really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
107,895 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2007 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Oct 202016


  • 109,092 miles


While I was driving, the car suddenly made a very loud sound, that did not go away. Along with that, the lights on the dash lit up, the brake light, the red hazard exclamation triangle light, the ABS and vsc light. It felt the brakes were not working and I would need to press it down hard for it to slow down. This has happened three times! and each time I took it in to Toyota, their diagnostic tests showed nothing. They think it could be the battery but they did not suggest changing it. The three episodes that happened, luckily no injuries or crashes. But it is very concerning as I feel this will happen again and they have not figured out what the problem is.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #22

Dec 012015


  • 1,000,000 miles
Wife backed vehicle up then shifted to drive.multipal dash warning lights came on. Vehicle was stopped and shut off. An attempt was made to restart the vehicle to move it back to a parked position. The vehicle could not be put back into drive or reverse. Had to manually push the vehicle to a parked position. It was lucky that this took place on our property in front of our residence and not a busy public roadway. Had the vehicle towed on a flatbed to a Toyota dealer approx. 50 miles away. Toyota dealer advised later the transaxle/transmission failed. Found a Toyota "technical service bulletin" dated July 7,2006 specifically dealing with this issue in the 2004 to 2007 Prius. Document title: M.I.L. "on" dtc P0aa6 or P3009, information codes 526 & 613 models '04- Prius. In the document it states "the transaxel assembly has been improved to prevent this condition." Bottom line is Toyota is aware of the faulty equipment mentioned above and has not addressed the problem properly to recall the vehicles with this issue even though this is an obvious safety issue.

- Montague, CA, USA

problem #21

May 312015


  • 159 miles
While driving uphill on a curved, shoulder-less road, my car spontaneously shifted into neutral, causing it to lose all power as well as power brake. I attempted to physically hold the gear shift in "drive", but this did not bring power back, nor did it change the light on the dash from "neutral". at first the car would shift into reverse, and I was able to back into a wider part of the road. It then stopped shifting into any gear. I ended up having the car towed home in neutral, with poor (non-power) braking. I've since done a google search and see that this is a recurrent problem with 200-something priuses, based on Consumer Affairs, Toyota nation, Prius online, and car problem zoo.

- Nevada City, CA, USA

problem #20

Dec 212014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 57,970 miles


On Sunday morning, Dec. 21st, I left the house around 7am with dog in back seat to drive to a hiking trail. Everything was normal as I drove South on Oregon expressway. After driving about 0.5 mi and descending the underpass at alma St., at around 35 mph, without warning the red triangle light illuminated on with beep and indicators: Brake, ABS, airbag on and check engine. I also noticed the words "transmission failure "on the main display. While driving up the other side of the underpass I realized the car was losing power. I decided to take the next turn-off at ash St. By now the car had slowed to 20-25 mph by the time I approached ash St. As I initiated the turn I realized that I no longer had power steering so I touched the brakes and discovered that I also didn't have power brakes. I pushed hard on the brakes and momentarily locked up the wheels. By now the car had slowed enough that I was able to crank the steering wheel hard to complete the turn. Fortunately there were no other cars on ash St. Since I ended up making a rather wide turn; the car fortunately remained on the pavement. The car coasted to a stop at ash and sheridan and I was left stuck in the intersection with no power. I pushed the car to a parking spot. If I recall the main display had gone completely dark by this time; it may have gone dark around the time I initiated the turn onto ash - I can't remember exactly. While considering my options, I eventually powered the car off and powered back on (start button). At this point no indicators were on and everything appeared normal. I took the car home and resolved to bring it for service first thing Monday. Fortunately driving to the dealer doesn't require driving on a highway or expressway. I've driven this car since 2007 and never had a similar issue. Losing all power on the expressway was very disconcerting.

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #19

Oct 132014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 86,642 miles
This is the resolution to an earlier complaint I filed. My NHTSA complaint confirmation number (ODI number) is: 10644563. There didn't appear to be a way to amend that filing. To recap. All the emergency lights came on and my Prius lost all power while I was driving. It came to a halt. It would not restart. My passengers eventually exited the car and I remained in the car with the flashers and depressed the brakes to further alert oncoming drivers. I was towed home and the next day to a dealer. They performed a warranty service for the sensor crank (code poa90) which was the subject of a July 18th 2006 "special service campaign with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration" (read: A voluntary recall) of the crankshaft position sensor on some 2001-2002 Toyota echo and Prius models. In the notice to its dealers [xxx], vice president, product quality and service, warned that this "could cause a crash." The code # that was on my job ticket didn't match that given to this recall -- P0340 - camshaft position sensor 'a' circuit malfunction. I don't know what accounts for that discrepancy. It was called "an important safety recall." Researching this issue online I've discovered that I am not the only Prius owner to experience this potentially life threatening problem since that initial recall. I was lucky enough that no one was harmed and that the repair was covered under warranty. Others have had to pay hundreds of dollars to fix this problem and it's taken some numerous trips to the dealership. I would suggest that NHTSA explore whether another recall is warranted that would include later models and those outside the current Toyota warranty coverage. Those owners who have paid for their repairs should be notified and reimbursed.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

