Edmunds Answers



  • MrShift@Edmunds 09/22/09 9:16 pm PST

    You must be replying to another question somewhere. We can't know where the original question was, so why don't you just describe your problem to us. You can reply to this inquiry and stay in this question by clicking on "answer this question" below. Don't start a new question when you want to reply.

  • fatmando 09/22/09 9:46 pm PST

    it's probably jsut the smug.

  • getitinwriting 09/22/09 10:04 pm PST

    I actually did reply to the original question here. I was attempting to address a question directly to the user who opened that thread (clicked on their profile first), and after discovering that wasn't possible on these forums, I also realized there wasn't any way to delete my post. Sorry for the confusion....I searched for an "edit post" or "delete post" function, but apparently that's not an option. :(

  • yiorgo 09/24/09 5:05 pm PST

    Toyota Corporate arranged for a different delearship to inspect the car and give a 2nd opinion. They found everything to be normal, including the smell. "That's the normal smell for a Prius," we were told. Well, I don't consider it "normal" for us to have to shower and change our clothes every time we drove that car.

    In talking with the various people at the different dealerships, we learned others have complained about the same issue, and that the smell is more severe in hot weather. This may be why we didn't notice it for the first few months, but once summer hit the stench became unbearable. Also, we wondered that if it made our clothes and hair stink, perhaps we were inhaling possibly harmful substances.

    We contemplated contacting an attorney and perhaps persuing a Lemon Law complaint (as Toyota Corporate suggested we do), but we decided to try talking once more with our dealership (whose service department, by the way, were very cooperative and sympathetic, even though they would not (or could not officially) admit that there was indeed a problem). Rather than talk to the service dept again, we instead spoke to the Sales Manager. He politely listened to our story, but didn't comment one way or the other about the Prius. His intent was to keep a long-time loyal customer happy, so he offered to trade the stinky 2009 Prius for a 2009 Camry Hybrid with similar odometer mileage. We had to kick in a few thousand dollars more because the Camry was more expensive and better equipped than the Prius, but we were happy with this arrangement.

    We do miss the Prius. It was a fun little car to drive, and we miss getting 50 MPG, but there is no way we would want a car that made us and our clothes smell so badly, and perhaps even exposed us to hazardous airborne materials. Though the Camry Hybrid "only" gets 34 MPG, it is a much more solid car, more luxurious, quiter ride -- and most importantly it doesn't make us smell like we spent the day working in auto service garage or rubber factory.

  • getitinwriting 09/24/09 8:02 pm PST

    Interesting. I live in Phoenix, where it's almost always hot. But my parents and three friends each drive Priuses, and none of theirs smell like mine.

    My experience with my dealer is almost identical to yours. The svc manager is backing me up, and they're talking about trading mine for a 2010 (no '09s left), but they're still tap dancing around the issue of whether I'd have to come up with more money. Meanwhile, a field svc tech is coming to evaluate it tomorrow, and the dealership's general mgr has placed a call to someone at corporate.

    What's strange is, I got a loaner Prius today that smells too, though not nearly as strongly (my eyes aren't burning or anything). Maybe I'm now just very sensitized to that odor. That said, I've driven my folks' car often and never smelled this before.

    Bottom line seems to be that Toyota is aware of this and don't want to admit to it.

  • yiorgo 09/30/09 4:24 pm PST

    <<I live in Phoenix, where it's almost always hot.>>

    Me too.

    << But my parents and three friends each drive Priuses, and none of theirs smell like mine.>>

    Are the other Priuses 2009 models also? I also know other people with OLDER Priuses who do not have this odor problem. Maybe it's only the 2009s?

    << a field svc tech is coming to evaluate it tomorrow, and the dealership's general mgr has placed a call to someone at corporate. >>

    They did the same thing with me. 2 dealerships -- including a field service engineer -- checked out the car and proclaimed it perfect. That's when corporate refused to do anything further.

    << What's strange is, I got a loaner Prius today that smells too, >>

    We also got a loaner/rental 2009 Prius when our other car was in the shop, and this loaner had the exact same problem, infusing our clothes and hair with a rubbery / stinky odor.

    << I've driven my folks' car often and never smelled this before. >>

    Are your parents and friends Priuses in Phoenix?

    << Bottom line seems to be that Toyota is aware of this and don't want to admit to it. >>

    I agree. When I spoke to corporate, they told me I was the only person who has ever complained about this. Since you apparently contacted them after me, did they tell you the same thing?

