really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
61,338 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.

2009 Toyota Prius electrical problems

electrical problem

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2009 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #29

Jan 032017


  • 152,000 miles


I have contacted Toyota concerning the failure of a combination meter in my daughter's 2007 Prius. This happened on startup. This item is related to the display screen. As mentioned in their warranty policy bulletin no: Pol 12-05 dated 10/12/12 a failure can result in the screen going dark. If this happens in the night this can result in a serious safety issue both because of the unexpected and immediate distraction and the loss of critical visual information. Their warranty bulletin does not seem to address the seriousness of the matter. It is my opinion that this item should be an immediate recall. My 2009 Prius is one of those mentioned in their bulletin. Though I have not experienced any failure, I became aware of this issue with the recent event that my daughter experienced. Neither I nor my daughter has received any notification from Toyota. I am a fan of the Prius as is my daughter, but this issue is too serious to simply ignore. It is my hope that this will be addressed with Toyota.

- Dolores, CO, USA

problem #28

Aug 012016


  • 120,000 miles
Multifunction display functions intermittently. Originally, problem only appeared in conjunction with combination meter failure during cold weather starts. Combination meter has been replaced by Toyota per their extended warranty but multifunction display problem persists. On cold starts in the morning the unit does not function. Later in the day, after sitting in the sun for a while, the unit will occasionally start to work but might go on/off and reset itself while driving. All navigation memory is still there, including ac settings but phone settings are wiped out. This multifunction display is the primary control for ac and heater, navigation system, telephone/bluetooth, audio, diagnostics/maintenance, etc. Toyota has informed me that the unit is defective and needs to be sent to the manufacturer (fujitsu) for repair. This appears to be a well documented problem with this unit on gen 2 priuses 2004-2009. There should be an extended warranty on this piece of equipment just like the extended warranty on the combination meter.

- San Gabriel, CA, USA

problem #27

Jan 012016


  • miles
Headlights go off without warning, sometimes left, sometimes right, sometimes both. Inconsistent and notice only at night. Can't fix and can't find solution. Headlights don't need to be replaced - there is something wrong with car wiring or other. I've had this car since 2009 and only had problem last six months or so - probably starting 1/2016. Car has approx. 65K miles on it. Very unsafe - especially at night in city when I can't follow another car and I can't tell if my headlights are on or not!

- Woodinville, WA, USA

problem #26

Oct 072014


  • 80,000 miles


The contact owned a 2009 Toyota Prius. While driving 30 mph, the rear passenger side of the vehicle caught fire. There were no injuries. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to the impound lot. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 80,000. The VIN was not available.

- North Augusta, SC, USA

problem #25

Sep 252015


  • 108,331 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Prius. When the ignition switch was turned to the on position, the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver without warning. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the electronic power steering ECU failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 108,331.

- San Gabriel, CA, USA

problem #24

Sep 252015


  • 128,000 miles
Steering in my 2009 Prius completed failed and locked up. I literally was unable to steer my car. Luckily, I was on a neighborhoor street about to turn into my driveway and was not driving at high speeds or in a turn lane. I cannot believe that an electronic steering component like this can faili" how is this possible" I want to ensure that this doesn't happen to other Prius drivers and ensure that this isn't a faulty part issue. It is a public safetly issue and that there needs to be some sort of back up steering mechisim to prevent this from happening in the event that there is a "short inside the power steering electronic control unit. I shutter to think what could of happened.

- Pleasant Hill, CA, USA

problem #23

Sep 032015


  • 160,400 miles


The ballasts for the hid lights in the 2009 Prius are famously unreliable. Mine demonstrated this last evening in a very unnerving way. The headlamps would simply turn off without warning, sometimes one, and many times, both, leaving me to the mercy of street lights! this is incredibly dangerous. I checked on it and found that this happens to hundreds of Prius drivers. Isn't Toyota concerned that its $1,200 charge for fixing its own defective equipment (for the ballasts are known for this) will lead to death of poor persons who cannot afford the fix" shouldn't there be a general recall for such a consumer-safety issue" (sure, cycling the lights turns them back on, but when you are driving in the dark, it isn't easy to think well.)

