pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
137,300 miles
Total Complaints:
20 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. check oil often (10 reports)
  2. not sure (6 reports)
  3. replace engine (4 reports)
2008 Toyota Prius engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Toyota Prius Owner Comments

problem #20

Aug 152016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


You could only really go about two to three weeks before needing to top off your oil driving this around. Had it checked out and was told this was a known defect with this model of Toyota and the only fix was a new engine. Never got it fixed because who has that kind of money lying around, easier just to buy a few gallons of oil and top it off every couple weeks. Still a big pain and if you don't pay attention it could result in serious damage to the vehicle.

- Brian C., Salt Lake City, UT, US

problem #19

Mar 182016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 165,000 miles

This is when the burning oil started to be noticeable. It has MUCH progressed since then.

- mlbradley9, Vista, US

problem #18

Nov 252017

Prius LX 1.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

I love my car, but live in constant fear that my car will burn ALL the oil it has because several times it has been almost completely dry 2000 miles into my oil change. I finally figured out that it burns a quart every thousand miles, but many forums say that this is a problem that Toyota has had with the Brand and they have done nothing to fix it. I read that they may have fixed it after 2011, but that BS for the rest of us. The lucky ones are the ones whose problem started within the time frame of the warranty or within the 2 year window for the Lemon Law. As for the rest of us...we pray that we don't burn the engine up if one of the warning lights fails. All I can say is that I will never buy another Toyota.

- lisaalva, Kissimmee, US

problem #17

Oct 012017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 222,000 miles


uses a quart of oil every 1000 miles. There is nothing more to say.

- Kenneth G., Spokane, US

problem #16

Oct 062016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,080 miles

My car had performed perfectly for the first 100K miles. By 112K miles the oil was very low, no oil on the dip stick when I went in to have the oil change. Yet there was no low oil light or engine light to warn me. This was a complete surprise to me since that had never happened before and the usage had been at a normal rate up until then. I began looking for leaks, etc with no evidence of that. The next scheduled service it was again extremely low. I now know that I must add about a quart every 1000 miles to keep up with its demand. The dealer and other mechanics all tell me the only solution is a new engine. Some suggest a used or rebuilt one though they are still many thousands of dollars. This problem, they say, will only get worse, clogging the spark plugs and potentially having an incident of engine stalling or shutting totally down while driving. This is a safety issue that Toyota should be fixing. I paid $1500 for an extended warranty for the first 100K miles with no problems, and now, it seems, I am stuck with a true lemon! This car should be listed with the others that Toyota has acknowledged have engine defects because it has the same problem. I will never by another Toyota unless they warranty this issue. The word is getting out. They do not take care of their defect problems. So much for the very undeserved reputation of many Toyota models!

- peggycox, Grand Junction, US

problem #15

Jul 142017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles

This is the third time that the engine lights have advised us of a problem. I never thought to find out if my Prius had problems with the oil before. We service our vehicles regularly and have the oil changed every 3000 miles. Today, the oil was 2 1/2 quarts low and the oil was changed 3500 miles ago. My vehicle had the same thing happen twice before. I have asked the dealership if there was a leak the last time we were there. The individual said that there was no leak. Surprise....I guess we are burning through it, different type of problem but one that is equally disconcerting.

- Donna M., Patrick Springs, US

problem #14

Feb 012017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles


My car started doing stupid stuff like not going when I pressed the gas, doors not unlocking with fob, battery went dead, making a loud noise when it switched from electric motor to the engine and etc....

Not sure what I was doing or thinking, one morning after almost being run over as i pulled out and my car did not go, just stalled as the 18 wheeler was gaining on me, the car kicked in and started going and was able to move out of the way just in time! After getting to work and getting settled, reflecting on what had happened, I decided to check the transmission fluid so I went outside and opened the hood. I could not find a dipstick for the transmission and checked the oil instead. (I know now that the transmission is a closed unit) To my horror, no reading and the oil was cooked on! I called my dealer and told them to come pick it up and to bring oil with them, as I was getting ready to "accuse" them of not putting oil in it at the last oil change. He brought me a $10 quart of oil and took the car back over for service. He suggested that there was no issues and maybe we should put an additive in the oil to swell the seals. I said "NO" cause it should not be using oil at 145000 miles, its a Toyota! Its not leaking or i would see it! Its not smoking or anything that points to using it either. I am convinced that their machine needs to be fixed that puts the oil into the car.

This is the second time over the years that i had checked the oil and it had just been low at an earlier time, maybe sometime before I had hit 90,000-100,000 miles.

It came up time to change the oil again and my father was in the hospital off and on for 2 months and i could not release the car to them long enough to service it. One morning i was filling up with gas and decide to check the oil and again, there was not enough to reach the dipstick. I added oil, went and got my father and took him to his appointment and we went back by the dealership. They checked it and it was still low so he added more to give me time so I could get it back to him for the service. We agreed that I needed to keep a check on the oil level about every 1000-1200 miles. The service was done the next week and I started keeping a check on it.

