really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
55,130 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2009 Toyota Prius Owner Comments

problem #10

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 #9

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 #8

Nov 112014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 68,440 miles
While inching slowly into a parking spot, vehicle suddenly accelerated at full speed to jump over the parking barrier. Wheels were turned slightly to right, so car veered right and stopped as it high-centered on the barrier, just behind front wheels. No injuries- driver & child in back were buckled. Witnessed by many pedestrians who ran to assist. One witness said the same thing happened in her Prius, but Toyota was useless to help. In months since the incident, Toyota has been terrible at responding in any helpful way. The black box recorder shows nothing, of course, since it was a slow impact without airbag deploy. Most interestingly, the NHTSA has no info of this incident, which I'm reporting today only because I noticed in the owner manual on rear page, small print, some info about reporting safety defects for U.S. owners... but at least 20 Toyota personnel, insurance adjustors, repair facilities and sales team members never said anything about such a report. Hence my assumption that most of these incidents are not reported to gov't unless fatalities occur.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #7

Dec 122013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 110,000 miles


As I was driving my 2009 Toyota Prius on the service road of I-30 in dallas around 25 mph after previously taking off from a red light, my vehicle's warning lights all turned on and started to beep and I could not brake or really steer. My vehicle...I almost hit the vehicle in front of me. Somehow I was able to turn right into a parking lot and somehow press on the brakes strong in enough to make the car stop. I feared for safety and the safety others as well. It was a very scary situation to be in a car that was not responding when you are trying to break and there's nothing you can do about it. Once I was in the parking lot, I turned the vehicle on and off and the lights were still on and beeping, did it again and it stopped. I took the car to the Toyota dealership and they are telling me it's an issue with the accelerator and brake system and that I have to pay to have it fixed, but I am wondering how can Toyota not be at fault for this safety issue? I'm glad I didn't injure myself or another person this time, but I think Toyota really needs to look into this issue with their Prius vehicles. I do not feel safe driving mine at all now.....they can not get away with not being responsible and liable for their faulty and defective vehicle's safety mechanisms.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #6

Mar 042013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 81,000 miles
In an attempt to avoid oncoming calves on a county dirt road driver inadvertantly pulled steering wheel to the right and hit a tree at road side. Tree is twelve inched from road surface. Before seat belt restrained driver, driver's forward momentum broke the steering wheel. Driver was not injured. Went to local hospital er. Sheriff investigated. With the extensive damage to the front end of the vehicle the air bag should have deployed. It did not. Photos taken. Your organization is being notified as we feel the air bag should have deployed. We will also contact Toyota. Thank you. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Clarksville, AR, USA

problem #5

Apr 292011


  • 44,627 miles
While driving my 2009 Toyota Prius I hit a curb and then lost all steering. Steering wheel turned completely 360 degrees without turning the wheels. We were about to drive on a mountain road with numerous turns and steep grades. I had the car towed to a Toyota dealer who replaced the intermediate shaft and spiral cable sub assembly. I was researching the issue and found that Toyota had a recall for this exact item in 2004,2005, and 2006. It seems that 2009 still has the problem. If I was travelling at any higher speed and lost all steering it would have been deadly.

- Simi Valley, CA, USA

problem #4

Mar 142010


  • 2,900 miles


2009 Prius - on two occasion recently when I went to make a right turn my steering froze and the engine died. I almost hit a car. I have had it into piercy Toyota on two occasion and they still have not found anything. I am afraid to drive the car. It only ha 3000 miles on it. They have been nice, but no results. If the car is doing this now and they cannot find it what happens next. Not satisfied with there answer. I need your help.

- Milpitas, CA, USA

problem #3

Sep 012009


  • 300 miles
I have the exact same problem with my 2009 Prius as described below. I have had it into the dealer 3 times and have gotten no satisfaction. I have had 4 friends with Prius cars drive mine and they all agree that my car's steering is bad. www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?F=/N/A/2010/02/17/financial/F012558S46.dtl smaller, less-expensive vehicles such as the 2009 and 2010 corolla use electric-assist power steering. They are usually equipped with power steering systems that are aided by a small electric motor, a system known as electric-assist steering. The motor essentially helps align the steering wheel with the movement of the tires. The system is cheaper to install than steering systems that rely on hydraulics. Problems can arise if the motor is out of sync with the steering wheel, which could potentially cause the vehicle to wander without any turning of the wheel, he said. "car companies work on it a lot, " said jim de clerck, a professor in the Michigan technological university's mechanical engineering department and a former General Motors engineer. "it is a pretty well-known customer-satisfaction issue."

- Livermore, CA, USA

problem #2

Jul 312009


  • 6,700 miles
In addition to the traction control, ABS, gas pedal/floor mat problems with the Toyota Prius there is also a safety issue with the power button. In an emergency situation, like the door coming open, throttle getting stuck, etc. You can't power off the vehicle quickly. You must hold the power button for some amount of time before the car will shut off. Unlike the Toyota Camry example where they suggested turning off the ignition, you can't do that on the Prius. You also can't remove the key/fob to turn the vehicle off or power it off. There is also an extreme under steer problem with the vehicle which is a safety concern. In wet conditions it is exacerbated. It can be observed on clover leaf overpasses and general cornering.

- The Woodlands, TX, USA

problem #1

Jan 182009


  • 1,000 miles
We own a 2009 Toyota Prius and we're experiencing problems with the Prius's steering while operating the car over 60 mph. The car wants to shifts from side to side. We are continuously moving the wheel, attempting to steer the car straight. During any cross winds the problem is worst. We contacted the local dealer and Toyota's customer service rep and both indicated, "the car is working as designed." Investigating my car problem on the internet, I discovered priuschat.com. There I found many other owners of different year priuses with the same steering problem.

- Chantilly, VA, USA

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