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The Toyota Prius, just like most other Toyota models, is well-known for its excellent reliability. With that being said, the Prius has a long history, and not every single model year has as good of a reliability as Toyota shoppers have come to expect. Here’s a look at the three worst Toyota Prius model years according to what their owners had to say about them.

The 2010 Toyota Prius has a lot of issue reported by owners.
2010 Toyota Prius | Toyota

1. The 2008 Toyota Prius had a lot of problems with its lights

In terms of the number of issues that owners reported, the 2008 version of the Prius had the second-most issues out of any other model year, according to CarComplaints.

Owners on the site reported numerous problems concerning multiple areas of the car, but there was some disagreement between what owners on the site reported and what the NHTSA, or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reported. 

The most common problem on the 2008 Prius was related to its lights, and the NHTSA agreed there. However, the NHTSA said that the second most common problem was the brakes. CarComplaints, on the other hand, said that the second most common issue was related to the engine.

Regardless, the most commonly reported problem overall had to do with the fact that the Prius’ headlights would malfunction. This happened after owners had put about 90,000 to 110,000 miles on their car. Owners fixed this issue mainly by replacing their headlights, and this cost about $500 to $600. 

2. The 2010 Toyota Prius had the most problems overall

Toyota redesigned the Prius with the 2010 model year, and that seemed to have given the car a variety of new problems. It was the most problematic model year overall, and once again, there was some disagreement about the car’s most troublesome areas. The NHTSA said that the brakes had the most issues, while CarComplaints noted that the engine was the source of the most problems. 

That being said, owners on the site agreed about the Prius’ most common engine problem, and that had to do with its excessive oil consumption. This happened at an average mileage of about 110,000 miles.

Most owners weren’t sure about the cause of this problem, but many other owners decided to fix this problem by replacing or rebuilding the engine. On average, that cost owners about $1,900. 

On top of that, owners also reported a significant amount of issues related to the car’s headlights. As a result of those problems and more, the site gave the 2010 Prius the “Avoid Like The Plague” badge.

3. The 2011 Toyota Prius had some expensive issues

Compared to the 2010 version of the hybrid car, the 2011 version had far fewer reported issues, but it had plenty of expensive problems. Once again, the two most commonly reported problems by owners had to do with the engine and with its headlights. The NHTSA once again said that the brakes were a common problem area.

Just like with the 2010 Prius, the 2011 Prius’ most common issue was excessive oil consumption. Owners reported that happening at about 113,000 miles, which is similar to what owners reported for the prior model year. Owners weren’t sure about how to fix this problem, but many chose to replace the engine. That cost an average of $3,000, which made it one of the most expensive repairs for any Prius model year.

Another expensive repair had to do with the warning lights for the traction control and ABS turning on. This issue happened at about 114,000 miles, and owners had to pay an average of $2,600 to fix the problem.


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