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problem #18

Oct 052014


  • 146,429 miles
At approximately 65mph a red triangle warning light appeared on the dash panel accompanied by a yellow circle. The parking button was flashing and a pink cartoon car appeared on the display. The car was running fine so I continued till I reached my freeway exit. At the bottom of the exit I had to stop for a red light. The exit is dark and has a sharp curve. Upon stopping the car the transmission locked and the engine shut down. I was unable to start the engine and the car could not be pushed out of the way due to the transmission lock. Frantically I had to get a flashlight and wave off oncoming traffic. It was very dangerous. After a few minutes I retried the engine and it started allowing me to get off the ramp and get home. The warning lights stayed on. I took the car to the dealer the next day and after they tested everything they said that there was nothing wrong. Next time I might not be so lucky.

- Oxnard, CA, USA

problem #17

Nov 122012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 90,952 miles


I was driving on I-10 westbound when the red triangle light came on. I pulled over and read the booklet which said to get immediate help. I drove it about 5 miles and pulled into West covina Toyota. They performed health check code poa2B and C23128. Something with the transmission control or assembly. After 4 days they could not tell me what needed to be done, so I had it towed to an independent and paid $2800 for a rebuilt transmission. I was without my car for 5 weeks! I believe that Toyota should have been able to correctly diagnose this and it probably is related to other complaints of either power train or electric or dashboard lights.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #16

Aug 042014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 136,000 miles
Vehicle will not stay in drive, especially after sitting in the hot sun for several hours. This is a well documented issue on many forums such as www.toyotanation.com/forum/62-Prius-forum/343977-08-Prius-won-T-stay-gear-3.html. people have even mentioned claims of the transmission shifting to neutral while they are driving down the road. I called my local Toyota dealership and they said they have heard issues and it's a shifter knob replacement to resolve. At first I was pleased until I learned the shifter is $400 + $100 for labor. This is unacceptable Toyota - I have been a long time Toyota customer due to the reliability. This looks like an unaddressed recall issue to me. Thanks for investigating this NHTSA. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #15

Sep 102014

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
Traction control function cannot be deactivated on the 2007 Prius and should be considered a hazardous function. In slippery conditions while making turns from a full stop (if somewhat aggressive acceleration is applied) the traction control is activated and the power (acceleration) goes to zero. It's the equivalent of releasing the accelerator (accelerator is unresponsive). The vehicle is coasting into traffic and can take up to 2 seconds to regain acceleration capability.

- Simpsonville, SC, USA

problem #14

Jul 182012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
The Prius will shift itself out of drive and into neutral when the car has been sitting in the hot sun and the interior heats up. This has happened at least 10 times over the past couple of years. I have to manually hold the gear shift into drive in order to drive the car. I drove it to the dealer and showed them the problem and they had no idea why it did that and said they had never heard of this problem before. After the car cools down it resumes normal function. I have had to learn to leave the windows partially opened during the summer in order to avoid this problem. If the service personnel at the dealer do not know how to fix this problem, who does?

- Reno, NV, USA

problem #13

Jul 162014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 56,634 miles


Transaxle failure resulting in repair bill of $4948. Please see details under fuel/propulsion system category as I didn't select the proper "affected part" classification when I made the complaint. ODI # 10616528. While doing research today I found a similar complaint made 4/27/14 id # 10586065.

- Okemos, MI, USA

problem #12

Apr 272014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 127,800 miles
Last week my wife was driving when our car lost power, began making unusual noises, and multiple warning lights became illuminated on the dash. She stopped the car, turned off the power, and restarted the engine; again the warning lights remained lit. We immediately took the car to our local dealer and left it overnight. The next day they informed me the transmission had failed and charged me $5400 to repair it. The day following the repair the "check engine" warning light came on again while driving and remained lit. We immediately returned to the dealer. After examining the vehicle the dealer told us that the water reservoir float had become stuck. He also stated that this was a common problem for hybrids which have undergone major engine repair. Today they further advised that we continue to drive the vehicle without further repairs.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #11

Jun 262013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
Prius shifted itself out of gear. I put the car into 'drive', it shifted itself into neutral. I put the car in 'reverse', it shifted itself into 'neutral'. I turned the car off and on several times and finally got it to stay in 'reverse', but every time I tried to get the car into 'drive', it shifted back into 'neutral'. this is a serious safely risk. I've restarted several times and still can't get the car to stay in drive. There have been a few weird incidents before - I.e., start the car, put it into 'drive' and it goes into 'reverse', but I attributed this to an error on my part. After today, however, these issues are clearly a problem with the car, and now I believe the prior incidents are related.

