really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,673 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.

2011 Toyota Prius electrical problems

electrical problem

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2011 Toyota Prius Owner Comments

problem #17

Aug 162014


  • miles


The contact owns a 2011 Toyota Prius. While driving various speeds at night, the front driver side headlight became inoperable. On another occasion, the front passenger side headlight also failed without warning. The dealer recommended that both bulbs be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred two years later where both headlights failed. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Winter Haven, FL, USA

problem #16

Aug 012016


  • 44,000 miles
Driver side door lock failed and shortly thereafter the front passenger door lock also failed. We have owned a total of five Prius vehicles since 2007 and have never experienced this problem before this dual failure. Judging from the number of complaints on this site and info gathered during internet research it appears this is a widespread problem, most likely due to poor quality or defective door lock actuators. A google search (Toyota Prius "door lock" failure) resulted in a quarter million results.

- Aiken, SC, USA

problem #15

May 022016


  • 58,000 miles
Mice invaded my car. Trapped 6. found nests in engine area, under trunk, inside hood felt in glove compartment in a water bottle. The smell does not leave after having car detailed and steam cleaned. Toyota should take care of this. Not the consumer problem. My car was driven every day and inside a garage.

- Waxhaw, NC, USA

problem #14

May 142016


  • 200 miles


The cd player burns the cd image label. When entering 4 cds into the changer the cd in the 4th position burns almost the entire image label. The other cds had the image paper burned on the outer 1/4 in of the label. I reported this to the Toyota dealer on May 1, 2016. On May 16,2016 I dove from wilmington Ohio to lorain Ohio, 3 hours playing 4 cds continuously. This caused the heat in ghe cd player to increase and burn the cds. The cd player feels very hot to the touch after use.

- Wilmington, OH, USA

problem #13

Oct 272015


  • 128,000 miles
The spiral cable is defective, horn stopped working two weeks ago, cruise control stopped working last week. There has been alot of complaints about this cable. Toyota has had recalls for the Tacoma and yaris that use the same part number. The air bag uses the same cable. This is a big safety issue. The cost to replace this cable is $890. Someone needs to look into this issue. What is the criteria for a recall, someone dieing.

- Quartz Hill, CA, USA

problem #12

Sep 222015


  • 50,000 miles
I was pulled over by the police, (while on a village street) because my headlight bulb was burned out. (again!) I have had 4 headlight bulbs replaced on the 2011 Prius and it is only 4 years old! Toyota has a technical service bulletin on the wiring harness, that shorts out the bulbs prematurely, but no recall. Please recall the Prius for the wiring harness, so I can stop getting pulled over by the police! 09\15 thank you!

- Bloomingdale, IL, USA

problem #11

Jun 282015


  • 105,234 miles


My wife was driving our 2011 Prius during stop and go traffic. She said the car just took off on her on it's own she tried to brake but it wouldn't stop. It crashed into the motorhome that I was driving. The air bags never deployed. The car was totaled due to the extensive damage.

- Arlington, WA, USA

problem #10

Jan 162015


  • 36,000 miles
VIN # [xxx] Toyota Prius 2011, driving on interstate 80 East, at 65 mph, smoke came out of the hood, headlight and wire smelled and burned, car was almost in fire. Shut off car and headlight and smoke stop. Both headlight are damage due to fire. Kept both head light off, got home and did not use the car for a few months. Car is still under warranty but dealer refuse to repair the problem, telling me I have use an aftermarket bulb. The bulb that cause the problem was the bulb that came with the car as new. I tried to tape up the burned wire to get the car safety home. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #9

Sep 252013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
Security and safety threat in 2011 Toyota Prius due to power locks failing. Actuator in the automatic door locks is defective and fails very early in the auto's life. Front passenger door lock failed Sept 2013. Front driver door lock failed Feb 2014. Rear driver side door lock failed Sept 2014. Toyota charges $500 per door to fix, despite the fact that this security and safety risk is obviously caused by the use of cheap, defective parts used to manufacture the 2011 Prius.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #8

Feb 102012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
The door locks on a good portion of Toyota Prius fail leaving the both the car and it's occupants unprotected. It is mostly the front door locks. Toyota refuses to check into the problem. They want over $400 per door lock to fix it. I feel that it is both an inconvenience and a safety hazard since they will not open with the remote or the metal key. The only way to unlock is to enter through the back seat of the car and reach forward to the front door.

- Knoxville , TN, USA

problem #7

Jul 102014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 46,000 miles


As the navigation/gps system was being used on a long trip, the backlight suddenly burned out. Upon touch, the screen was extremely hot. (it did not cool down until appx. 1 hour after the backlight had malfunctioned. With the backlight not working, it renders the entire navigation system, bluetooth, back-up camera, audio system/cd player useless and not useable.(entire screen is black.) although the vehicle is only 2 1/2 years old, it is no longer covered under the manufacturer's warranty. The part costs between $2400 and $4500 to replace. Numerous complaints have been recorded on various complaint boards about the same issue on 2010 and 2011 Prius cars by consumers.

