Bottom of bright blue Toyota Prius.

Propulsion System Defects in the Toyota Prius: 2015 to 2020

By: Michael H. Rosenstein

Over time, the Toyota Prius has risen to obtain one of the highest ranks among the other Hybrid and Electric cars in the market. In fact, it has also been listed as a finalist for the “2020 Best Hybrid Car for the Money” Award. While the Prius is known to have a capable hybrid system and an exceptional fuel economy rating; it, unfortunately, presents several common reliability issues and defects that consumers oftentimes encounter. Over the past 5 years, several Prius users have reported fuel/propulsion system problems with a severity rating of 10.0 (According to NHTSA data). A few official recalls had also been issued by NHTSA due to propulsion defects that had become a potential threat to Prius users.

If your Toyota Prius has suffered any serious issues or warranty concerns, CCA is here to help. We invite you to call our experts today for a free consultation: (833) LEMON-FIRM.

What Are the Common Propulsion System Defects in the Toyota Prius?

The Toyota Prius has fallen prey to numerous user complaints and a NHTSA investigations over the years. While some issues were looked into by Toyota, many are still left unresolved. Most Prius complaints involve serious allegations such as vehicle stalling, sputtering, loss of power, sudden stops and more.

Recently, one Toyota Prius user expressed their concern regarding their vehicle’s propulsion system as follows, “While driving 70 mph, the vehicle stalled and the “hyper” system failure warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was towed to Toyota where it was diagnosed that the EGR valve and intake manifold needed to be repaired. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The dealer stated that the fuel pump needed to be replaced. The fuel pump was repaired by an independent mechanic. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 180,000.”

Most complaints mentioned the vehicle’s frequent loss of power that causes serious consequences such as stalling and unexpected stopping. A stall occurs when the car unexpectedly slows down or stops completely. If a stall takes place in an unfortunate circumstance, it could lead to a life-threatening accident.

Another Prius owner described the issue as follows, “Vehicle has lost power on the freeway multiple times forcing me to pull over. In one instance I was almost rear-ended by a semi. The vehicle will show a temperature warning and will then shut down and read, “check hybrid system”. the Toyota dealership claims it needs a new engine. I have contacted Toyota about this and they tell me it is out of warranty and not eligible for the warranty enhancement”.

System overheating is another crucial issue that came up across several complaints. Despite Toyota’s constant effort for the last 5 years, the issue still persists. Driving an overheated car can be extremely fatal as it can instigate intense pressure inside the radiator hoses; damaging the car or even worse, causing an unfortunate accident.

Another user complaint stated, “I had a sudden loss of power with a popping sound. The failure nearly caused an accident because I was turning into a traffic lane. This left me stalled in that lane of traffic. The failure turned out to be the inverter overheating which was caused by the cooling pump in the inverter. This was not covered by warranty and was a very expensive repair.”

Here is a partial list of the recent models that are known to have widespread Engine and Transmission issues:

  • 2014 Toyota Prius
  • 2015 Toyota Prius
  • 2016 Toyota Prius
  • 2018 Toyota Prius
  • 2019 Toyota Prius
  • 2020 Toyota Prius

What Actions Have Been Taken to Address the Toyota Prius Propulsion Defects?

According to an IEEE research article, Toyota has issued a recall for 2.43 million hybrid vehicles around the world (including Toyota Prius) for the stalling issue. The recall was issued approximately 2 years ago, yet there are still incoming complaints regarding Prius’s propulsion defects.

What Can I Do if My Toyota Prius is Facing Any of These Issues?

If you are facing any trouble with your Toyota Prius such as stalling, sputtering, loss of power, overheating, or other persisting issues, California’s lemon laws are here to protect you and your vehicle. Our attorneys have developed strong expertise in handling these types of cases and are aware of the issues plaguing the Prius. If you are facing any performance issues with your vehicle, do not hesitate to contact our experts for a free consultation at (833) LEMON-FIRM.

About the Author
Sepehr Daghighian es un socio de CCA con amplio conocimiento en todos los aspectos de litigios de la Ley Limón. Tras graduarse en el 2005 de la Facultad de Derecho de Loyola, el Sr. Daghighian ha practicado litigio en todo el estado de California durante más de 13 años. Durante este tiempo, el Sr. Daghighian ha abogado en nombre de los consumidores de California en cientos de casos de la Ley Limón en nuestro gran estado. El Sr. Daghighian también ha juzgado con éxito numerosos casos de este tipo para veredicto en los tribunales federales y estatales.