really awful
Crashes / Fires:
6 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
82,657 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.

2008 Toyota Prius body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2008 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #15

Mar 182014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


I am a mechanical professional engineer licensed in the state of California. I was with an individual at the time this occurred as they attempted to open the back hatch. Upon trying to lift the tail gate the individual heard the click and the slight release of the lock for the tail gate. They were unaware of the degraded condition of the switches cover. Upon trying to lift the hatch they felt their fingers "appear" to sink into the switch. Afraid of shock or suffering physical arm the individual attempted to pull hand away from hatch latch. Due to the adhesive nature of the degraded switch cover the fingers could not be removed in the natural expected motion. The alter motion resulted in the breaking of the latch switch cover and the individuals hand being launched in a direction that fortunately only resulted in a shoulder sprain. This left the vehicle back hatch with a broken cover and prevent the user from using the back hatch until the cover and switch were /repaired or replaced. It appears the rubber/gasket/cover for the back hatch latch switch degrades overtime due to unknown reasons. In the heat in this particular case the cover began to melt and drip off the cover/switch. The material became tacky/sticky enough to become adhesive enough that signification [implying that force would be enough to cause self injury for someone that was not expecting the situation to develop as such.] force was required to separate fingers from the switch (several ft/lbs of force).

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #14

Feb 012014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
On the hatch, the exterior switch to open the hatch is covered by a rubber seal to prevent moisture. Unfortunately for me (and apparently hundreds of other consumers I've spoken to online), the rubber eventually dissolves and destroys the switching mechanism, leading to an inability to open the trunk/hatch. This has potential safety implications as if there were a battery fire, I'd have no way to open the hatch to try to put out the fire or retrieve anything.

- Winter Garden, FL, USA

problem #13

Jan 072014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 36,318 miles
On occasion the vehicle will pop out of D or will have a problem getting into D. this day I parked, left the vehicle running (on) since it was cold in boston and my wife was sitting in the passenger seat. Existed the car, retrieved a package I was delivering from the back seat and left. About 5 min later, my wife said that all of a sudden she feels the car moving forward and before she can stop it the car crashed into a truck with a very large tow hitch assembly. The crash nailed my front hood virtually dead center. Dealer could not replicate but seems from other online comments that this is not unknown about gear difficulty although popping out of P seems like a new add-on or maybe few of us ever leave a car running.

- So Weymouth, MA, USA

problem #12

Jan 102014

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles


Rear hatch switch melted and had to be replaced for $290.62. This is a Toyota problem which they refuse to acknowledge.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #11

Jun 042013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 93,000 miles
Black handle on hatch melting. After only about 5 years use, the rubber cover on the hatch release handle (the exterior handle of the rear hatch) of my 2008 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. I went to Toyota ardmore, pa to complain about it but did not get any answers and choose to ignore it. I am asking for your Agency to take a look at these instances and also to ask Toyota why they are not recalling these handles. Thanks for your help.

- Ardmore, PA, USA

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problem #10

Oct 172012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
Lift gate latch rubber cover is melted.

- Palm Desert, CA, USA

problem #9

May 222012


  • 31,000 miles


I live in Texas where the weather gets hot during the summer. I noticed last year that the rubber trunk latch on my Toyota Prius was noticeably different in texture after I had tried to use it after it had been parked in the sun. It didn't cause much of a problem then, but now it has melted so much that it droops down over an inch and is about to fall off from the sides. The handle has turned into a tar like substance, and will not reattached to the original part. I spoke with my dealership, and they have told me that this is a consistent problem, but will not replace it for under $400. I normally park my vehicle in a garage, so this is obviously a manufacturer defect that they want me to pay for to replace. This concerns me as I will not be able to use my trunk with the rubber piece gone, since it protects it from the water, dust and debris. The electrical connections also allow me to use the trunk, lock and unlock the car, and is part of the entire engine and braking system. With the known problems that already are associated with the Prius, I am scared to drive the car with potential issues that could arise from the electrical issues and losing access to the safety equipment (emergency supplies, spare tire, jack) that are all located in the trunk. If there was ever a need to exit from the trunk, it would not be possible once the latch has been compromised. Please look into this issue as it has occurred to countless people who all own 07-08 priuses, as we would all like to be able to use our trunk handles without being covered in black goo.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #8

