really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,826 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.

2010 Toyota Prius electrical problems

electrical problem

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2010 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #42

Feb 192013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 38,978 miles


Starting my vehicle and leaving my garage at 2 mph the master warning light, check hybrid system light, and malfunction indicator/check engine light were all lit up. With a terrible smell electrical/fuel. I immediately shut the car off and let it sit. After a few seconds I tried again with the same result. The owners manual says to not drive and contact Toyota dealer immediately. When the tow truck arrived I again tried to start the vehicle and the warnings were not present. The dealer investigated and said it was over ethanol in the fuel. The fuel has been tested and found to be 6-8%, which is acceptable. The dealer at the time of the repair wanted $450 to drop and clean the tank. Instead I chose to go with the phillips Toyota (leesburg Florida, phone 352-728-2030) dealer service manager, david newton to the closest gas station and fill up. Since then there has not been a problem, but I am concerned for my safety in now driving the vehicle. As this is a hybrid which I purchased to help our country with energy security (56 mpg) but am afraid as a retiree with my wife that this could have ended differently if we were on the interstate traveling. With the reputation of Toyota and the unexpected acceleration we are concerned that the initial problem has not been found and will recur. This could happen on the interstate highway with a much different outcome. I am reporting this to go on record with this problem just in case an accident or fatality is involved the next time, if it happens again. Thank-you and I can email my file which has been sent to shellcustomercare@shell.com under their reference#[xxx], and Florida division of consumer services, [xxx]. I have also requested a meeting with the Toyota corporation representative through the dealer service mgr. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Westland, MI, USA

problem #41

Aug 072012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 26,000 miles
The problem that is causing the head lights to burn out simultaneously needs to be resolved. It is a safety hazard for this to continue. Purchased a Toyota Prius 2010 in December 2010. Since that time, the head lights have been a problem. Each time there is a problem, both head lights burn out simultaneously. The first time the head lights failed was August 7, 2012 when there were five of us in the car driving 15+ miles with about a third of the drive on many residential streets that were not well lit. The dealership in Florida was called and it was explained that both headlights burned out at the same time and that it must be something other than the bulbs because headlights do not burn out together at the same time. The service representative quoted that the cost of the repair to replace the head lights was about $150. He did not ask if the car was under warranty and he did not acknowledge that it could be something in the electrical system. He did not suggest that the car be brought in to have them put it on diagnostic machines to verify where the problem may be.we opted to replace the bulbs ourselves. The second time both head lights burned out simultaneously was October 21, 2012 and we again, replaced the bulbs ourselves. The cost of the bulbs including tax is $54.36. This morning is the third time both lights have burned out at the same time again. The Prius has 35,840 miles. This is not reasonable. We have already spent $108.72 to replace the bulbs twice. It is unreasonable. It is extremely unsafe not knowing when and where the head lights will burn out. We have teenage drivers and it is upsetting to know they are not in a safe vehicle.

- Lake Mary, FL, USA

problem #40

Nov 272012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 57,300 miles
My commute is 62 miles, one way. Tonight I realized my low beam headlights were not working. My high beams work. I drove the 62 miles with my high beams on. The fuses were fine. It is odd that both low beam lights were out at the same time but the high beams were fine. I searched online some and there were numerous similar problems with the Prius low beam lights.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #39

Nov 072012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 24,750 miles


2010 Toyota Prius at dealership for 25000 mile service. On 11/07/2012 at 1700 the dealership called and reported that the car is "infested with rodents." Stated that headliner is saturated with urine/ feces, air and cabin air filters destroyed, wires chewed, rodents found to be living in dashboard, in door interiors, and other areas. Reported that this was "the worst case we've seen." Car is owned by two professionals- no children who would have dropped food and no food ever eaten in vehicle. Purchased new from this same dealership 01/02/2011. Dealership now reports that the car is a health/ safety hazard and could cost "thousands" to repair. Our internet research revealed that rodent infestation is common in the Toyota Prius, reportedly because rodents are able to gain easy access through the car's ventilation system. Owners reported contacting Toyota, who denied liability and denied request for assistance.