To the best of my ability at reading the dipstick DOTS, i am using a quart about every 800-1000 miles.

- Connie H., Dublin, US

problem #13

Jan 272016

Prius 1.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

Car start eat a oil, 1 q. per week, so I've been very nice with my Prius. changed oil regularly so who's responsible for bad piston rings and how I can fix it, does it possible to use manufactory enhancement letter to resolve this issue?

- igorca, Carmichael, CA, US

problem #12

Jul 012016


  • CVT transmission
  • 124,000 miles

This car was trouble free for approximately 125,000 miles until sometime in early July when a Master Warning Light accompanied by an alarm beep began to occur occasionally. This was very quick and short but it began occurring more often. I noted that it generally occurred when it was coming to a stop at under 10MPH. Then it started occurring when in a shallow left turn at normal speed (25-50 Mph). I went to an Auto Zone store and asked if they could diagnose it. They did but found no alarm codes. I contacted Toyota at Lake Havasu City (60 miles away) and described the problem and that Auto Zone had found no codes memorized. They asked me to bring it to them.

I took it in at 8:00 AM on Monday 7/25/2016 (as near as I can remember), They found no codes either. They test drove it and saw the MWL(Master Warning Light) but no codes were posted. When they had made no contact after an hour I inquired as to why they had not told me what the codes indicated, Mike seemed to think I was rushing them and said I would have to bring it back when I could leave it for a whole day. I then drove it back to Bullhead City where my RV is parked..

On August 3 I was driving when the light came on and the engine began to knock and vibrate. I immediately pulled off beyond the shoulder and shut it down. When I pulled the dipstick I could see no oil. I was in the mountains with no cell phone signal so acquisition of towing service was difficult.

Several hours later the car was delivered to a repair service shop which diagnosed the repair as replacement of the long block. The cost for this was $3600.

I contacted Anderson Toyota in Lake Havasu City 8/4/2016 and they told me that Toyota would offer no help since I had generally serviced the vehicle myself and did not have receipts. This was not unexpected.

- rwpfulltimer, Livingston, TX, US

problem #11

Sep 072016


  • CVT transmission
  • 154,000 miles

So I brought the Prius with a lot of confidence. I was so happy to get it. I bought it with 70,000 miles and loved it . At about 130,000 miles I knew something was wrong and there was no oil . I called toyota and they said bring it in will fill it up. I did my own flush and changed oil. The next oil change was not till another 1500 miles. I took to toyota and they act like yea this cars burn 1 Qt per 1000 miles. I see everyone has the same problem, something should be done. This was the only problem I had with mine .

- Mike C., North Branford, US

problem #10

Oct 012016

Prius Touring

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles


Toyota has included dozens of other models with the exact same issue but excluded Prius which is nuts. The dealer said the only fix is to check oil and refill constantly (loses 1 quart every 1,000 miles) and bring in for an oil change every 3000 verses 5000. If I do not then only fix is a brand new engine. The really problem is that there is no warning light on the prius for low oil so not sure how long before I noticed the problem it was going on so how much damage has already been done:?

- alysonm, Tampa, FL, US

problem #9

Jan 012012


  • CVT transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I have owned more than 20 cars and trucks in my life. Many where old "junkers". The only one which had high oil usage was the a truck which had not been maintained well yet it still went over 200,000 miles and oil usage never went above 1 qt every 3,000 miles. My 2008 Prius has had oil and filter changes every 3,000 miles. It now has almost 150,000 miles and consumes about 1 qt of oil every 2,000 miles. There are no leaks anywhere so I conclude the oil is being burned (worn rings? worn valve guides? other?). I believe this is a latent design defect in the engine which Toyota should fix. I'm sure Toyota knows what the root cause is but will not share the info. Did they fix the issue on the next generation Prius?

- Mike M., Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA, US

problem #8

Feb 012016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

Slowly started to use oil between oil changes. Now at 160000 miles using 1/2 quart per 500 miles and noticed that the oil is dirty for the amount of time since change which in my opinion indicates blow by the rings. Also the fuel consumption has increased a few miles per gallon. Not happy as I wanted to put 500,000 miles on her.

- jonxjet, Hollister, MO, US

problem #7

Apr 012013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

My car is consuming oil. Told Toyota dealer about it 2-3 years ago several times and they kept saying just add oil. Now it is worse. I need to add oil every gas fill up. Not leaking or burning, but using oil! I have added 4 quarts since last oil change and only gone over approx 2200 miles.

Called Toyota customer service and they said covered under ZE7 oil consumption even though after October 31st because it is less than 10 years and less than 150,000 miles. I have the case #. Called the closest Toyota dealer which is still 60 miles away and they said Prius is not covered. But please have the customer service call him and he would work with them. Called back Toyota customer service and they just say that previous 2 people who took my case were wrong and they would talk to them.

Well looking at all the problems listed this appears to be same problem on the other Toyota cars covered under the class action suit.

So what do I do about my Prius which is guzzling oil. Not leaking or burning it.

