really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
63,568 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #11

May 032012

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles


I stopped at my mailbox yesterday and put the car in park. When I got back in the car and attempted to drive away the car slipped into neutral all by itself. I put it back in drive and again it slipped into neutral. It did this 5 times before I finally held the knob down into drive so I could get the car home into my driveway. When I started the car this morning it seemed to work fine, but I am finding tons of reports on the internet of people experiencing the exact same problem and even a you tube video of a lady who documented when it happened to her.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #10

Aug 162011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 63,457 miles
My 2008 Toyota Prius pops out of drive into neutral sporadically. I have to hold the gear selector in the drive position with my right hand while I drive one handed with my left.

- Jackson, NJ, USA

problem #9

Jan 072012


  • 36,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the vehicle was stopped and shut off when it began to drive forward. The vehicle continued to drive forward and drove behind a building before crashing into bushes. The contact also stated that she left the keys in the ignition when she shut the vehicle off, but the vehicle was shut off while shifted in the park position. Upon locating the crashed vehicle, the contact stated that the keys were in the ignition and the vehicle was still shifted in park. The vehicle was not taken to have the failure diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 36,000.

- Belleville, WI, USA

problem #8

Aug 152010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 52,000 miles


Car will not stay in drive after it has been idling, in park, on a hot day. When getting back in car and putting the car in drive, it slips back to neutral after accelerator pedal is pressed. Car goes a few feet then slips back to neutral. After putting it back into drive and pressing the pedal again, it slips back to neutral. The only solution is to shut the car off completely and restart after 15-20 minutes. This has twice left me nosed out into a busy street. I first tried to resolve this issue with my local dealership, Toyota, on 9/17/10. They claimed they could not duplicate the problem and said they had never heard of it even though I brought them several internet accounts of others who reported the exact same problem. This year, when the problem started again with the hot weather, I reported it to Toyota usa (case # ). they also said they've never heard of the problem before and insisted that I must have the problem duplicated at the dealership. So, I returned to my dealership but this time with a dvd copy of the problem that I had taken with my movie camera. This dvd shows the issue perfectly. They responded that a Toyota tech has found an "upgrade" that they can provide me for $240 labor. They commented that my car had 52,000 miles on it when the problem first started so they're being really nice in providing the part "upgrade". it's almost as if they're saying that at 52,000 miles I shouldn't expect the transmission to stay in gear!"!" I told them that the power-train is warrented for 100,000 miles and if this isn't a power-train issue I don't know what is. Futhermore, they may regard it as an "upgrade" but I regard it as a safety defect that should be replaced by Toyota at no charge. I have a copy of the dvd, clearly showing the issue, that I would be happy to provide to you. Thank you for your time. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Whitewater, MO, USA

problem #7

Jun 202011


  • 109,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. The contact was driving approximately 10 mph when the vehicle suddenly shifted into neutral and the contact was unable to shift into any other gear. The vehicle was then inspected by the dealer and they advised the contact that the shifter needed to replaced due to an electrical failure. The vehicle was not inspected. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure and current mileages were approximately 109,000.

- Montana, CA, USA

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problem #6

Jul 102009


  • 15,000 miles
On 3 separate days, 2 during the summer of 2009 and 1 during the summer of 2010, our Prius transmission has automatically and repeatedly shifted from D (drive) to N (neutral) without warning while the car was moving. All incidents happened on extremely hot days (temperatures near 100) in the afternoon after the car had been parked out in the sun and without us having made any accidental contact with the shifter / drive selector while driving. This created dangerous situations several times as the car erratically slowed as we entered intersections or pulled out onto busy streets. Our initial response was to depress the accelerator, but when this had no effect, we discovered the transmission light had moved from D to N. it was especially dangerous when making left hand turns on busy streets with oncoming traffic. We discovered that we could keep the car moving by constantly holding the shifter / drive selector lever in the D position. Turning off the air conditioner did not help the problem. After the first time this happened, we took the car to the dealership to investigate the problem, but the service technicians there were unable to reproduce it. This glitch remains a concern to us because the loss of power and acceleration is unpredictable and therefore dangerous, but at least we know we can keep the car moving by holding the shifter in the D position. Because the car is so computerized, I suspect an electronic component of the drive system may malfunction at high temperatures. The mileage number I gave is an approximation since I didn't record the actual mileage when this first happened, but the dealer who serviced the car shortly thereafter should have that information.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #5

Aug 012010


  • 44,000 miles


When I put my 2008 Prius into the park mode along with the brake but still having the car running, I will open the driver's side door to get my mail. When I then close the door and try and put the car into drive, it will automatically shift into neutral. Numerous tries to get the car into the drive mode will fail. I then coast my car down the hill into my driveway. I have tried shutting off the car and starting from scratch but it will shift into neutral. This has happened intermittently over the last month. I took it to my local dealer and they could find nothing wrong. It occurred after they said there was nothing wrong so I will be taking it back in. The consequences are that I am on a road and can't get my car to drive. One other issue that occurred during this time is that I was driving at approximately 50mph and all of a sudden my car shifted into the B mode. I was able to shift out of it but my concern is that there is something wrong.

- Menomonee Falls, WI, USA

problem #4

Apr 012010

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
2008 Toyota Prius. Consumer states fault in vehicle the consumer stated he backed out of a parking space, shifted into drive and the vehicle refused to respond to drive as he pressed the accelerator. It seemed the brake was on. A master fault appeared on the screen. It said batteries will not charge if let in the neutral position. After several tries, it finally responded.

- Apache Junction, AZ, USA

problem #3

Apr 052010


  • 17,285 miles
Last night about 6:00pm cst. My gas pedal stuck on my 2008 Toyota. I was at a used car dealership looking at trucks. I got out of the Prius to look at a truck. I got back into the car put it in drive and when I took off the pedal stuck to the floor. I put the shifter into neutral stopped the car, put it back into drive and the pedal was still stuck. Once again I put the shifter into neutral, stopped the car and put the shifter into park, adjusted the floor mat (I don't know if the mat was the problem or not) then put the shifter into drive and it was fine. I sure it is not related but I had just had the car in the shop (smart motors) the previous week to adjust the tire pressure light.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #2

Mar 092010


  • 39,055 miles
I left my 2008 Toyota Prius running and had to run back into a home where I'd just left a sales appointment. Eventhough I had the key fob in my pocket, I noticed out of the corner of my eye as I was crossing the street back towards the house that my car was careening into the Buick parked across the street. I ran and jumped in and steered it away from T-boning the parked Buick, but could not keep it the driver's side of the Prius from scraping along the driver's side corner of the Buick's rear bumper.

- Cardiff, CA, USA

problem #1

Feb 042010


  • 20 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota Prius which surges ahead when I am braking under certain conditions: Wet, uneven surfaces, and bumpy roads. It is scary because I nearly hit someone at a stop sign and I feel out of control when it does this. On average, happens 1-2X week. It happens when my foot is off the gas pedal and I am under 20 mph. It seems like a computer error and not accelerator related.

- Birmingham, MI, USA

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