- Shermans Dale, PA, USA

problem #38

Oct 062012


  • 30,000 miles
Panel light dimmer inoperable when parking/head lights are turned on (I.e., there is no display on instrument panel for current speed, fuel volume, fuel consumption, etc. When driving with head lights on). This similarly affects the audio/HVAC display.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #37

Apr 252012

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,643 miles
The contact was driving a 2010 Toyota Prius. The contact was driving 40 mph when the vehicle stopped in the street. Prior to the vehicle stopping, a beeping/alarm sounded, the seat belt locked in place and the warning on the dashboard flashed brakes.

- Snyder , TX, USA

problem #36

Jul 082011


  • 41,000 miles


The contact owns a 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid. The contact stated that while driving 10 mph, the vehicle stalled and a hybrid system failure message came on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who was unable to come up with a concrete diagnosis but stated that the failure might had been caused by a one volt over charge on the hybrid battery which happen as a result of excessive braking. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 41,000 and the current mileage was 43,000.

- Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

problem #35

Aug 062011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 39,000 miles
Our 2010 Prius is unsafe during the daytime driving when we are required by road sides to turn on our headlights in certain roads, when we comply the headlights go on, but the dash lights go dark and we are unable to read the speedometer etc. I went to a toyoda dealer and they said nothing could be done to fix the problem. Today, Aug 6, I personally spoke with toyoda motor sales in torrance ca., on my complaint 1107281155, and was told toyoda could do nothing on 2010 Prius which all have the same problem. I offered to pay to fix it as I am on roads requiring daylight head lights on several times a month. I feel that toyoda should recall all Prius and fix that problem, there is no excuse for a dangerous sistuation like that especiallly when I can receive a ticket for not using the headlights during the day or if I do not being able to read the speedometer etc. I feel that throughout the West many roads require onlight headlights. I would like a formal investigation about this matter.

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #34

Jun 222011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
Second occurrence of this problem in three weeks. Driving downhill on a residential street at 25 mph, slowing to a stop without applying the accelerator. Suddenly lost engine power. Applied accelerator, no response. Continued to lose speed as I rolled silently downhill toward the intersection. Applied brakes and stopped. Restarted the engine and it started up fine. The previous incident also occurred on a downhill grade, on an exit ramp from an parking garage. Fortunately both incidents happened at low speed and not in heavy traffic. I previously reported the first incident. Toyota dealer checked vehicle after each incident and could not replicate the incident or find a computer code that would explain it. Since this was the second occurrence and was familiar to me, and since I was not in traffic, I let it happen while observing my own actions, trying to check for driver error. My foot was not on the brake.the car was in drive. While the car was slowing, I tried pressing the accelerator deeply and then pumping the accelerator to see what would happen.. there was no response, and no sound. The same was true three weeks ago-no response to pushing the accelerator, even deeply, and no sound. Three weeks ago, the first time it happened, I also tried cycling through the "modes" (ev, Prius, eco, power) with no effect. Each time, I hit the power button to power off, and then I hit it again to restart. Powering off and then restarting, both times, seemed like "rebooting" a computer. Fortunately traffic conditions both times gave me ample time to reboot. Will this happen again?

- Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #33

Apr 162011


  • 6,500 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to start after sitting idle for a few days. The vehicle was towed to a dealer and they advised the contact that the failure was due to the battery being unused for more than 10 days. The dealer advised that the battery should have been disconnected before allowing the vehicle to sit idle for so long. The contact was able to restart the vehicle after receiving a jump start. The failure mileage was approximately 6,500.