- kawvail, Vail, CO, US

problem #6

May 212016

Prius LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

At around 130,000 miles, my 2008 Prius started burning excessive oil. I was told by the dealer that short of replacing the engine, I need to have my oil checked every 1,000 miles. I got a second opinion from a respected mechanic, and he agreed. The mechanic started putting in a heavier weight oil and an oil additive, which thickened the oil, slightly decreasing oil consumption. Every 1,000 miles they've needed to add 1/2-1 quart of oil. This last check was at around 1,800 miles, and they needed to add a quart and a half. The only way to fix the problem is to replace the engine, which will cost close to $4,000.

- ikremer, Camarillo, CA, US

problem #5

Jan 012015

Prius ES 1.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

As much as I have been a supporter of Toyota vehicles and currently own two of them, I think an investigation should happen with how they are handling the oil consumption issue with the older Prius'. Toyota had the same issue with Camry and Corolla and Toyota took the responsibility and finally put new motors in those vehicles that were impacted by this issue. However, the Prius is having the same issue and Toyota is saying they have not had enough complaints to take this responsibility. Is that because I was a female trying to address this issue on my own? Is it because more females purchase Prius'? My neighbor has an older Camry than my 2008 Prius and he had no issue with getting his motor replaced. My local dealership, Toyota of Scranton, has tried to help with corporate Toyota to no avail but said they would help however they can as they know this is an issue. If you look on Priuschat.com, the issue is plastered all over but Toyota is still not taking responsibility. Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated.

- Jeanie P., Lake Ariel, PA, US

problem #4

Jan 112016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,500 miles

Prius 2008


At 86,885 miles, master warning light comes on when making sharp turns or when braking abruptly. Found engine oil low. Advised to check every 3000 miles.


At 91,500 miles, master warning light comes on again when making sharp turns or when braking abruptly. Had it checked and found engine oil very low. Shop performed oil consumption test and will check again after 1200 miles.

- Shyhhan T., Kensington, US

problem #3

Apr 162015

Prius 1.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 195,000 miles

Even though the car is old it burns a quart of oil every 600 to 1000 miles. It's recommended to check the oil frequently to avoid engine damage. This car has been buying oil since 60k miles. But gets worse every year. My mitsubishi has 240k miles and burns the same and runs better. It just goes to show you most cars burn oil faster these days. Did I mention the engine clicks like crazy at times? I still love it and will keep it till the engine blows. I use 10w40 here in California and sometimes use 20w50 but dose not seem to help much. I'm just going to stick to 10w40 till the engine is bad then use 20w50 till she blows. Good luck guys hope this helps. Still a good car though not bad.

- Adam R., LA puente, US

problem #2

Feb 162015

Prius 4 Cy

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

I bought my Toyota Prius brand new in 2008. Recently, my master warning light would flash on then back off, frequently. I called Toyota Service first to see if I should be concerned. I was told it could possibly just be the cold. I week went by, the light flashed on several more times. I finally decided I needed this car looked at. I was told I was down to a qt of oil, and oil is possible leaking into the engine. They did an oil change and told me to come back in 1200 miles so they could check the level. I asked if this was normal. The reply was "well you do have 122,000 miles on it. That is a lot". The service adviser then went on to tell me he knew someone with a Rav 4 who had to put a quart of oil in twice a week! I have had no other problems with my Toyota Prius and felt confident I would get much more mileage out of it than that! I had my Honda Accord for 10 years/200,000 miles.

Don't think I will buy another Toyota. If it weren't for this problem, I would have gladly traded it in for a new model Prius. Love the gas mileage! I don't feel it's right that Toyota isn't doing anything for owners, especially when it's their fault! They are not addressing the issue and listening to their customers.

Update from Apr 24, 2015: the remedy they gave me was to come in for an oil change every 3,000 mi. instead of every 5,000 mi.

Some remedy!

- Kimberly M., Pawling, NY, US

problem #1

Nov 102014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

At 126,000 milies the engine light on our 2008 Toyota Prius came on indicating that the car needed attention immediately. There was almost no oil left in the engine despite the fact that we faithfully and consistently follow the maintenance plan.

When we took the car into the local dealership the service manager said that this was common and normal with the cars and that we just needed to add oil. They added oil and asked us to come back in 1200 miles so that they could measure the consumption. We followed their instructions and brought the car back as scheduled. The technician stated that the oil was down 1/2 quart of after 1000 miles. At this rate if we waited until the scheduled 5000 mile oil change we would be down 2 1/2 quarts of oil.

We scoured the owner's manual and found nothing in the literature that stated that increased oil consumption was normal, any bulletin or written communication, nor did any Toyota representative explain that this was commonplace for their cars.

After owning our 1996 Honda Accord for 18 years without any problems like this, we are so disappointed as what we thought was a reliable car is having this major problem after only 6 1/2 years of ownership. We like to take care of our cars and keep them a long time, but it does not look like it's meant to be with this one.

I will not buy another Toyota!!! Buyers beware!!!

- Diane S., La Quinta, CA, US

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