- Arkadelphia, AR, USA

problem #22

Jan 052015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 115,276 miles
When my 2009 Toyota Prius goes over 65 mph the problem light flashes on the display and the the engine oil light illuminates as well.

- Stone Mountain, GA, USA

problem #21

Feb 132015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 5,102 miles
This car has had 3 new batteries and it has just over 5,000 miles. Today aaa jumped the car and I drove for over an hour to charge up the battery, then I went grocery shopping, came out and the car wouldn't start. Called aaa they came out and started my car and came home. Got up to take it into the dealership and it won't start. The test he ran on the battery I was told the battery is ok, there is something wrong in the electrical system. The electrical monitor on the dashboard does not show me how many miles per hour I have been driving. The blue line go up making me think the battery is charged, but when I stop I cannot restart the car. I cannot afford to keep taking my car into Toyota to get it fixed. The dealership is Toyota temecula valley on ynez rd, also called toyota4U.com. Maybe it is the power button, not connecting to the electrical. Last time the service rep yelled at me that it was my fault for not take the car out every day and driving it on the freeway, and I was so embarrassed I said just put another battery in it. I have always had Cadillac before this, but I felt Toyota was a reliable car, and my neighbor like them.

- Murrieta, CA, USA

problem #20

Oct 082014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 122,000 miles
Driving on a dark road I went from high beams to low and the entire lighting system went out. I was quick so cycled the headlight switch, everything came back on but the passenger headlight. Tried replacing the light bulb, it still wont work. I paid extra for these H I D headlights. Now I'm told 1000 dollars to fix them.

- Lakehughes, CA, USA

problem #19

Dec 312012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 59,000 miles


I had just purchased my 2009 Toyota Prius the evening of Friday December 28th 2012 and had only driven that weekend. Then on the 31st I noticed when I was pulling into a gas station I had only one headlight working... didn't think to much about it. Then when I was leaving noticed that both lights were on working. A few hours later I noticed a flicker like a light was going out. Noticed again passenger headlight was going out.. I had the car back at the shop over a battery issue on January 2nd as my battery had suddenly died. When I took it up to Toyota I mentioned the headlight was told oh nothing they can see. Then months later it continued. Then again every now and then.. I would flip the lights on and off and sometimes it wouldn't do it again for months... then in Sept 2013 it started to do it on both sides. Again contacted Toyota nothing. Then my teenager daughter had the car and called me hysterical saying no headlights were on. She had just gotten her license days prior. Her first outing without me. Then again battery issue went back to Toyota was told not a clue. Now reading the info I've come across with 2001-2009 Prius headlight issues I'm pissed that Toyota is aware of this and lied and said theyhad not heard of such a thing. Now October 2014 I am no longer able to drive the car in the rain or at night. As I now have no headlights. I find this a major safety issue and considering how many people have stated this and the fact someone can be killed or injured seriously as one overlooks I think is a major serious issue and concern. I am not paying to have headlights replaced or electrical issues as this is something that needs to be recalled and fixed by Toyota.

- Florissant, MO, USA

problem #18

Aug 152014


  • 80,000 miles
My 2009 Prius has a non-navigation mulit-function display that controls everything from sound to temperature to hands free phone. Plus, it functions as the rearview camera display. In August of 2014 at about 80,000 miles the screen began to turn off spontaneously while driving (if it turned on at all.) I have read many reports of this happening to the 2009 models. I am concerned most about the rear view screen because this model of Prius has large blindspots and I relied heavily on this screen.

- Rockford, IL, USA

problem #17

Aug 292014


  • 102,000 miles
The rubber cover to the outside truck latch has melted completely in hot Florida weather and has become gooey to the point of dripping onto my license plate. The truck is very difficult to open and sometimes I am unable to lock or open the car because the trunk is not all the way closed. This is a safety issue because if I needed to get into the trunk to get a spare tire I may not be able to. Given many other reports of this issue dating back to 2007 models, Toyota should stop using this type of component and should recall this item and fix it with a different material so this does not keep happening. I am also concerned the exposed latch will cause electrical damage to the trunk or lighting because of severe rain that often occurs in Florida where this problem seems prevalent.

