really awful
Crashes / Fires:
23 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
13 / 0
Average Mileage:
18,341 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2009 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #62

Oct 082016


  • 174,000 miles


Driver went to park and the brakes did not respond! in fact the vehicle went from 2-5mph to approx 30+ & kept picking up speed and went into storefront. Driver was able to wrestle vehicle into reverse and it went equally fast back into a parked car where it finally came to a stop. Hugely frightening and potentially lethal.

- Santa Barbara, CA, USA

problem #61

Feb 112015


  • miles
2009 Toyota Prius. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle acceleration issues. The consumer stated the vehicle was inspected on May 10, 2010. On February 11, 2010, the consumers wife was approaching a small business in a parking lot. She was almost at a dead stop, when the vehicle suddenly went a rapid acceleration mode, jumped a curbed and sidewalk, and hit a brick wall of a business building. There was severe damage to the vehicle as well as to the brick wall of the building. The air bag did not deploy.

- Eagle, ID, USA

problem #60

Jan 282015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Toyota Prius 2009 headlights were on and off finally the left side went off totally. The seal outside the headlight didn't prevent of water came into the system and damaged it. Also while driving the car accelerated and decelerated by itself. And while stopping the car jump.

- Campbell, CA, USA

problem #59

May 312013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


A year ago, upon taking off from a stop my car began to stall. I drive two blocks it continues to putt along and stall, then after less than a mile it starts to run as normal. I take my car in to be told it is out of gas, which it did not indicate low fuel, it had over a quarter of a tank. I insist they continue to check my car over days of them driving it, after a week they experience something similar and replace my junction box. Since then I've replace the water pump, taken my car in for a steering recall. Also, there are instances where my car upon take off stalls, but nothing severe, just something you feel when accelerating. Recently, 6/5/14, I experienced the same issue, but this time I immediately put gas into my car even though my indicator panel shows I have fuel. Only this time I start my car and the air conditioner is not working and it continues to stall, after turning my car on and off several times and driving a few blocks the ac cuts on and my car begins to run fine. I have been told by Toyota that bc there is no indicator light and it's running fine there is nothing they can do. There was a recent recall in February of 2014 with similar issues I am experiencing but my car was not apart of the recall. Not sure what else I can do. Numerous Toyota dealerships have been of no help and I fear that my safety is at risk.

- Kemah, TX, USA

problem #58

Mar 262014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
Driver intentionally accelerated to avoid collision, then Prius unintentionally accelerated after impact with the other vehicle, crossing the median and crossing the opposite direction street lanes then up on to the sidewalk and hit the concrete bridge rail and finally stopped. Have contacted Toyota, they want up to a month to pull the crash data from the car. I asked if they could pull the data in a week, they said up to 30 days the car will have to sit at the dealership. A month is unreasonable to go without a car. They refused to send the investigator to pull the data at the body shop, said it must be done at the dealership. I gave them the name & address of the body shop.

- Round Rock, TX, USA

problem #57

Sep 102013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 81,000 miles
My wife and I were driving down a residential street approaching a stop sign. There were two cars stopped at the sign. Several hundred feet from the stop, I took my foot off the accelerator. The car did not slow down. I stepped on the brake. The car did not slow down. I stood on the brake as hard as I could. The car did not slow down. I said to my understandably alarmed wife, we're not stopping. And we didn't until we smashed into the back of a Tahoe stopped at the stop sign, doing major damage to the Prius that rendered it undriveable and perhaps totaled. My wife has a very sore back that I am hoping starts to feel better today or we will have to schedule a doctor's appointment.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #56

Jan 032013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 23,045 miles


I pulled my Toyota Prius into my driveway, stepped on the brake, opened the garage door and waited for my husband to get out of the car.  he opened the passenger side door and started to move his foot out the door but before he even got one foot out, the car surged ahead and ran into the garage, pretty much destroying all the storage units on the right side of the garage.  my husband thinks the car was going between 35 and 40 mph. Since my accident there have been two other incidents of Toyota accelerating independently in palo alto. One ran into a house on Park Avenue, destroying the front wall and front door of the house. A few days later, a Toyota ran over a curb, across a lawn and into a corner of a house on North California ave. Both of these incidents were reported to the police unfortunately, I cannot get the name and contact of the other two drivers because my name is not on the police reports.  my questions are these:  is there any legal way to get the information about these other 2 drivers" also, someone told me they thought there is a class action suit out against Toyota because of acceleration problems.  is there any way to find out about that" I am aware that this is probably just a problem I will have to deal with but I always try everything.

