasize the qualitative difference of the 2006 incident. IżM not a car expert, but it felt to me like the car's electronic system had seized up, not like there was some mechanical problem. It felt as though there was a brief but complete severing of the connection between my actions with my feet and hands and how the car behaved. It was very frightening.

- Jamaica Plain, MA, USA

problem #1

Jan 122009


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Toyota Prius. While driving various speeds, the steering wheel suddenly jerked out of his hands and turned sharply to the left. The contact could not maintain control of the vehicle and the vehicle was towed to the dealer. The failure has occurred twice since last year. The dealer stated that the steering computer controls the electric power steering system. The computer was sending the wrong or false signals. The dealer is currently repairing the vehicle. The failure mileage was 90,000. Updated 2/17/09 the dealer replaced the torque sensors.updated 02/19/09.

- Bridgeport, CA, USA

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