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Toyota Prius Problems – Do Not Purchase the 2010 or 2011 model!

Toyota Prius Problems

The Toyota Prius is a full hybrid electric car that is both developed and produced by Toyota since 1997, initially being offered as a four-door sedan and being produced to the present day. 

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The Toyota Prius has numerous complaints regarding various model years, with the worst problem dealing with the Toyota Prius lights. Overall, the 2010 Toyota Prius has the most overall complaints, although the 2011 Toyota Prius is the worst rated model due to the severity of the issues, the onset of the problems, and the number of problems that occur in this model year. The most reported problem regarding the Prius is with the 2007 model year due to the headlights randomly turning off while driving. 

2005 Toyota Prius Problems


The 2005 Toyota Prius has main categories of problems, with the main categories focusing on the lights and the engine, and the most NHTSA complaints regarding the brake and the lights. 


The majority of user complaints regarding the lights system in the Prius focus on the headlights turning off on their own, the headlights repeatedly burning out, the warning light turning on for the stabilizer, and the exterior lighting. The typical repair cost for the lights problems is around $550 with the most common solution being to repair the headlamp bulbs and the modules, and occurring at an average of around 142,000 miles. 


The NHTSA complaints in the same category of r the 2005 Prius have resulted in 5 crashes, occur at around 103,000 miles, with users stating that the headlights continuously go out, the brand new bulbs do not work during use, the headlight control does not work correctly, and the headlights automatically go off after a while of turning on. 


The engine problems that have been stated by users focus on the car using oil, the batteries turning off and dying, the check engine light turning on, poor acceleration, the spark plugs causing engine damage, and the unintended acceleration. To fix the car using too much oil, some of the solutions involve replacing the engine, which can be very costly.

2007 Toyota Prius Problems 


The main categories of issues for the Toyota Prius in the 2007 model year almost solely focus on the lights, with over 1000 NHTSA complaints and over 150 user complaints in this category. The extremely high number of the lights issues, especially reported by the NHTSA, show how this problem is very severe and prevalent for this model year. 


The main issue deals with the headlights randomly turning off while driving and the headlights burning out prematurely based on the lifespan of the car. The typical repair cost for this issue is around $320, with the problem occurring at around 100,000 miles, and the most common solution being to replace the bulbs, replacing the lighting control module and replacing the ballast. 


The NHTSA concerns regarding the exterior lighting have resulted in 2 crashes, and have the users mostly stating that the headlights turn off while driving, the headlights intermittently flicker while in use, and the headlights will intermittently fail. 

2008 Toyota Prius Problems


The main categories of concern for the following model year also dealt with the lights, but also had nearly 50 complaints for the brakes category according to the NHTSA. The user concerns for the lights dealt with the same issues as the previous year, with the headlights malfunctioning, the intermittent headlight failure, and the headlights being cloudy in terms of visibility. 


NHTSA concerns regarding the lighting system dealt with the exterior headlights, with the users stating that the headlights are not working even with a changed relay switch, the headlights turn off unpredictably, and the headlights turn off and on while using. 


The NHTSA concerns for the brakes deal with the hydraulic service brakes, the electric service brakes, the electronic stability control, the traction control system, and the hydraulic anti lock control unit. These brake issues have resulted in 32 crashes, 1 fire, 8 injuries, and occur at around 20,000 miles, with users stating that the car accelerates out of control, the brakes do not have enough power, and the vehicle cannot come to a complete stop. 

2010 Toyota Prius Problems


The main categories of concern for the 2010 Toyota Prius focus on the brakes, with nearly 2,000 complaints from the NHTSA regarding the ABS light being on, the master cylinder failing, the brakes grabbing and catching, the car losing hydraulic power, the brakes being overly sensitive, the electric service brakes, the electronic stability control, the traction control system, and the air service brakes. 


These braking concerns have resulted in 48 crashes, 8 injuries, 1 death, and occur at around 5,000 miles, which is very early for the serious problems to occur. The main user complaints focus on the vehicle hesitating to stop, the ABS warning light coming on, the brake light turning on, and the car jerking forward while braking. 

2011 Toyota Prius Problems


The 2011 Toyota Prius has fewer problems than the two previous years, with the NHTSA having the most complaints regarding the brakes, but substantially less than the previous two model years. The main categories of user concerns focuses on the engine and the lights, while the NHTSA lodged over 150 complaints for the brakes.


The main concerns regarding the engine involve excessive oil consumption, knocking at startup, and the vehicle speed control. To fix the oil consumption, the typical repair cost comes in at around $4,000, with the most common solution being to replace the engine or the leaking timing cover gasket. 


For the lights, the users are concerned about the headlights burning out during driving at night, the headlights not working properly, the headlights needing adjusting, the headlight wire melting, and the harness meltdown under the hood occurring involving the head lamp. In order to fix the headlights burning out, the typical repair cost is around $150, with the most common solution being to replace the headlight bulbs or replace the low beams. 

2012 Toyota Prius Problems 


The Toyota Prius has two categories of concern for the 2012 model year, but much less than the previous years, with the brake category improving due to the company fixes. There were the most complaints from the NHTSA for the seat belts and air bags, and the brakes category, while the most common user issues focused on the lights and the engine.