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #55

Jul 052012


  • 32,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Prius. The contact stated while the brakes were depressed the vehicle accelerated abnormally. The contact crashed into a post office building as a result. The contact sustained injuries to the head, shoulder, neck and back. The police were contacted and a report was taken. The vehicle was towed to a local repair shop. The manufacturer was contacted but the vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 32,000.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #54

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

problem #53

Jun 122010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 500 miles
I was driving my 6-month old 2009 Prius one summer day on a dry, paved, slightly downward incline when the following problem occurred. As I approached a traffic circle at about 5 mph and then applied the brakes, my car jumped forward for about a second and a gold light on the dash was briefly visible through my peripheral vision. Because I was familiar with anti-lock braking systems, I think that I kept my foot on the brake pedal, though I may have reflexively released it in my startle. At any rate the car stopped a few feet later. Thankfully there was no collision, largely due, I believe, to my habit of coasting to a stop when practical. However, this was a bit unnerving, and also since it was during the period of concern about Toyota Prius' unintended acceleration, I made a point of reporting it to my car dealer. I could not identify which dash light had flashed for a second. The dealer's response was that there was probably an uneven surface on the road that caused the problem. Sure enough, there had been both a shallow pothole and a bit of gravel where the stopping problem occurred. However, I take issue with Toyota's blaming road conditions for this problem when clearly the problem is that the car cannot respond appropriately even during very slow speeds. The problem hasn't recurred because I avoided the pothole afterward and never have to stop on a dime, pothole or no. I have had cars with anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and never encountered this problem with them. Therefore, imo Toyota needs to improve the ABS or the (then new) stability control feature on priuses, both of which my car has. In all of the hype about Toyota cars' sustained unintended acceleration, I do not remember that this other event that I have described was also being addressed. How come" where are NHTSA, nasa, and Toyota on this"

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #52

Dec 012010


  • 42,600 miles


I have a 2009 Prius base with 42K miles. After placing the vehicle in park and waiting in the vehicle, it suddenly lurched forward about 1 or 2 inches and with enough force to shatter a light post. This seems a dangerous flaw. It happens frequently; after speaking with a repair shop, I was told this is normal for a Prius and is part of the recharging design of the hybrid system. I was advised to use the parking brake whenever possible. This seems dangerous.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #51

Sep 172010


  • 9,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that when the vehicle stopped it suddenly accelerated. The contact attempted to apply the brakes but the vehicle would not slow down causing the vehicle to crash into a wall. The crash the air bags did not deploy and the contact suffered injuries to the neck, knee, and chest. The contact called the manufacturer regarding the crash and the manufacturer stated that they wanted to inspect the vehicle. The contact stated that the vehicle was unsafe and does not want it repaired. The failure mileage was 9,000.

- Los Angeles , CA, USA

problem #50

Sep 172010


  • 8,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the vehicle was at a complete stop when it suddenly accelerated. The vehicle crashed into the brick wall although the driver was attempting to apply the brakes. The driver experienced severe whiplash, swelling in her chest, bruising on her ribs and shoulder. The air bags did not deploy. A police report was filed. There was no mention of the vehicle being destroyed. A few months prior to the failure the dealer performed an complete vehicle inspection and dealer stated that there was nothing wrong it. The manufacturer was not notified. The current and failure mileages were approximately 8,000.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #49

Sep 102010

(reported on)

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
2009 Toyota Prius. Consumer states problem with brakes the consumer stated on four occasions, when he applied the brakes, the vehicle would continue to accelerate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer after the third incident. However, the dealer was unable to diagnose a problem.

- Saint Peters, MO, USA

problem #48

Apr 012010


  • 24,000 miles
Event: Incomplete brake feel, during slow and steady application of brakes on slick or rough road surfaces, when the anti-lock brake system (ABS) is activated in an effort to maintain tire traction. The system engages and disengages rapidly (many times per second) as the control system senses and reacts to the tire slippage. If the same brake force is applied under these conditions, in the worst case, this may lead to an increase of vehicle stopping distance and thus raise the possibility of a crash. Toyota says that the older priuses, like mine, use a different ABS system, and so are not subject to recall. But it seems like a similar issue. Failure: Whenever there is a slick, wet road. Correction: I checked with the dealer, all systems were checked safe, tires' psi were adjusted, it was felt that there was some tire noise. Incident continues intermittently.