- Corpuis Cristy, TX, USA

problem #32

Dec 162010


  • 5,300 miles


Passenger door latch failed in my Toyota Prius, it opened as I was moving, then I closed from inside and when I got to my destination it did not open anyway, even with remote. So I got out thru other door.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #31

Nov 282010


  • 8,350 miles
My windshield wipers stopped working for a short time. I have an idea of what could cause this issue among other problems. I had a problem with a vehicle I once owned that the engine would stop for no reason. The dealer could not find a problem but as a precaution he replaced the small wiring harness. My car never failed again. About 6 months later amc came out with a directive to replace the small wiring harness on all of these cars. The problem was that the two ends of the harness were manufactured by different companies that used different plastic.the plastic in the connectors would react with one another and produce a gas. The gas would coat the contacts and cause them to go open. In my case when I restarted my car the contacts would arc and it would run okay until the contacts got coated again. I think this condition could cause almost every problem Toyota is having. I don't know if this condition is related to any of the problems they are having but it might be worth looking into it.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #30

Jun 062010


  • 10,000 miles
2010 Toyota Prius, no accidents, but close calls. When I am slowing to a stop, and if the vehicle hits a rough spot in the road, for example a pothole, the brake pedal lowers slightly and the car appears to have the anti lock braking take over and the car speed decreases slowly under the control of the ABS and may not stop in the remaining distance to a stop sigh or traffic light. At least 4 times, 3 since the software update for my car, I have been stopping and within about 20 feet of the stop sigh there was a significant bump or pothole and with my foot on the brake continuously I noticed that the brake pedal depressed slightly and my rate of slowing decreased and my car drifted past the stop sign. This all happened with my foot still on the brake. I told the Toyota dealer about this and was informed that it is the way the car is designed, that any time that the computer senses a wheel slip, the ABS takes over. But on dry road conditions, this is problematic because in my area there are often un repaired roads with ruts, potholes, bumps and etc. Near the intersections. Having the ABS take over provides a lag time in the stopping of the car and each time I have gone past the stop sign and slightly into the intersection approximately 5 feet into the path of other vehicles. I am an engineer with nasa and know what I am doing and have been told that this is a design feature, but this feature can and has left me exceeding my planned stopping distance and could have lead to an accident.

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #29

Aug 082010


  • miles
My Toyota Prius headlights go off frequently while driving. I must turn them off and on to have them come back on. It used to be one or the other at a time, however now both lights will go off at once. I was driving in very dark conditions when it happened last time and the road was pitch black. The fact that it was late at night is the only way I knew both lights were out. If I am driving at dusk or dawn, it is a major safety concern because it would be difficult to tell that my lights are off while I'm driving, but very difficult for others to see me coming down the road. It only takes a few seconds for an accident to happen. The Toyota dealership acknowledged that it is a known issue and initially said that the replacement would be covered. Then came back and said they have not been recalled so it would be out of my pocket. I was also told that I could just continue to turn the lights on and off when it happens because the life of the bulbs should not be up yet. That is not a good solution to me because I don't always know when one or both lights goes out and when it might be difficult for other drivers to see me. I feel that this is a known hazard that should be rectified by recalling/replacing these bulbs.

- Centennial, CO, USA

problem #28

Aug 022010


  • 31,000 miles
My Prius engine would not cut off while I had my wife's avalon electronic key in my pocket touching my Prius electronic key. I was sitting still but each time I cut off the engine by holding down the power button, with my foot on the brake, the engine would start back up. It wasn't until I moved the avalon key from my vehicle that the Prius restored normal actions. Could this contribute to the problems with Toyota's products?

- Wilsonville, AL, USA

problem #27

Jul 262010


  • 1,750 miles
The first time I drove my brand new 2010 Toyota Prius at night and the dashboard cluster was illuminated, I saw what appears to be smudges on the inside of the split screen. The defects appear only on the portion of the split screen that regulates the hybrid system -- in other words, the computer that controls the car. I brought the car to my local Toyota dealership for a warranty repair. They stated "some type of fluid or cleaner has gotten behind the cluster and spotted. Not covered by warranty." If this were correct, and it is not, the screen would have to be porous; which in itself would be a manufacturing defect. I contacted Toyota customer service in California and they stand by the dealer and state "this is not a defect Toyota motors will cover. We consider your case closed." My private mechanic thinks there might be a problem with the evaporator behind and integrated with the dash - coupled with the heat & humidity - which might be causing the blotting out of portions of the hybrid screen cluster. Further, he tells me that whether or not this can effect the safety of the hybrid system and the operation of the vehicle, he does not know. He states that in order to determine what is causing this the complete dash assembly must be removed. I cannot believe Toyota motor corporation has learned nothing from their mistakes of the recent past and is denying any responsibility on the part of the manufacturer of this brand new automobile. I believe this problem is a manufacturing defect that has probably shown up on other vehicles and will continue to show up on additional vehicles no matter how adamantly Toyota motor corporation denies it is a manufacturing defect. I watched what I thought were sincere apologies by Mr. Toyota when he appeared before the United States congress. Looks as though nothing has changed in corporate Japan Toyota.

