10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
96,632 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Toyota Prius:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

problem #55

Feb 022020

Prius

  • 251,929 miles
I was driving on the highway and felt a jerking at my steering wheel a few months back, I thought ok maybe the steering wheel loose or something, I was going around 65 mph. Fast forward to two weeks ago and the steering wheel completely locks up on me driving to a dr appointment I had to go to. I was going around 30 mph in traffic the steering locked up and the triangle illuminated on my navigation screen and the dreaded trouble sign appeared. Once this appeared on my screen the steering wheel felt like it had no power steering. At first I thought, I need to check the power steering fluid, I researched and realized this Prius is completely electric power steering. So I arrived at my doctors and turned the car off, when I came back and turned it back on to my amazement the light turned off and the power steering was back. Then the week after same problem happened, but I didnżT have my obd 2 reader with me, so again I shut off the car and the problem went away. I started to do research and realized this is a serious common problem with the electric power steering, the computer chip that controls the steering malfunctions and needs to be replaced, so I came here to check if any recalls on my vehicle and there is not. The same problem happened again today, this time my girlfriend was driving and was going around 45, she said she almost crashed. This is a serious safety hazard and Toyota appears to be behind the eight ball in this as I have read numberous forums of this malfunction, it's a wide spread problem and extremely costly to fix. This problem shouldnżT fall onto the owners as it is the manufacturer's fault for not doing their due diligence and addressing this problem at the factory before mass producing and selling to consumers like I.

- Westfield, MA, USA

problem #54

Nov 152019

Prius

  • 112,000 miles
My steering wheel starts shaking violently when driving under 32 degrees outside and locks up the ability to steer which can be deadly on the highway which I donżT drive much luckily and Toyota has no open recalls even though IżM not the only one with this. Iżve has to hurt my hands wrestling with it to pull over which is dangerous on some roads!!!! very dangerous fault in a car this is the 1 part I rely on to save me! canżT believe Toyota wonżT fix it!!! also this happens a few times every week though out the entire winter! it happens when driving on winding road at 10-35 mph and sometimes happens when turning right or left! I need advice!

- Passaic, NJ, USA

problem #53

May 102019

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the electric power steering failed without warning. Also, the steering wheel veered to the right, which caused the contact to drive over a curb. The contact turned off and restarted the vehicle. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 11V304000 (steering); however, the vehicle exhibited the same failure as listed in the recall campaign. The dealer (larry H. miller Liberty Toyota Colorado springs, 5115 new car dr, Colorado springs, co 80923, (719) 419-5832) indicated that the vehicle was excluded from a warranty campaign and the steering gear and computer may need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and did not assist. The failure mileage was not available.

- Colorado Spring, CO, USA

problem #52

May 122019

Prius

  • 140,158 miles
While driving on the freeway in stop and go traffic the steering wheel started to oscillate back and forth it subsided however a few min later as freeway speeds were approached the wheel tried turning hard left then vibrated center to left. If I had been unaware this would have resulted in hitting the center divider at freeway speeds. A brief research online shows this is not the first known issue.. this was very similar to: Https://www.youtube.com/watch?V=rv-ul1pxj1U very disturbing situation to be in - at first the ps warning indicator came on then said problem solved only to happen again (less pull the 2nd time but still noticeable.)

- Rancho Cordova, CA, USA

problem #51

Apr 132019

Prius

  • 85,500 miles
When making a turn at slow speeds there is violent back and forth uncontrollable movement in the steering wheel. You have to bring the vehicle to a stop. The problem is your in the middle of a turn or intersection.very dangerous, there are no warnings when this occurs.

- Cortlandt Mnr, NY, USA

problem #50

Sep 282018

Prius

  • 200,000 miles
While driving lost of steering momentarily for several months but thought it was belt slippage. Today (9/28/ 2018) total lost of steering. Was able to get vehicle to side of road and shutoff ignition switch. Started vehicle again and had normal steering control again. After reviewing recalls noticed that Toyota had two voluntary recalls on same problem but have now removed them. What can be done for this problem. (xxxx) parts of this document have been redacted to protect personally identifiable information pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Smyrna, TN, USA

problem #49

Dec 252017

Prius

  • 158,000 miles
Vehicle's steering wheel begins to vibrate out of control when attempting turns. This violent shaking poses serious dangers to driver while making turns, and causes driver to pull off of road and completely turn car off. Problem noticeable for approximately 1 month intermittently before problem began occurring without fail every single time vehicle was driven. When taken to Toyota dealership in bloomington, in, mechanics said entire rack needed replacing, estimating a total much higher than value of car itself. No recall found for this problem, no paperwork provided to customer. Once customer paid for diagnostic charges and took vehicle back, power steering warning lights are permanently enabled and steering assist is completely off, causing turning to continue to pose threat, although steering wheel does not vibrate, yet.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #48

Sep 262016

Prius

  • 5 miles
I have Toyota Prius 2002 I was driving yesterday the steering had been making like a rubber-squeak noise when turned to the right at low speeds.I was driving, and the wheel started to sort of pulse in my hands like it was gaining/losing power assist.about 10 minutes later, failed. Big ps button on display, with the red triangle by the odometer. This morning I was driving the car when almost hate someone because a lost the control of the car and the steering was shaking.

