really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
15,924 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.

2012 Toyota Prius electrical problems

electrical problem

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2012 Toyota Prius Owner Comments

problem #20

Jun 022016


  • 50,000 miles


Door locking mechanism, security issue, vehicle will not lock due to faulty lock actuator--- may effect other actuators. Vehicle stationary and on start up for motion.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #19

Jul 292014


  • 14,000 miles
After Toyota power management software recall installed "power management upgrade" software in my car I immediately experienced serious problems with my ignition /start of hybrid/gasoline engine. After pressing ignition, I had to wait 15 to 20 minutes and press start button on/off repeatedly until the gasoline engine ignite but hybrid failed to start. It is not normal because a Prius hybrid engine starts first not the gasoline engine. Toyota has disabled some important functions in its power management recall software update that affects the hybrid engine performance and failure to start. I drive my Prius 3-4 times a month and I did not have any problem before the recall software upgrade because Prius owners manual clearly says that the battery with be disconnected by battery saving function when your car is parked for long time, several days, weeks. In fact, when your car is parked for just days, Toyota power management software (recall) is draining the car battery and reconfiguring the relays to power up the gasoline engine. Toyota owners manual clearly states that when you are parked, "power management software disconnects the auxiliary battery from the hybrid system." However, after the recall, not only auxiliary battery is not disconnected but there are lots of "activity" in hybrid engine that drains the batteries. I called the Toyota service and they now say you have to keep the car on a charger all the time when parked for several days. Of course, it is a huge safety problem to keep the car on a charger all the time when parked for days because the battery is housed in the cabin and the ventilation does not exist unless you park your car outdoors. At the same time Toyota recommends keeping the car on a charger, it also warns of explosion caused by charging the batteries in a garage.

- Scotts Valley, CA, USA

problem #18

Dec 072015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
The contact owned a 2012 Toyota Prius. While driving 60 mph, the engine stalled. Various warning lights illuminated and a beeping noise was present. The contact's vehicle coasted to a stop and was rear ended by another vehicle. A police report was filed. The air bags did not deploy. The contact sustained injuries to the forearm that required medical attention. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V053000 (electrical system, hybrid propulsion system). The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was destroyed and towed. The failure mileage was approximately 45,000.......updated 04/01/16

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #17

Jul 102015


  • 57,421 miles


Over the last nine months I have had to replace the bulbs in my 2012 Toyota Prius 6 times. When I brought it to the dealer they stated that it was because I was not using Toyota certified bulb and I paid over $150 to have them inspect the headlights and replace the bulbs. After I had the certified bulbs installed, a bulb went out again. When I returned to the dealer, I was told that I needed new wiring for a cost in excess of $250. The technician stated that tsb-0204-12 was issued for for 2010-11 Prius for this problem and that the 2012 Prius have the exact same wiring harness, but that Toyota was not going to fix that problem for teh 2012 models and that I would have to absorb the cost myself.

- Clarence Center, NY, USA

problem #16

Feb 092015


  • 53,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Prius. The contact stated while driving approximately 25 mph, the vehicle stalled and all of the warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle restarted but was not able to move forward or reverse. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The contact was aware of NHTSA campaign number: 14V053000 (electrical system, hybrid propulsion system) however, the VIN was not included. The approximate failure mileage was 53,000.

- Spanish Fork, UT, USA

problem #15

Oct 082014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 33,200 miles
I went to start my Prius V. after it was started, a number of the warning lights came on including the ABS and stability control. I was stunned since I had my 30000 mile check up in may with no problems. When I took it to the dealer for repair, the dealer determined that rodents had eaten through a number of the electrical systems because of the soy based wiring. (I understand now that it's "biogradable soy based wiring insulation.) I generally park my car at only two locations - my home and my work. I had never seen any rodents of any type! I can't imagine what would have happened if one of the wires to the engine, or airbags, or any system for that matter separated while I was driving. Apparently, Toyota is aware of this problem but is trying to downplay it! I was told it's not a warranty item. My car requires two new wiring harnesses, the alarm wiring, and the airbag harness plus other repairs.

- Holiday, FL, USA

problem #14

Dec 172013


  • 12,000 miles


When our neighbor with a 2013 Prius key fab enters our 2011 Prius it disables the ignition. It will sometimes allow the car to start by touching our key fab to the ignition button however if engine stops, like at a stop light, it will disable the ignition again not allowing you to start the car unless you put your key fab up to the start button again. The dealer knew about the situation and agreed it is a safety hazard but said Toyota will not fix the problem.

- Wilmington, NC, USA

problem #13

Mar 082014

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
When the headlights are on, the speedometer does not display when the dashboard lights are dimmed. All other displays dim, but the speed of the car is no longer displayed.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #12

Jan 032014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 32,775 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid. The contact stated that the automatic startup engaged independently with a loud clunking noise. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer for diagnosis. The technician was unable to duplicate the problem. The vehicle was also diagnosed by a different dealer who refused to repair the vehicle. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The vehicle had not been repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 32,775...updated 02-28-14 the consumer stated the vehicle was traded in. Updated 03/19/2014