- Greer, SC, USA

problem #6

Jun 172014


  • 50,000 miles
Owner of vehicle driving to work when they observed a red glow in front of them. The owner then observed smoke from the front. The owner pulled off roadway and more smoke developed. The vehicle then caught on fire. The fire consumed the passenger compartment. A fire scene examination was performed and the origin was determined to be in the passenger side dash area where circuit boards and wiring bundles were located. The fire resulted in a total loss of the vehicle.

- Broken Arrow, OK, USA

problem #5

Apr 302014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
Wednesday April 30 2014 I went to church, when I came out and got back in my car light was out. They were burning.

- Flomaton, AL, USA

problem #4

Mar 182014

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
Re: NHTSA 14V053000/hybrid propulsion system...I did not receive a recall notice in the mail. My daughter owns a new Prius and she did not receive any notice either. My car engine did not shut off but my daughter's engine has shut off. You should ask Toyota to show proof of its recall mailings. I'll bet the farm that they can't.

- Little River, SC, USA

problem #3

Dec 082013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
On two separate occasions in December of 2013, with two different drivers, the brakes on our 2011 model year Prius (purchased new in February 2012), failed to engage. The first time occurred when I was driving (with one of my teenagers in the car with me), and the second time occurred when my wife was driving the car alone. In both instance we pressed the brake pedal, but the brakes failed to respond at all. Although it is winter, the roads were clear, and the car did not slow down at all when the brakes were pressed / applied. Interestingly, after 30 - 60 seconds, the brake function restored itself. Since December the car has been at the shop at the Toyota dealership where we purchased the car. The shop has been unable to identify the source of the problem. Additionally, the shop indicated they contacted Toyota mechanics and service support staff to help identify and fix the problem, but Toyota claimed they never heard of such a problem or anything like it. Moreover, Toyota refuses to make any repairs or change any parts (even though the car is still under warranty). Yet, this past Wednesday (February 12, 2014), Toyota announced a recall on rav4's and other models for a software problem that causes the anti-brakes to intermittently turn off. This is particularly troubling, given Toyota's claim that they never heard of anything like this and did not know what to fix. Further, Toyota announced a recall on the Prius itself, for a software problem that might cause the car to turn off completely while driving. Clearly, Toyota has a problem with its software in a number of vehicles. At this point, all I have received is corporate double talk, and I urge the NHTSA to pursue this matter as vigorously as possible.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #2

Oct 012011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 0 miles
Vehicle loses braking function while traveling over potholes, recessed manhole covers, and all other types of rough road surfaces. Braking function is delayed and does not return to previous power/braking strength after traversing the obstacle; this results in the need to depress the brake pedal further to re-engage enough braking function to stop the vehicle safely. Serious concern is that if the vehicle is under hard braking at the time of the event will there be enough travel left in the brake pedal to reengage the brakes enough to stop. I have experienced this regularly, one or more times per month, since I purchased the car. Up until now most occurrences have been just a minor annoyance. I researched the phenomenon on the web and many just write it off as a nuisance / minor quirk of the vehicle so I accepted that opinion and continued on enjoying the car. That is until May 21, 2013 when under hard braking (30-35mph driving speed then heavy braking to 0mph) the vehicle traveled over a recessed manhole cover and it felt like it fully lost all of its braking power and nearly sent me into the back of the vehicle stopping hard ahead of me. I had to floor the brakes before I felt any braking power return after the bump. This issue will lead to an accident if it has not already. Please keep an eye on it.

- Cottage Grove, MN, USA

problem #1

Nov 172011

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
I was a front passenger in a 2011 Toyota Prius. We just got in the car. My friend turned it on. I lowered my window and placed my arm in an upright position just over the windows lower molding. My friend went to raise my window because he wanted the A/C on. He used his auto up feature from the drivers side. Before I could remove my arm, the window was already moving up. It started to squeeze my arm in the vertical position. I had my thumb inside the vehicle and my four fingers out side the window from the top. I could not release my hand from either direction. Meanwhile there was a tremendous amount of pressure from the bottom. So bad, I started to yell at my friend to lower the window. He said it wouldn't go down. I started to panic because the pain was very bad. I was about to punch the window but quickly reached across my body using my left hand. I used my passenger side window control and was able to lower the window. This so-called auto-down pinch protection does not activate right away. I firmly believe it activates only past a certain point. According to Toyota's website, this feature should apply to all positions but in fact does not. The back of my arm was sore for days and did bruise. We tested my friends car again another day and discovered the exact same thing had happened again. This time we only used our hands to apply pressure at the very bottom instead of only at the top or in the middle. This is a huge concern. Toyota was emailed but I haven't heard back from a representative. In my opinion, I should have received an email back or a phone call at the least. It saddens me because I too am the owner of two Toyota. Where is the priority now?

- San Diego, CA, USA

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