Jun 022013


  • 71,000 miles
The hatchback release is melting. It is all gooey when you open the door. One of my concerns is what type of chemical is getting on my hands" is it toxic" the second is safety. I have read over time you will not be able to open the hatchback. This would not be appropriate if you had a flat tire. I contacted Toyota and they said they have no record of this problem, but after researching the internet I see a significant amount of complaints. I also see a lot of complaints about this problem on this site. Please have a recall for a defective part. I was told by the dealer that it would cost $210 plus tax for a replacement.

- Palm Bay, FL, USA

problem #7

Jun 162010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Melt down of hatchback release handle. Very hard to open hatchback.

- Land O Lakes, FL, USA

problem #6

Oct 252012


  • 36,000 miles
The black rubber trunk release cover has deteriorated/melted, making it difficult to open the rear hatch of the car. This appears to be a common problem, based on the number of complaints reported on the internet for this same issue. Appears to be a manufacturing/part defect.

- Mountain View, CA, USA

problem #5

Aug 312011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 800,000 miles


After about 3 years of use, the hatch release handle (the exterior handle of the rear hatch) started to become soft and sticky, and after a few months eventually totally melts into a sticky, gooey black mess that would stick to your hands whenever you touch it. The hatch becomes harder and harder to open.

- Sugar Land, TX, USA

problem #4

Sep 012010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
At about 2 years old the handle to the back hatch release melted into a tarry goo.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #3

Aug 292012


  • 70,374 miles
On 8/29/12, I got into my 2008 Prius in the parking lot of the easton, md giant food-store to return home. This lot is on a slope just above a parking lot for walmart, with a paved road between the 2 lots. The parking lots were very crowded. I needed to get to the road separating the 2 lots in order to go home. I had just started the Prius and put it into drive when it started to roar loudly, jumped out fast, and accelerated rapidly, even though I brake multiple times. The brakes seemed to make it accelerate faster. I was not touching the gas pedal, only the brake, but the car was roaring and out of control. On the way out of the giant lot, the Prius hit 3 cars. The noise was very loud, and the car was out of control. Pumping the brakes or holding them down did nothing to slow the car, and the noise was terrifying. The brakes did not work, and the Prius continued to make a very loud roaring noise. The speed of the car made steering difficult, if not impossible, and there could have been injuries. The Prius then left the giant parking lot, went down the mulched slope, crossed the street, bumped over the curb, and went up the walmart slope hitting a small tree. The car was probably going at least 40 mph and came to a stop only after it plunged into an unoccupied black car parked in the walmart parking lot. It was severely damaged and towed away. No one knew who the owner was at the time the police ordered it towed away. An occupant would have been severely injured or killed.during the above, the Prius continued to run and the airbag functioned, keeping me uninjured. The brakes and the accelerator failed totally. Four vehicles were damaged, one of which was totaled. But as far as I know, there were no injuries??for which I am grateful. This Prius should not have been on the road despite having only 74,000 miles and its apparent good condition.

- Easton, MD, USA

problem #2

May 302012


  • 56,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the handle on the lift gate melted. The contact noticed it when he grabbed the lift gate handle and a sticky solution covered his hands. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection but was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified and stated that there was no recalls on the failure. The failure mileage was 56,000.

- Bradenton, FL, USA

problem #1

May 022011


  • 42,000 miles
After only about 3 years use, the rubber cover on the hatch release handle (the exterior handle of the rear hatch) of our 2008 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, particularly in Florida. We live in Louisiana. 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 2 year mark (ie after 2 years of exposure to the bright sun in Louisiana for example). 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 2 years.

- Metairie, LA, USA

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