The NHTSA complaints about the seat belts and the airbags revolve around users stating the steering wheel airbag only partially develops, the airbags not deploying during a crash, and the seat belts not working during a crash. These problems have resulted in 21 crashes, 14 injuries, and occur at around 26,000 miles. 

2019 Toyota Prius Reliability

The 2019 Toyota Prius earned a reliability ranking of #12 based on the score within the 2019 Hybrid and Electric Cars category, with an overall score of 7.6 out of 10 based on the evaluation of research, data elements, and the key features of the Toyota Prius problems. The overall US News scorecard is 7.6, with the critics’ rating coming in at 8.5, the performance being 7.1, the interior coming in at 7.5, and the safety earning a 9.2 out of 10, with the JD Power ranking coming in at just 3 out of 5. 


The 2019 Toyota Prius, despite the problems, earned high rankings in multiple categories. The Prius earned #12 in the 2019 Hybrid and Electric Cars, the #18 in Used Hybrid Cars $20K and up, #19 in US Hatchbacks, and #23 in Affordable small cars. However, it earned less favorable rankings in the Hatchbacks in $15K and up and the Used Small Cars in $14K and up category, earning a #36 and #54 placement. 


The pros of the 2019 Toyota Prius is the great fuel economy, the large cargo,  area, and the standard safety features. The cons and the Toyota Prius problems in 2019 involve the lack of any Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, poor driving dynamics, and a lack of a high-performing powertrain. 

2020 Toyota Prius Reliability


The 2020 Toyota Prius has earned the overall #8 ranking in the Hybrid and Electric Cars category, with the Prius finishing in the middle of the hybrid and electric car rankings due the outstanding gas mileage and the ample amount of space for people to sit comfortably and hold plenty of cargo. However, the poor performance and average driving dynamics prevent the car from running even higher on the list. 


The pros of the Toyota Prius in 2020 involve the great gas mileage and fuel economy, the plentiful cargo space, the roomy and supportive seats that are comfortable for long rides, and the easy to use and informative infotainment system. The cons of the Toyota Prius is the dull and average driving experience, and the interior that is less luxury and upscale than its similar rivals. However, new for the 2020 Toyota Prius involves the Apple CarPlay now being standard in all models.


The performance qualities of the Toyota Prius involve the 52-58 miles per gallon in the city, the 48-53 miles per gallon on the highway, and the 121 horsepower from the engine, which is not as powerful as some other similar options. 


Along with earning the #8 spot in the Hybrid and Electric Cars category, it also earned a #13 ranking in the Hatchbacks category and the #16 ranking in the Small CArs, finally winning the Finalist choice for the 2020 Best Hybrid or Electric Car for the Money. 


The overall scorecard according to US News comes in at 7.9, with a critics’ rating of 8.3, performance rating of 8.4, interior rating of 7.4, safety rating of 9.3, and a JD Power reliability rating of 3 out of 5 stars. 

How much does the Toyota Prius cost?


The basic package price for the 2020 Toyota Prius comes in at around $24,000, which is a good value for a car with limited Toyota Prius problems. That is one of the lowest starting prices out of all the similar hybrid and electric cars on the market. The top of the line Prius LImited package comes in at around $32,000, while the base price is $8,000 less. 

Toyota Prius vs. Honda Insight


The Honda Insight is a direct competitor to the 2020 Toyota Prius, regardless of the Toyota Prius problems. The Honda Insight has a more powerful engine, with about 30 more horsepower than the Toyota Prius, but it gets around the same fuel economy ratings both on the highway and in the city. 


The Honda has a more upscale and luxury interior than the Toyota Prius rival, and it contains user-friendly features that are easy to figure out. However, the Toyota Prius has more room for passengers, cargo, and people to move around in the back. Depending on what you need, the choice of what car you want or whether you want a Honda vs. Toyota comes down to your preferences. 

Toyota Prius vs. Hyundai Ioniq


Similar to the Toyota Prius, the Hyundai Ioniq is available as a hybrid option, but you can also get the Ioniq as another model, like the plug-in hybrid choice or a fully electric vehicle that does not require gasoline. The Hyundai Ioniq is better on gas mileage when compared to the Prius, and it has a similar amount of cargo space for items in the trunk. However, the Hyundai’s interiors look good, but the Prius has comfier seats for all-day use and has a longer list of standard assistance features. 

Toyota Prius vs. Toyota Prius Prime


Despite the Toyota Prius problems, both the Prius and the Prius Prime are high-quality cars that are good choices for people looking to purchase a vehicle. The big difference between the regular Prius and the Prius Prime is that the Prime has a plug-in hybrid choice, and a few other differences, like the PRime getting better fuel economy and a higher predicted reliability rating.


Despite these higher rankings, the Prime has no rear middle seat and does not have all-wheel drive, limiting the functionality and versatility of the car, and making light of the Toyota Prius Problems. In most other cars, the Priuses are pretty similar in terms of features. Both cars have two rows of seats and more cargo space than other similar hybrids on the market. 

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