- Fairview Park, OH, USA

problem #47

Apr 292010


  • 20,001 miles
The contact owned a 2009 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while attempting to park, the vehicle abnormally accelerated at a rapid rate of speed. The contact was unable to stop the vehicle and crashed into a brick wall. The contact was uninjured. A police report was available. The vehicle was repaired by the dealer however, the contact did not feel safe driving the vehicle and traded the vehicle for another. She stated she had experienced numerous unintended acceleration incidents prior to the crash. The contact called the manufacturer who inspected the vehicle but offered no further assistance. The failure mileage was 20,001 and the current mileage was approximately 20,045.

- Princeton, KY, USA

problem #46

Dec 202009


  • 12,000 miles
When at a complete stop at a stop light our 2009 Prius tried to accelerate on its own and my husband had to stand on the brakes to keep it from moving forward. Toyota was able to get info off their black box showing both the accelerator and brakes were applied at the same time. We keep hoping they are researching this problem but their call this week (after reporting this about 90 days ago and 2 black box downloads at the dealership) says it was driver error since they couldn't duplicate it and their engineers say it is within normal operating range. Toyota rep "L" says Toyota is not releasing how many unintentional acceleration issues they have had since it is proprietary information and that they will not discuss other trends or cases they are not looking for trends between reports only downloading each individual car's info not looking at what is written in the complaint. She says Toyota and your government can't find anything which means it must be safe. Safe" we have not let our kids ride in this car for over 6 months as we hoped a solution would come up from Toyota but now we just really need info to know what is really going on with these vehicles and how many accidents there really are. The Toyota rep on the phone says they have never duplicated a customer concern and that ours is unusual because people usually report right away and after an accident. I had asked how busy they are since it took so loooong to respond and she stated she takes about 2-5 calls a day, but previously had been taking 10-15 per day and there are about 40 people in her position. How many issues are there and is this a big deal about nothing or a big coverup" we just want to make a good decision for our family please help!

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #45

Jun 212010


  • 30,000 miles
I was involved in 2 identical accidents over the past 6 months with the same car, a 2009 Toyota Prius. In December '09 I was making a right turn to pull into a parking spot. I was completely in the spot and went to come to a full stop when my 2009 Toyota Prius suddenly accelerated and crashed into a car. Then again on June 21, 2010, I was making a right turn into a parking spot and the same car suddenly accelerated as I went to come to a full stop in the parking spot. This time the car jumped the curb and went through a chain link fence. Both times I was making a right turn into the spot, both times I was braking and both times the car accelerated as I went to come to a full stop. The Dec '09 accident was reported to the police, the June'10 accident was not.

- Blue Point, NY, USA

problem #44

Aug 312009

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
Two unaccounted acceleration single vehicle accidents with 2009 Toyota Prius. After accident of April 30, 2010 per my request, vehicle was inspected by a consultant from Toyota.[May 26, 2010]. Toyota is saying car is safe. Car was returned to me on May 28, 2010. First accident occurred August, 31, 2009. Both accidents occurred under similar circumstances; driving at slow acceleration while making a right turn. Accident #1 turning a corner, accident #2 pulling into a parking slot in a parking lot. Both times engine revved and car lurched forward. In first accident car crashed into a tree, in second accident car ran over a landscaping boulder which stopped it from crashing into the street. The boulder was stuck under the middle of the car. Two wheels on each side of it and front wheels were off of the ground. The front wheels were still turning after I got out of the car. I got back in the car and turned off the engine. I am requesting Toyota replace this vehicle with a like value vehicle. I have pictures taken at the time of the accident of April 30, 2010 and detailed explanations of both accidents. Damages from both accidents was approximately 20,000 dollars. My insurance company found me at fault for the accident of August 31, 2009 because all of the car's warning lights came on and I glanced at the dash. The insurance company has found me not at fault for the accident of April 30, 2010. I received a recall notice from Toyota after the accident of April 30th. However, I was told that this had nothing to do with the accidents. My car has had a number of unusual issues since its purchase. This is documented with Toyota service. This car was purchased new and has 11,000 miles on it. Updated IVOQ 09/08/10

- Pleasanton, CA, USA

problem #43

Apr 122010


  • 20,000 miles
2009 Toyota Prius - unintended acceleration. On this vehicle, uncontrolled acceleration can be reproduced at will. I called Toyota and they are treating it as yet another crank call, service manager advised to remove floor mat and bring in later in week. I would hate to see it swept under the carpet like other recent complaints.

- Lexington, MA, USA

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