- Santa Fe, NY, USA

problem #10

Mar 022013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
The problem has occurred whenever the donut tire is being used on the vehicle as a temporary replacement for a flat tire - this has occurred on both the two occasions that in which I have had to used them both times on the front tires, once on the left tire and the second occasion, most recent on the left. Apparently, the donut tire because of its smaller diameter causes the car's slip differential system to activate (surmised by the icon I see on the dash when this occurs), often for periods of half the driving time - what then happens is that there is a total loss of engine power to the drive chain, the car cannot accelerate or even maintain speed - it essentially coasts or slows. This occurs even when/if the accelerator pedal is depressed to try to feed power to the wheels - the engine is unresponsive. Intermittently, the power is restored, and then the cycle begins again. Although I have not had an accident due to this loss of vehicle control, I consider myself lucky not to have. Use of a donut tire is the only option open to temporarily replacing a flat tire. I think that this system's response to use of the donut tire (which is manufacturer's supplied) is a defect that is dangerous. A driver must be able to maintain and control vehicle speed to prevent and/or remedy a dangerous situation. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #9

Feb 272013


  • 102,200 miles
Master warning light came on along with vehicle stability control, brake & check engine lights. Took it to my Toyota dealer (rice Toyota, greensboro, nc). I work 79 miles from home. I called my Toyota dealer, a service rep said it was ok to drive as long as the warning lights weren't flashing.diagnostic codes indicated the hybrid converter/inverter was bad, they cleared warning lights, which stayed off. They said it may have been a "glitch", if warning lights returned, bring it back. They returned on 3/1/13 while driving to work. I lost power while on I-540, pulled over onto shoulder, turned off engine, restarted it, got back onto I-540 & exited at nearest exit. Lost power again. Pulled over, went thru stop/start process, drove 3 miles to work. Drove home with warning lights but no power losses. Took it to rice Toyota next morning. This occurred barely 2 weeks after the 100,000 mile powertrain warranty expired, galling to say the least, as this part "is" the hybrid system per the service rep. Have you received other complaints about this component?

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #8

Dec 242012


  • 86,000 miles
The contact owns a 2007 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that she shifted into park and exited the vehicle. Upon returning, the contact noticed that the vehicle independently shifted from park, rolled away and crashed into a pole while occupied with the contact's child. Upon impact, the air bags did not deploy. There were no injuries. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where the failure could not be replicated. The manufacturer was not notified. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 86,000.

- Alliance, NE, USA

problem #7

Jun 052012


  • 63,000 miles
Transmission shifted out of drive and into neutral causing loss of power. Had to pull off the highway. This incident has happened a number of times. Prius service bulletin T-sb-0142-11.

- Danville, CA, USA

problem #6

Aug 292012


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2007 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the gear shifter failed. As a result, whenever he attempted to shift into reverse the vehicle would shift into neutral independently. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 75,000.

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #5

Jul 052008


  • 100 miles
I have a 2007 Prius, and every time I go over a bump in the road, my car accelerates, and I get a run away feeling that lasts about 30-45 seconds. In addition, when I am at rest, and the motor is on and my foot in on the brake, the car makes a noise as if the horn is lowly honking. I have described both of these things to my dealership, and they told me that they never heard of this problem before. They said that they checked it out. It still remains.

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #4

Aug 302007


  • 8,097 miles
My near death experience drive my 2007 Toyota Prius on August 30, 2007** **while driving my 2007 Prius behind a 16-wheeler and at an average speed of 60mph, suddenly my Prius' engine & motors roared and the speed surged so strongly that if I didn't ride the brakes, I saw myself ramming into the back of the 16-wheeler in front of me. Also at this time, a Cadillac SUV was following me to close on this Georgia secondary-highway#121 whereby I visualize a tragic accident about to occur. After about a half-mile riding the brakes and feeling the pulling torque of those powerful electric motors on the front wheels, I saw my chance to exit ahead where two trash dumpsters appeared. As I stopped the Prius, I notice smoke coming over the hood. So I jump out of the Prius. I saw flames round the front wheel well that soon flamed out. I contacted aaa auto club South and had the Prius towed 45 miles back to the ann taylor Toyota dealership/service center where I originally purchased the 2007 Prius. Five days later, I was notified by the service center that a piece of flexible "carpet mat" suddenly "rigged" enough in order to become wedged onto the accelerator and no additional services required. (invoice#tocs368561 dated 09/05/07) now in disbelief and scared, I had my 2007 Prius re-inspected at precision tune auto care (invoice#165110 dated 09/06/07). This inspected yielded evidence of a previous fire and burned rotors! I contacted by phone Toyota Corp customer service and usaa auto insurance. I contacted a legal attorney that advised me that my circumstances required hiring a mechanical engineer to disprove Toyota's assertion or drive the vehicle until the run-A-way acceleration occurs again. As of this date, having been "stonewalled" the past two years, I want to verify that your department has a record of my incident.

- Augusta, GA, USA

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