    One word of caution: As I mentioned previously, we swapped the Prius for a 2009 Camry Hybrid. At first, we thought the Camry did not have the odor problem, but after driving it for a few months we now realize that it has the exact same issue, just not as bad. With the Prius, I could smell the odor on the driver from 6 ft away. With the Camry, I need to be within a few inches of their hair or shirt to smell it -- but it's definitely the same smell.

    So now I'm wondering, is it all Toyota hybrids that have this issue, or is it all Toyota cars in general?

  • texasprius 10/26/09 8:21 pm PST

    I own a 2008 Toyota Prius and noticed the exact same smell that you all are describing, a plastic interior smell. Although my Prius interior smell does not seem to be as sharp as some others.

    However, I am writing you all to inform you that this smell is a Toyota issue not a Prius issue. Back in 2000 my mother purchased a Camry and the same smell has such a strong plastic odor and this smell did leave a lingering plastic smell on clothing. I had to refrain from riding in the vehicle because at that time in my life migraines were present and for anyone that has ever experienced migraines, these smells would be daggers to my headache.

    Then when I purchased the 2008 Prius I noticed the smell again, although this vehicle's interior smell is not as strong as the 2000 Camry.

    So again, its a Toyota Corporation thing regarding the interior smell, and don't let them fool you.


  • atlanta_prius 05/03/10 6:39 pm PST

    I, too, have that problem. Unfortunately, I don't have an answer yet. My dealer agreed with me, but Toyota Corporate told me "We don't warranty smell" after wasting several hours and subtley trying to get me to upgrade to a 2010.

    I just called them again and am determined to get a solution. I will post it here. Last time I talked to them, Toyota said that they didn't usually have this problem in hot, dry climates, (they specifically mentioned "like Phoenix"), so the other things people have posted here are very interesting to me.

  • donny9 03/29/11 11:08 pm PST

    Very similar story here. I bought my Camry Hybrid in the fall of '07 ('08 model) and started smelling this odor that spring---thought maybe it was due to some cheap plastic floor mats I had purchased. I live in Florida, very warm summers, mild winters. I went by a used car dealership tonight as I've been thinking about selling the car due to the odor. My clothes reak for about an hour or so after driving it on a hot or warm day. I've cleaned the carpets and leather, etc. trying to get rid of the odor. A guy at the dealership had worked at a Toyota dealership in the past and mentioned that some hybrids from Toyota experience this due to the filter that handles the switching from battery to engine while the car is driving (not sure if I described that correctly). I asked if I could change that filter, and he thought the smell would return a few months later.

    Not sure what to do----I'm very tired of this smell, but I love the car, great mileage (about 36.5 mpg city), etc. Any luck with your dealerships? I'd like to sell it on the private market, but not sure if someone else wants this problem. Maybe my dealership will trade in the car.

  • pixie66 05/04/11 8:42 am PST

    omg........my mom's car has that smell. It gives me a migrane, and has acutally made my daughter throw up. My daughter refuses to ride in my mother's car. I read somewhere else....another blog that sometimes the a/c filter needs to be replaced and system flushed. It is a plastic smell, and you can smell it on my mom as soon as she walks in the door. Going to the dealer today........doesn't look promising. It is disgusting!

  • greenman3 09/14/11 6:20 pm PST

    I have a 2006 Prius and have been fighting this smell for a couple years.

    Here is what is causing the nasty smell.

    Under your back seat are the batteries.

    Try smelling in your trunk by the spare tire.

    These are enclosed in a steel box and vented to the rear passenger side of the car's wheel well. On top of thes batteries are (2) plastic tube vents that connect each of the battery cells together. Part # 28876-21020 you need (2) at $80.95 ea. You can not see these vents without taking the rear seats out and taking the steel battery housing apart. Real pain.

    Even though the batteries are under warranty Toyota says these are not covered?

    These tubes get sticky and smelly as they degrade. I took them out and 5 days latter the smell is greatly reduced. It takes time because there is some sticky material left on the batteries and this need to evaporate.

    Toyota took 3 days to get the 2 parts in and when I went to install them I found one of the new vents was sticky and smelly. I am waiting for a replacement. They must have a production problem on these parts.

    We need to fight Toyota on this repair. This should be covered under warranty. Who knows what chemical we have been breathing. They are playing dumb. There are postings about this on internet so this is not an unusual thing.

    I think you are better off having the dealer do this work rather than doing it your self.

    Good Luck

  • yay4jesus 05/18/13 1:58 pm PST

    I bought a clean 2005 in October and have been trying lots of different
    things to get rid of the smell that I couldn't figure out! I'm soooo
    glad I ran across this thread!!! Please tell me someone has received a
    solution!!!! Thanks!


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