- Collingdale, PA, USA

problem #47

Dec 182015

Prius

  • 100,060 miles
On Dec 18, 2015, driving at about 20 mph on a neighborhood street which curved left, the steering wheel on my 2002 Prius began shaking violently. I lost control of the car and struck a large landscaping rock. The car had $2233 in damages to the right front bumper, fender, wheel and tie rod. There were no injuries. After repair, the mechanic could not replicate the shaking. Prior to the accident, the Prius on rare occasion had brief episodes of steering wheel shaking, only while backing out of the driveway on cold mornings. In early Jan 2016 the steering vibration occurred again while driving on neighborhood streets and could be stopped only by turning the car off. We ceased driving the car. I talked to our Toyota dealer and were advised the probable cause was a defect in the electronic power steering system and to contact Toyota. I communicated by phone, email and letter with Toyota, provided a video of the shaking, and requested replacement of the power steering system. I got a case number and was scheduled for an inspection by Toyota at the dealer. Toyota by letter on 3/22/16 stated żwe did not find any evidence that this incident was the result of any type of manufacturing or design defect.ż when I picked up the vehicle, the violent steering shaking occurred in the dealer's parking lot and was witnessed by the technicians. This problem is well known to Toyota. In 2011 we received both a safety recall notice to replace the eps pinion nuts and a notice of warranty extension until Dec 2013 for problems related to unusual steering vibration. We had the eps pinion nuts replaced on 12/30/2011 under the safety recall. Many 2002 Prius are still on the road. As evidenced by the warranty extension Toyota knows about the power system flaws. My experience shows is dangerous to drive the car with these flaws. I request that Toyota be required to fix this problem.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #46

Feb 172016

Prius

  • 170,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Prius. While driving 55 mph, the steering wheel vibrated uncontrollably and the power steering warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic to be diagnosed. The contact was informed that the steering rack needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 00V285000 (steering). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure was intermittent. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 170,000.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #45

Nov 162015

Prius

  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the steering wheel shook in very cold weather, but operated normally once the vehicle warmed up. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 140,000.

- Scarborough, ME, USA

problem #44

Mar 302015

Prius

  • 147,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that when making turns or reversing at a slow speed, the steering wheel would shake violently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 147,000.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #43

Mar 052015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 137,000 miles
I was driving onto the freeway, turning right onto the ramp that circled into the southbound interstate when the a red hazard triangle popped up and the screen on my car stated ps error. The steering wheel locked for a bit but fortunately I was still able to steer. I got off on the next exit and was barely able to turn. I turned off the car and looked up the error code to find out it was power steering, I checked the fluids and everything was ok. Turned on the car and the ps error had disappeared, it drove normally the rest of the way home.

- Santa Ana, CA, USA

problem #42

Jan 022015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 124,000 miles
When in cold temperature the steering wheel will violently shake when making a turn at slow speeds.

- San Mateo, CA, USA

problem #41

Jan 082013

Prius

  • 55,080 miles
In a model 2002 Toyota Prius with less than 60000 miles, while starting out from park going into reverse the electric power steering violently started shaking and pulled the steering wheel from the drivers hands. This caused a temporary warning/caution light that quickly went out. After the incident the problem became more frequent, happening while driving at any speed and while stopped. Eventually the problem caused the steering assist to fail completely. When Toyota was contacted, they knew about the problem and said they had recalls on other year Prius models for the same issue. They reported the gear rack electronic sensor fails and the rack must be replaced but unfortunately the 2002 wasn't under the recall. When asked why, nobody seemed to know.

- Hyannis, MA, USA

problem #40

Sep 182014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 168,000 miles
Made a left turn out of my driveway after starting vehicle. Steering began to violently shudder and shake, causing temporary loss of control (my grip was lost on the wheel). I was able to grab the wheel more forcefully and regain control and complete the turn. Had this happened on an interstate ramp, I may not be here to file this complaint. According to the Toyota national service registry, my vehicle has already received the service covered under NHTSA campaign 11V304000 which makes me very, very very nervous. Please contact me for further details.

- Zionsville, IN, USA

problem #39

Jan 142014

Prius

  • 109,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that without warning, the steering shook violently when making a turn. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the steering rack and the nuts in the steering linkage needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the vehicle was previously serviced under NHTSA campaign number 11V304000 (steering). The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 109,000.

- Fort Lauderdale , FL, USA

problem #38

Jan 222014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 251,191 miles
Turned on car in cold weather (under 10degf). Started up and tried to turn right. Steering wheel shook very hard, fast, and loudly. Turned off car and restarted, did ok for one shallower turn. 50 feet later again tried to turn right and same thing happened. Let it shake for a few seconds then turned off car and restarted. Less than a minute after restart it happened again. After that left car off for a few hours. Restarted. Let car warm up for 2-3 minutes before moving. Drove straight out of driveway. Right turn 100ft later was ok. Problem did not recur on 30min drive. This is the second day I've had this problem. The first was a few weeks ago, also in very cold weather and also on a right turn when car was first started. So far I haven't had it happen on a left turn, but maybe that's just because I don't do one of those immediately on startup. I've never seen the problem if temps are above about 10 degrees F.

- Waltham, MA, USA

problem #37

Jan 062014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 143,769 miles
I was driving along the interstate I-75 returning from East ridge, tn, and the power steering light and warning lit-up on the screen panel. The steering wheel became very rigid while I was driving, and I had to clasp the steering wheel firmly to control the steering of the vehicle.

- Cleveland, TN, USA

problem #36

Nov 252013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 180,000 miles
Violent shaking in steering wheel upon ignition; sporadic jerky steering; repeated loss of power steering at various speeds including highway speeds. This seems to the same phenomenon that was the subject of a safety recall of 2001 priuses. The recall should be broadened.

- Denver, CO, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »