really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
73,518 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.

2007 Toyota Prius body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2007 Toyota Prius Owner Comments

problem #19

Jan 022008


  • 8,000 miles


The rear hatch is poorly designed with no indoor release. I keep injuring my hand and neck to get it open, often having to take pain pills, get therapy the next day after straining my neck trying to lift up on the tiny little grip area with my hand. The latch will not release on the first try and when the temps are below freezing I often cannot get it to open at all. How is one supposed to get a spare tire out? when is it zero degrees out one should be able to get their rear door open without taking off one's glove. This hatch will never operate with a gloved hand attempting to open it. It is also not safe to have to fumble around in parking lots attempting to squeeze between parking places to load items purchased when one should be able to easily deposit items in the back of the vehicle. This is a safety issue and needs to be corrected by Toyota. I have seen many people complain about this online but nobody has mentioned being able to solve the problem, nor have dealers been able to fix this without charging the customers $100's of dollars.

- Northfield, OH, USA

problem #18

Dec 142014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 111,111 miles
The rear lift gate latch on my Toyota Prius has stopped functioning. In 65 degree weather today the exterior rubber over the latch mechanism has melted and will no longer function to open the lift gate. In cold weather the latch has been very difficult to open and now the melted rubber mess has ceased to perform. I can no longer open the trunk of my car. The rubber has melted out onto the metal part of the lift gate and over the screws that hold it in place. This is a safety hazard as I can not access the rear hatch of my car in an emergency or in any typical situation (I would have to crawl into the trunk from the back seat and remove the interior plastic panel to open the hatch from inside the car if I needed to open the hatch door.)

- Hickory, NC, USA

problem #17

May 142014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
The hatch or trunk sticks when I try to open it. The dark rubber in the latch area appears to have melted and spread.

- Sf, CA, USA

problem #16

Jan 132014


  • 38,000 miles


The contact owns a 2007 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the rubber on the hatchback was melted and, when opened, would cover her in black tar. The dealer stated that the hatch handle cover needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 38,000.

- Downey, CA, USA

problem #15

Jan 102014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 53,588 miles
Rear hatch release latch rubber is dissolving and will only work with difficulty or not at all. I was unaware that this is a frequently reported problem with this car and had not checked with this web site. The disintegrating rubber appears to be interfering with the action of the switch that releases the hatch. My local Toyota dealer said nothing about this being a common problem and replaced the rear hatch switch assembly for a cost of $167 plus tax. This complaint was made Aug. 6, 2014.

- Okemos, MI, USA

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problem #14

Jul 012013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
Rear hatch release is dissolving and hatch will only open with difficulty or not at all. Many similar complaints on line about this issue for this Prius model year.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #13

Nov 252013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 58,000 miles


The back latch of my Toyota Prius 2007 has degraded. In the past I have rarely used the trunk of my car and therefore did not realize the extent of the problem. I am now almost 9 months pregnant. A couple of months ago (around November 2013) I tried to open the trunk. While it was difficult, after a lot of pressing and maneuvering I was able to open it. Most recently for the past 3 weeks, I am completely unable to open the trunk. Now that the trunk is completely unable to be opened, I am extremely concerned for the safety of my newborn that will be riding in the car. In the event of an emergency, being able to open the trunk to potentially remove my baby out of the car is a must. Therefore, I believe this is a serious safety hazard. I am requesting that Toyota correct this problem on my car.

- Encino, CA, USA

problem #12

Dec 292013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 97,500 miles
I too am a victim of the melting rear hatch cover. The rubber cover to the external trunk latch has deteriorated to the point where it is either gooey to the touch in warm weather or frozen solid to the point where it is immovable in colder temperatures. This is a safety hazard since I am unable to access the spare tire. The rubber appears to be blocking the release mechanism. The deterioration started during the summer of 2013. This issue has worsened and beginning December 29, I have been unable to open the rear hatch. It is clearly a manufacturer defect and is the responsibility of Toyota to replace this handle at no expense to the consumer. However, they are not willing to do so.

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #11

Jan 012014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 83,650 miles
The back latch of my 2007 Toyota Prius has degraded ("melted" almost). It no longer functions properly, and I am unable to open the back hatch door easily (frozen solid and immovable in colder temperatures). Sometimes it requires considerable effort and perseverance to get it open. I am concerned that in the case of an emergency, I will not be able to get the door open. Also, at times, due to the inflexibility of the rubber I am unable to open the trunk and, thus, access the spare, any of my repair tools, emergency safety kit, flares, jumpers, etc. There is no alternative internal method for opening the hatchback/trunk.this is a major cause for concern and it is a serious safety hazard.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #10

Nov 132013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
Rear hatch latch is inoperable and prevents access to spare tire. Rubber covering of latch mechanism degraded 'melted, ' even though car is garage stored in the heat of summer, M-F.

- Centreville, VA, USA

problem #9

Dec 162013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 89,000 miles


I noticed over the summer that the hatchback button became extremely soft and for lack of a better term, gooey. Once the weather cooled down the button seemed to have reshaped/melted so that I am no longer able to open the hatch of my car. I have contacted Toyota with this concern but was told that because I have exceeded the mileage and warranty coverage it is my responsibility. I strongly believe that this is the cause of faulty manufacturing. I cannot access my spare tire is kept under cover in the rear hatch. Toyota needs to take responsibility for this and issue a recall immediately.

- Woodbury, NJ, USA

problem #8

Jun 012013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
The rear hatch became sticky and left black residue on my fingers. The hatch took several tries until it unlocked. Now that it is cold in Pennsylvania the hatch will either not open at all or it takes numerous tries until it unlocks. This is very inconvenient as access to the rear is not gained sometimes and items must be placed in the backseat as a result. Also if I am unlucky enough to get a flat tire I cannot get to the spare. The rear hatch area is where my emergency kit and jumper cables are kept. Our family owns three Toyota's and being loyal customers of Toyota I would think that Toyota would be more than happy to do the right thing and fix this problem for free since this appears to be a common problem!

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #7

May 262013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
I've also been having problems with the rear hatch on my 2007 Prius for some time. The rubber has softened and partially melted in warm weather, making it extremely hard to grip and depress the release button, particularly for a woman with weak finger joints. Several times it hurt my hands to grip and press the release. Not to mention the gooey mess it made on my fingers when I'd try to open it. Then once the weather turned colder, it seems the rubber solidified in an abnormal shape and recently it has become impossible for even a man with strong hands to depress and open the hatch. I fear it would be impossible for anyone to wrestle the spare tire out of the trunk without being able to open the hatch. Sure, you can gain access to the hatch area by folding down the seats, but how could you open the cover for the tire well and pull out the spare tire? and in an emergency, there would be no way to open the trunk to assist someone. We've owned four Prius cars, including a 2008 model, and this is the only one with this problem. Toyota really should recall these models and fix this issue. Please help.

- Mt Pleasant Mills, PA, USA

problem #6

Oct 152012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
For the past year, the rubber surface of the rear hatch release has been gooey, leaving black marks on my hands. The function of the release has been erratic. Often, I can't release it at all. It seems particularly bad in cooler weather. I've read that this has been a pretty common problem and find it surprising that Toyota has not recalled these vehicles to replace the assembly.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #5

Nov 052013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
2007 Toyota Prius rear hatch handle failure. Rubber cover melts into electric switch making it inoperable.

- Santa Barbara, CA, USA

problem #4

Jul 012009

Prius 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
The hatch release on the hatchback melted making the hatchback nearly impossible to open. As safety equipment such as flares, spare tires, and flags are kept in the hatch under the flooring, not being able to access them in an emergency is a serious safety issue.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #3

Jun 012009

Prius 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Rear hatch door latch failure, starting with softening and deformation of the rubber-like cover and progressing to latch not opening, especially in cold weather.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #2

Jul 112011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 128,000 miles
Hatchdoor handle release plate melting. Just like the multiple reports of this same problem already reported at this website. Majority of my car miles were accumulated in Michigan; melting occurred just recently in Texas. When calling the dealership parts dept they immediately guessed the problem. Melting. Due to previous customer complaints. Estimated part ($97) and installation ($100). Guess I should be thankful my tires and other car parts aren't melting!

- Mongtgomery, TX, USA

problem #1

Jan 052011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
After only about 4 years use, the rubber cover on the hatch release handle (the exterior handle of the rear hatch) of our 2007 Toyota Prius, melted into a sticky tarry black rubbery gooey mess. I can best describe it as being a viscous black glob like roofing tar. To open the hatch, you have to touch this black goo each time, which makes it difficult to operate the hatch release. We believe this melting process started at about the 2 yr. Mark. I thought that this might be a singular issue, but have found that this has happened to several car owners in Texas. Toyota knows about this, and is selling the entire wiring harness for $96 plus repair costs, and has done nothing about recalling this. From a safety perspective, this means you can experience extreme difficulty opening the rear hatch (a life safety access point), and will get sticky black tar on you from the melted down rubber cover of the exterior hatch release handle. To me, this is both a serious life safety issue and a serious quality defect that Toyota is opting to ignore and only fixing on vehicles with extended warranties, since the failure appears to occur at around the 3 year mark I am aware of the outstanding work done by NHTSA on other safety issues, including the problem with rusty frames on 02 Isuzu axioms, and I find this problem to be similar in nature, so I am asking for your Agency to take a look at these instances and also to inquire from Toyota why they are not recalling these handles that are melting in the sun!!! it's outrageous. I think a door handle or hatch handle should be made to last more than 3 years. Please review these forum comments of other incidents: priuschat.com/forums/gen-II-Prius-care-maintenance-troubleshooting/71647-2007-Prius-trunk-hatch-release-rubber-piece-melted-4.html

- Plano, TX, USA

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