Prius Won’t Turn On: Why and What To Do?

Since its release in 1997, Toyota Prius has constantly proved that it’s the trendsetter in hybrid technology and competitive performance. Just like any complex machine though, it can also encounter troubles of its own.
If your Prius won’t turn on, the probable cause can be the key fob, battery, engine, ignition, or fuel system.
Related: Talk to Someone in Automotive

Why Is My Prius Not Turning On, and How To Fix It?

Your Prius isn’t turning on for various reasons. To start troubleshooting and what you can do about it, check the following details below:

Dying Key Fob

Prius is famous for its keyless ignition. It instead uses a key fob to turn on the vehicle. One sign that your key fob’s battery life has run out is when neither the lights nor the sound of your car work upon pressing the buttons.
It shouldn’t be a serious concern since the battery is mainly for locking and unlocking the vehicle. If the fob doesn’t work you can still use its manual key to open your car. Look for the button on its side, press it down and drag it forward to retract the key.
To start your car, enter the vehicle with the fob and press the power button. If it doesn’t start, try putting the fob closer to the power button. If it still doesn’t work, consider changing your key fob’s battery.

Faulty Ignition

Spark plugs and solenoids are essential parts of your car ignition. A spark plug initiates combustion to start your car seamlessly. At the same time, a solenoid is a coil wire that transmits energy from the battery to the ignition.
If you have the skill and tools, you can check if the spark plugs are screwed tightly into the cylinder head. If not, tighten it using a spark plug socket and a ratchet. In case the problem persists, try replacing them with new ones.
On the other hand, a faulty solenoid requires you to remove the whole ignition and detach the solenoid. If you find this hard, it’s better to seek professional help.

Drained Battery

Batteries give power for your car to turn on. One of the glaring signs of a dying battery is difficulty starting your car.
Using a battery tester, check your battery cranking amps (CA). A low CA can indicate a low electric current caused by cold weather or the age of your battery.
Try jump-starting your car. If it turns on, the culprit is most likely the battery, and you need to change it. Additionally, keep the terminals and connectors clean so that electricity can flow without blockage.

Fuel System Problem

Your car’s probably not working because of a clogged fuel injection or a faulty fuel pump. Clogged injectors and pump failure happen because of the following reasons:
  • Rusting and corrosion over time
  • Particles in poor-quality gasoline
  • Electrical faults
Fuel injectors supply fuel to the internal combustion system. On the other hand, a fuel pump transports fuel from the tank to the engine. Any problems in these components can prevent your car from starting because of insufficient fuel in the engine.
You need to remove your fuel injector and have it professionally cleaned to fix it. As for the bad fuel pump, you’ll most likely need to replace it. To avoid these, ensure that you fill your tank with high-quality gasoline and conduct regular checkups on your fuel injection system.

Blown Fuse

In rare instances, a blown fuse can also prevent your car from starting. A car’s fuse protects its electrical equipment. When damaged, it can hinder the needed power from reaching the ignition.
Find your fuse box to check which fuse is blown. You will need needle nose pliers to remove the fuse individually. Examine the fuses by looking at the wiring at its side. If you see any signs of damage like melting or disconnection, that fuse is most likely the culprit.
Remove the fuse and start your car again. If you often get this problem, check your vehicle for electrical issues.

Damaged Engine

It is the probable cause you might not want to have. In this instance, a professional mechanic should check and verify if it’s the reason why your car isn’t working.
Common causes of engine damage are overheating, driving over maximum speed, faulty timing chain, insufficient fueling, or hydrolock.
Engine damage is often irreversible and expensive. Depending on the damage’s extent, consider the total repair price versus a car upgrade.

How Can I Keep My Prius In Good Condition?

Prius is a hybrid car that runs on fuel and electricity. To keep using its full potential, keep an eye on the following car components:

Car Fluids

Your car fluids include fuel, engine oil, brake fluids, and coolants.
Though Prius can operate by electricity, its components still need these fluids to perform its various functions. Most car damage is caused by insufficient or overfilling of car fluids. So, make sure your car’s fluid is refilled and at the proper levels.


Hybrid cars have two batteries. The bigger one is the electric type, lasting for around seven to ten years. While the smaller one is your 12V battery for typical cars that last between three to five years.
When fully charged, hybrid cars can travel for around 15-50 miles before converting to fuel. Drain your electric battery and recharge it fully to keep it in top condition.
Use a battery blanket to cover your batteries or keep them plugged in to maintain their operating temperature in cold weather.

Automotive Connectors

Your car is made up of bigger components to perform its essential function, but the wirings, plugs, connectors, etc., keep these big sections intact and working.
By now, we know that a tiny bit of error in the fuse can render your car useless. So make sure your car’s plugs and connectors are in good shape. If you find any faulty components, make sure to replace them immediately.


The Toyota Prius is a promising hybrid vehicle that offers a lot of perks. However, this comes with making sure that your components are in good shape.
To avoid issues like your Prius not turning on, keep your car maintenance up to date. This would also help you avoid expensive repairs in the long run.