I took my 2006 Prius on a trip and at some point I drove for about 15 miles in unpaved road. The road was not really bumpy but it vibrated the car a little. About 10 miles into the ride in the unpaved road, after I pulled over for a 1 hour stop, I started the car again and all lights and the combination meter (with the speedometer, gas gauge, gear indicator...) were not working. All warning lights were not working also, except the check engine light and the turn lights (other lights like high beam, tire pressure, cruise control would not light up again, even when the car was started when the usually flash for a few seconds). I reversed the car and the rear camera was not working either. The central display was still working though, but the Trip information was not displaying the fuel consumption and the mileage since last refill stayed stuck in 113 miles even though I drove for about 100 miles on the way back from the trip. In the middle of the trip I parked and the car would not power off and the key stayed stuck in the slot. I managed to drive the car back to my house, where it will stay stopped for now, and by chance the power button worked to shut down the Prius this time. I have a few questions related to those events:

Since it all happened at same time, are all those problems related?

How to force the car to shut down if the power button is not working? Disconnecting the negative terminal the battery will work or this would make any further damage?

How can I fix the combination meter and the power off button?

Can I used the Torque App with a Bluetooth OBD2 adapter to see the fuel level and mileage?

  • I'm a ex-toyota tech who worked with that model year. Your best bet is to take it to a toyota mechanic or the dealership. It might be a loose component or a bad module. There isn't much you can do yourself.
    – race fever
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 20:29
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    I'm competent with electronics, so I can do this myself. My experience shows that dealership break other parts of overcharge services more that I make damage related to my lack of competence. Which component would be loose? Or which module could be bad? Can you describe how can I verify that? Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 21:06
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    Problem is you require Toyota's service programs to troubleshoot. Which are only available to shops.
    – race fever
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 21:52
  • I have the same issue on my 04 prius, there might be many reasons for that weird behaviour. In my case, I observed that whenever the 3 way coolant pump malfunctions or in the process of deteoration it happens. An easy way to fix this is: Commented May 27, 2019 at 21:22
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    1. As soon as you get into the car make sure that door light has come up or else your dash won't light up for sure, turn off the car immediately!! 2. Now, open the door, turn on the hazards, turn on the lights and a few secs later pump the break a few times. Your dash should light up immediately. Commented May 27, 2019 at 21:31

5 Answers 5


Follow up 10/4/2017

Since the incident reported below, I had the car diagnosed by Toyota and, as expected, they recommend replacing the instrument display unit (5 weeks to get the part and ~$900 in costs).

In the last month we have now experienced 3 more "no display" events and I have been able to get the display back using the following "improved" sequence:

  • Without stepping on the brake press the start button
  • Now press and hold the "info" button while turning the headlights on and off 3 times.
  • When the diagnostic screen appears on the console, press the start button without stepping on the brake.
  • Display comes on and you can now turn the car off and start normally with display.

I hope that information helps.

I have a 2005 Prius with ~60,000 miles. A couple of times over the years my wife has complained about not having instruments. On at least one occasion I believe the display was just very dim because she had the headlights on in daylight. I could never confirm or replicate the issue.

After a dinner out a few weeks ago I started the car and no panel. Restarting did no good. I drove home and the car would not shut off.

I held the start button down until the engine shut off but the touch screen display was still on. Not wanting to run down the auxiliary battery and not wanting to deal with it late at night, I tried a bunch of button presses and such. Finally, I tried inserting the physical "key" device into the slot in the dash. When I removed it, the display turned off as well.

Next day still no display. I tried a number of things to no avail. I saw some blurb on the internet about "low battery" being a possible cause so I decided to check the battery voltage as follows:

  • Put the car in aux mode by pressing start without stepping on the brakes.
  • Next to the touch display on the right press and hold "Info" while turning headlights on/off three times.
  • On the touch screen, select menu
  • Select "Vehicle Signal Check"

This displays the battery voltage and also turned the instrument display on!

I am a retired computer software/firmware developer and this looks like a software issue to me. I believe that putting the computer into diagnostic mode as described above probably did some sort of system reset and got everything working again. Further evidence is that a number of owners have complained that after replacing the instrument cluster the problem comes back after a period of time.

My wife now has the diagnostic check sequence written up and with the manual in the glove box. I will follow up if it ever happens again.


The symptoms point to a failed Combination Meter. Besides the speedometer, it also controls the power off button and the dashboard lights (except the check engine light). Apparently it can also be rebuilt, but I could not find how is this repair done. There are some eBay ads of people who do it for about $150. It may resume working randomly. To stop the engine, in case it is not stopping properly, holding the power button for 3 seconds may stop it. I just still don't understand on how the backup camera is not working.

EDIT: Tried the car this morning and it was working normally, except the fuel gauge that was displaying a level of gas higher than I expect (6 of 8 gallons after driving about 250 miles since last fill). If it keeps failing, I will look more on how to fix the Combination Meter.


I took my car in to Toyota and it was a bad combo meter they had to hold my car until the new meter came in because the mileage on the car had to match the new meter. They told me it would be around three weeks. Well it's been 5 weeks and now they tell me since my car is old the clips around the radio might be brittle and break and I would have to pay around 1000.00 to replace the clips. I told them I don't have the money to do that and I was told it would not look pleasing with spaces around the ac vents and the radio. If it wasn't for my son in law calling for a loaner car I would also be paying for a rental.

  • Don't trust dealers. They have to pay expensive rental for their locations and bonuses for their salespeople. All their money come for taking advantage of less informed people and even from some more informed like me. Fixing the combination meter should not cost more than $120 and take no more than one day. Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 11:31

There is a Service Advisory from Toyota on this. I got my combo meter replaced on the 2007 Prius at Toyota's expense. I think there is a time and mileage limit for that. If you are within the limits, then Toyota will fix the issue for free and offer a free rental while the car is in the workshop

  • Welcome to the site Joseph! Since service advisories are quite specific, can you add a link to the advisory? That will help the OP and community the most. Thanks! Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 0:58

I had a similar problem with my 2007 Prius. The dealer installed a new combination meter. That was about six months ago and it just started misbehaving again. The mileage display stopped working. I didn't check the backup camera. The other clue is that just before it failed I had turn the display off so I could clean the dust. When I turned it back on the mileage display did not work, however Environmentals and audio and display control pages all come up fine.

  • The dealer might have rebuilt your old one. The problem is in the lead-free soldering process used. Although environmentally friendly this soldering process lasts much less and break off due to vibration and temperature. Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 20:24

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