- Spanaway, WA, USA

problem #11

Jan 232013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 156 miles
Bought car on 1/23/13 and drove home. Next day got a call they forgot to give us access key so drove 27 miles to dealership and smoke on dashboard. Pulled into service and sales manager got in car drove around and said all is fine. Came home an odometer showed 564 miles after I drove 27 there and 27 back. The car had 156 night we bought it the day before. We are old and disabled and do not drive often. Odometer now showing almost 900 miles in less then the 3 weeks we have owned it. Reported the smoke on dashboard to Toyota Corp office and told them how hot the dashboard got and odometer jumping. The man thought it was funny and said he hoped I did not burn my hand. Now nav system not working and radio sounds tinny. Called lakeland Toyota and talked to owner [xxx] who says he is an accountant and knows nothing about cars. Took car to another dealership and was told nav system software 2.1 should be a 2.2 and claimed to have it updated. The car then added another 100 miles again. We need help to make sure car is safe to drive and need miles to stop adding up even when we are not driving. Also the history on mpg one time showed 99.9 and then 26 and then 44.7 and then 49. We had to put gas in it three times in it in less then 3 weeks because gage on dashboard keeps showing getting low but then it only takes 6 gallons. I put no for fire but I did see smoke on the dash above the computer and it was very very hot. So not sure if there was an electrical fire or not or just a surge or short. No one will help me. Need help. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Haines City , FL, USA

problem #10

Oct 292012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 3,500 miles


While driving at night, all lights, especially red in color, which are viewed from front windshield, appear as three distinct images. The source light, then a distinct shadowed light above and below the source. This safety issue is extremely compounded when driving at night in high traffic situations where there are hundrends of tailights in front of me. All those lights are essentially trippled causing confusion and distraction. Toyota refuses to aknowlege the issue. Through research, I have found that this is a common issue with many frustrated owners just living with it because Toyota wont fix it. It is a huge safety issue. Please help make Toyota rectify this huge safety issue before it causes preventable accidents!!

- Citrus Heights, CA, USA

problem #9

May 032012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
Cigarette/power outlet fuse always blows very frequently - even with a gps use of cellphone charger only. Have been to Toyota dealership and have not addressed the issue after several complaints. Replacing fuses does not address the issue. This is a safety issue for people dependent on gps and communication specially for long travels. ## VIN failed ##

- Madison, TN, USA

problem #8

May 082012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 600 miles
1. when vehicle transitioned from battery to motor, significant impact resulted 2. brake pedal traveled to floor, dash warning light came on [vehicle towed] 3. attempting to leave dealers lot, brake pedal traveled to floor. Technician witnessed. Updated 01/15/13

- Middleboro, MA, USA

problem #7

Jun 302012

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the navigation would stop giving verbal directions when within 3 miles of destination. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure could be replicated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure and current mileages were 7,000. The consumer stated the manufacturer advised the navigation system was working as designed. Updated 1/18/2013

- Cookebille, TN, USA

problem #6

Sep 092012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 4,000 miles
Navagation screen, when sun hits the screen from right direction the screen can act like a very bright mirror and blind driver without warning.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #5

Jun 152012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Prius. The contact stated when her mother whom has a pacemaker occupied the vehicle, the gauges would move independently and the vehicle would not respond. The vehicle would return to normal function whenever her mother exited the vehicle. The contact checked the owner's manual and noticed that there was a section that indicated that persons with a pacemaker should not operate the vehicle. The manufacturer was notified but stated that they were unaware of any issue regarding the vehicle and pacemakers, and offered no further assistance. The failure and current mileages were 2,000. Updated 09-28-12 updated 10/01/2012 updated 6/13/13

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #4

Sep 032012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 4,944 miles
Driving 70 mph car began to go into high RPM, then accelerated to 74 from 70 mph. I tried to decrease speed then vehicle shut off got a long beep and message on display "check hybrid system, pull over immediately" all lights on dash were indicating failures. Coasted to safety with 5 passengers in vehicle across traffic at 9:30 pm to shoulder. Tried to restart several times then vehicle went into high RPM then engine knocked loudly and was completely disabled. Lost brakes, pedal was hard, lost power steering, difficult to maneuver. I still had 2 bars indicating plenty of fuel in car. Prior fillup was 7.6 gallons at pump, usually get over 500 miles per tank, trip meter only showed under 400 miles since fill up so had plenty of fuel and there was no low fuel indicator. Reported all problems to dealer. They only noted the car shut down but told me they confirmed everything I said and that Toyota engineers are trying to resolve this since they are aware of this type of problem. So far dealer and Toyota have not addressed the high RPM, the acceleration, loss of electronics and hybrid system failure and told me they havenever heard of any Toyota ever having a report of a high RPM or acceleration without intent to accelerate form the driver. Vehicle is unsafe, has 4944 miles and this problem occurred about a month after purchase. Toyota still does not know what the problems are and in possession of the vehicle.

- Menifee, CA, USA

problem #3

Jul 312012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 2,865 miles
Car becomes immobile - will not shift into reverse or drive. Computer keeps sending the message to put it in park and depress brake, but once that is done, any attempt to shift into reverse or drive triggers the message, endlessly. The problem is apparently intermittent. Occurred for two hours yesterday, after occurring to a lesser extent in preceding days (in the days preceding the total breakdown, I was able to shift after a slight delay and a few attempts). The dealership to which I had it towed said it was fine today. Everything checks out. This is a safety hazard because the car can be in an unsafe position when it becomes immobile. I was partly out of a parking space, somewhat blocking traffic. The problem involves the computer and the transmission - at least

- Pomona, CA, USA

problem #2

Jul 022012


  • 6 miles
New Prius does not work bluetooth wise with existing phone. Prius I just traded in did. No resolution from dealer (Toyota world O newark Delaware) and no resolution from Toyota corporate. I was told they could do nothing and that I would have to purchase new phones. We are driving vehicle without bluetooth without cell phones in our ears thereby creating safety hazard.

- Avondale, PA, USA

problem #1

Mar 172012


  • 5 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the vehicle was equipped with a hands-free phone system. The contact expressed concerns that he had to activate too many buttons in order to operate the phone system. As a result, the contact felt that the system could create a safety hazard while driving. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and no assistance was provided. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the vehicle was operating as intended. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 5.

- Tarzana, CA, USA

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