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #16

Aug 192014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 89,761 miles
There has been no injuries or vehicle damage. I left off total repair cost because the repair shop has not finished solving the problem. In 2013 I started have having headlight problems and have it about three months since. I have replaced the headlight bulbs several times on both sides. One time the headlights would operate opposite( one side would be high beam only and the other would be low beam only and when switching the switch inside to high beam the headlights would switch as to what they did only. On wed 8/20/14 the low beam quit working. I earlier purchased a new plug and 2 new bulbs in case I had a problem. I took the car to an independent repair shop( my only Toyota dealer in my town can not be trusted) where I live. He installed the new plug and we tried each of the two new bulbs and they exhibited the same problem - the low beam was just a spec of light; not enough for the low beam. He tested the voltage in the ground side of the plug and the fuse position in the fuse assembly and it lit up his voltage tester with a spec of light. He had no idea what system sent the voltage to the low beam side for the passenger side headlight. I am taking the car back on wed 8/27/14 to finish the job.

- Wichita Falls, TX, USA

problem #15

Apr 182014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 130,101 miles
On multiple occasions prior to the most recent incident date listed, the previously mentioned 2009 Toyota Prius has had intermittent complete or partial headlight failure. On multiple occasions that seem to be random in nature either the drivers side or passenger side headlight will fail individual while the counterpart (opposite headlight) will continue to operate. Also, as random as one individual headlight failing both headlights have gone out or failed simultaneously. The operator has been able to rectify the immediate hazard by simply turning the main activation switch for the headlight from "on" to "off" and then to "on" again. This procedure will, on most occasions temporarily rectify the immediate hazard but the intermittent failure has and will continue. Operator conducted research on the issue and discovered this is a common problem the 2005-2009 Toyota Prius is displaying. Toyota corporate was contacted by the operator and stated that a customer care initiative was directed to all Toyota service departments to reduce the cost of replacement bulbs. However, what is unique about this situation is a headlamp hid bulb on the drivers side was replaced approximately one year ago and is the more frequent headlamp failure occurring. This seems to invalidate the remedy that Toyota corporate has devised which is to replace the bulbs.

- Adrian, MN, USA

problem #14

Aug 012013


  • 49,300 miles
The back door/hatch switch rubber is melting/very sticky. The problem was first reported in the 2007 Prius and other model Toyota models. I expect that this switch will become defective and it is the only means to enter the hatch area of the Prius.the hatch area is the location of the spare tire, flares and other safety products carried in the automobile. This is a very common problem of Toyota models and is definitely a factory defective part.

- Amherst, VA, USA

problem #13

Feb 252013


  • 26,500 miles
When I turned on the car, the headlights would not turn on. Both lights had been fully operational the day before. Both high and low beams on both sides did not work, so it is definitely not the case that four separate bulbs or fuses all blew independently. I tried turning the headlight switch on and off several times, but this did not correct the problem. The fog lights do illuminate, but that is not enough illumination for safe driving in my area.

- Arlington, MA, USA

problem #12

Jan 302013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
The headlights have been going out randomly for the last few months but only one at a time. This evening while driving home from a late meeting, both headlights went out while driving at 55mph. I pulled off the highway and tried turning the car off and on again. Headlights went on when I turned the car back on, so I resumed driving only to have the lights go out again! this time I flicked on the high beams and the lights came on. I stopped to grab a bite to eat figuring I could do the high beam trick again. When I started the car, the lights went on and high beams turned on when I engaged the lever. While driving home, less than 2 miles from where I started the car, headlights went out and the high beams did not work either when I attempted to turn them on. I pulled over to turn the car off and on again but with no luck this time. Very slowly drove the last mile home on the less traveled road with my flashers on...this situation is incredibly dangerous.

- Rehoboth Beach, DE, USA

problem #11

Aug 312012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
The vehicle stalled out while I was driving, four times in about a mile - including once on a very busy road with no shoulder. The electrical error board lit up, the transmission reverted to neutral or park and I could not put the car back into drive. After I turned the car off, and then turned it back on, it went into drive but only for a short while before lights started flashing and it stalled again.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #10

Nov 212011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 23,687 miles
I was gliding into a commercial parking space with my foot off the accelerator in the second before I moved my foot onto the brake. Suddenly, the accelerator pushed down by itself, the car surged forward towards the truck in the space in front of mine. I slammed on the brake. End of incident. No mat was in the way. I had taken part in the recall.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

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