pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
133,400 miles
Total Complaints:
7 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (7 reports)
2009 Toyota Prius engine problems

engine problem

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2009 Toyota Prius Owner Comments

problem #7

Apr 182018

Prius 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 157,000 miles


While driving to work late spring of 2018. Engine light flipped on, with exclamation. Part way through 20 mile comute, highway speeds. It turned itself off, then flipped on/off again toward end of drive. Parked at office, and called local Toyota Service. They told me to check oil (have never ever had low oil in this car). I checked oil, was not registering on dipstick. Called husband to bring oil, since it was SO low. Figured one time was a fluke, maybe poor oil change. Next oil change was April 27, 2018. On July 30, 2018 the engine light came on again during commute. Now it is a trend, not a fluke. Stopped for oil. black oil at end of dipstick. Very low. Required 2 quarts. Oil change at Toyota on August 2, 2018. Told them about Oil, please check. They did a multi point inspection (basically a simple check list), and said there are no leaks. They said come in more often, at 3000 miles instead of 5000 miles for an oil change. There was no note of putting it on a code reader, or any other analysis. After this I did some checking on line and found this is a somewhat common problem, not sure what my next steps are. I bought a Prius because of the good mileage, low carbon footprint. Extra oil requirements increase the carbon footprint. Plus, this indicates an engine problem that will decrease my ability to keep this car for many years which was my plan.

- Michelle E., Spokane, US

problem #6

Jan 232018

Prius LX Hybrid

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,700 miles

I had a bad experience today at my oil change for my 2009 Toyota Prius with 100,700 miles on it. I get it changed every 3,000 miles pretty religiously. Today they said they were only able to drain a little over a quart of oil and after they filled it up the oil still looked dark.

There is no sign of an oil leak so I Googled 2009 Toyota Prius burning oil and came up with a bunch of forums complaining about the Prius burning oil and Toyota's lack of response to the issue. My understanding from reading other forums is that the piston/piston ring design is flawed and doesn't hold up resulting in oil getting into the combustion chamber. In addition, to using a lot of oil this problem will ruin the catalytic converter. I'm not sure if the car will pass my state's emission requirements the next time it is tested. It is also my understanding that this issue affects many other Toyota models.

I'm quite angry about it. I have contacted a local dealer to get their approach to helping me resolve the issue but I am not optimistic. I see that there may be a class action lawsuit and I will consider joining.

- Jerry C., Boulder, CO, US

problem #5

Nov 012016


  • CVT transmission
  • 130,000 miles

car started using way more oil than normal. No leaks noticeable. Certified Toyota dealer tells me to replace entire enginee.

Update from Aug 25, 2017: light constantly on now beginning a few weeks after each oil change (and fill). took a while to realize the light was connected to low oil because manual tells you to ask the servicer what the light means and I don't have my own diagnostic tools.

- Nancy B., Sierra Vista, AZ, US

problem #4

Apr 132016

Prius 4 1.5L W/Vvti Engine

  • CVT transmission
  • 126,000 miles


Car ran different and I checked oil .3/4 qt low. Purchased 5-30 penzoil & topped off. 1600 mile trip. Back home added 2nd qt penzoil. Took to dealer and had a $295 diagnosis. Took 3 days. Diagnosis was wet and dry compression check showed uniform across cylinders. Toyota conclusion was crud in all cylinder rings caused by not enough high rpms in hybrid engine.

Hybrid system makes it hard for prolonged revs to occur..?. Seems to Toyota that rings being gunked up were stuck to the piston grooves and not allowed to expand against cylinder walls and seal so as to keep oil from burning through combustion. Toyota suggested fix is oil additives and a fuel cleaner product. Toyota says it may take a year of additives to clear up the rings and stop oil burn. Currently burns 1 qt in 800 miles.

My wife had a friend whose Prius froze in traffic and stopped the car. Now she is afraid of the same seizing issue in traffic. Won't ride in it and I am afraid of liability if I sell it. Who is going to buy a car with a quart per 800 mile drinking habit??? Engine repair costs were vague and manager said off the top of his head that costs could be upwards of $3,000 just for ring and piston replacement. I estimate the car is worth the parting out value.

- Ralph S., Dixon, CA, US

problem #3

Jan 012015

Prius 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

NO OIL LEAKS. I've done tests and so has two Toyota Dealerships. 1qt/1K burned. Then, catalytic converter went bad. Toyota plays dumb and says I'm the first case they have ever seen. BS. A simple Google search shows otherwise.

I have not found the core reason. PCV, rings, valves, I don't know. I haven't found one person on the internet that says they found a problem solve, i.e. replace engine, change PCV or whatever.

- pboland, Raleigh, NC, US

problem #2

Feb 122016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

This is the second major issue I have had with my 2009 Prius in less than two years. I'm very angry and upset with Toyota. The first one was traumatizing, I couldn't brake at all! This time, I was driving my son to school one day and the yellow triangular warning light came on and shut off as I was stopping at a red light. I immediately took the car to the dealership.

The next day, the dealership doesn't even bother to call me, but my husband calls and they tell him that the problem with my car was that the engine had excessive oil consumption. It was not due for an oil change for another 600 miles and I've ALWAYS taken it to the dealership for oil changes. They told him they would call Toyota to see if there are any recalls on this issue. I always take my Prius to the Toyota dealership for maintenance and not even a year ago, I had an additional cleaning done to help with my gas mileage. This is not what I expected from Toyota. My family and my husband's all have Toyota's, but I'm the only one with a Prius and have had the worst experience so far....

- jamieo, Dallas, TX, US

problem #1

May 082015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Had the dealership look at it. It's a local car. The service guy admitted it was burning oil. I said what can we do about it. he said he would look into it. A month passed never heard back. I called back and he said it wasn't covered after he had admitted the problem. It's happened three times. I can't be the only guy with this issue.

- rmortensen, Johnston, IA, US

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