- St. Augustine, FL, USA

problem #26

Apr 042010


  • 400 miles
New 2010 Prius ll commuter car suddenly accelerates or scoots when both feet are on the brake. The vehicle takes the same route to and from work daily. On every trip, when the right front wheel passes over a recessed manhole, the vehicle accelerates. I immediately push harder on the brake to stop the vehicle. The manhole is about 30 feet in front of an intersection, so I am already decelerating and braking when I cross over the manhole. This is scary because, if I the car doesn't stop, it will take me out into the middle of the intersection. Both feet are on the brake. I have driven for over 40 years, and this the strangest thing I have ever experienced.

- Bloomington, IN, USA

problem #25

Dec 272009


  • 6,750 miles
I was on a trip to Arizona and when driving in my 2010 Prius from flagstaff to phoenix during the evening, the batter display's top segment glowed red many times in the descent from flagstaff. It was a very difficult to drive to keep the top segment from turning red as the vehicle was coasting and I did not want to exceed the speed limit so I really did not now what to do. I decided to shift to neutral so the engine was not breaking. However in neutral I was wearing out my vehicles brakes which also worried me because of the possibility of overheating the brakes. I looked in my vehicle manual but nothing as in the booklet about this type of occurrence. So I asked my Toyota service personnel at rudy luther Toyota in golden valley, mn and they had not heard of this problem. He gave me a the telephone number for customer service representatives at Toyota and after discussing this incident with many people in customer service at Toyota, the end result was "that the battery was fully charged and when this occurs the top bar will glow red but this will not effect the battery". I do not know if this is true or Toyota is just putting me off but others at the following Toyota forum have also experienced this problem. Is this a safety problem, I do not know. Is it a battery warranty problem, I do not know. But please look at this forum thread and maybe you can discuss this more fully with Toyota. priuschat.com/forums/gen-III-2010-Prius-main-forum/67994-all-bars-battery-indicator-4.html on the return trip and here in Minnesota I have not had this problem occur as there are not many long descents.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #24

Apr 232010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 6,239 miles
2010 Toyota Prius. The consumer stated he experienced two safety issues; loss of brake effectiveness and engine race when the consumer applied the brakes when going over bumps/rough roads, or in marginal conditions due to snow/ice when approaching a stop sign, he would lose braking effectiveness. The consumer took the vehicle to the dealer for a recall repair on March 24, 2010. However, he continued to experience loss of brake effectiveness. The consumer pulled into a neighbor's driveway after driving less than one mile from his home. After pushing the park button, but before pushing the power button, the engine began to race. It was not at an extreme high RPM and it was not for an extended period time, but it did last for several seconds. After the vehicle went down to normal RPM, after a S second or two, it began all over again. The consumer stated it was not a surge as the vehicle was not in gear at the time.

- Edina, MN, USA

problem #23

Apr 062010


  • 15,045 miles
Although I took my vehicle in for the recall (2010 Prius) last week, the vehicle repeated the loss of brake/surge issue this morning. I also reported to my Toyota dealer last week about abnormal, sudden braking. When applying normal pressure to the brakes, on several occasions the brakes have locked violently, sending me and my passengers against our seat belts. Toyota claimed that the recall may make that better. It has not. Thirdly, I reported last week to Toyota that the car has on occasion shaken violently and made a loud clanking noise (like a washing machine off balance) upon start up, causing me to jump out F the car for fear of it blowing up. They said they had never heard of this. My co-worker, a fellow 2010 Prius owner, reported the same issue.

- San Clemente, CA, USA

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