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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,252 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Toyota Prius brakes problems

brakes problem

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2004 Toyota Prius Owner Comments

problem #9

Oct 052010


  • 120,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Prius. While driving approximately 55 mph the vehicle accelerated on its own. The vehicle crashed into a concrete divider on the highway. The contact stated that the air bags did not deploy. The contact was able to drive the vehicle after the crash. The driver and the passengers sustained injuries to their back and neck and were under going therapy for their injuries. There was no police report filed. The contact stated that the crash caused damage to the front bumper and the front passenger side door which would not open. The manufacturer stated that an inspector would inspect the vehicle. The inspector stated that there was a problem with the ABS brakes. The contact received the report from the manufacturer and they did not indicate that there was a safety failure and were unable to provide further assistance. The body damage was repaired. The contact stated that she did not feel safe driving the vehicle after the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 120,000.

- Kennewick, WA, USA

problem #8

Feb 012010


  • 61,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Prius hybrid. While driving approximately 60 mph, the check engine warning light, and an unknown warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The dealer was notified and advised the vehicle was safe to drive; unless the temperature, brake or oil warning lights illuminated. The vehicle began to lose power and the anti-lock brake system warning light illuminated. The vehicle was maneuvered to the side of the highway. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The failures were related to the inverter water pump and the skid control electronic control unit (ECU). The inverter water pump was replaced. The failure occurred a second time. The vehicle was repaired for the malfunction. The failure and current mileages were 61,000.

- Mesquite, TX, USA

problem #7

Dec 012007


  • miles
Toyota Prius traction control system-if you are going up a hill and you loose traction due to snow and the car stops. You cannot ever go forward, if the tires attempt to spin at any level og gas/electric the RPM goes to zero. The only way to move the car is to back down the hill. Need I say more. The dealer agrees and stated Toyota never gave us a fix. We have this problem for years. I have talked to other Prius owners and they all say the same, you have to use your other car. Which I do. However my wife used the car last week and we had some minor snow and she was on a hill(going up) for 2 hrs before she was able to back down when morning traffic subsided. This is a 2004 Prius. This can be a dangerous situation for a person that is uncomfortable in backing down a hill.

- Northport, NY, USA

problem #6

Feb 142007

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles


- the contact called regarding the 2004 Toyota Prius. The contact stated he was traveling up a hill at 10-15 mph with icy road conditions and the anti-skid control engaged and all four wheels on the vehicle locked. The contact pressed the gas pedal. However, the vehicle would not move. The vehicle did not lose power. The contact stated he had to back the vehicle up in order for the wheels to eventually go forward. The contact called the dealer, tested a Prius and had the same type failure. The dealer stated that was the normal operation of the vehicle. The failure mileage was 49,000. Updated 03/19/07.

- East Pittsburg, PA, USA

problem #5

Sep 022006

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,997 miles
I turned left into driveway of a home- driveway has an incline. I turned off power and two children exited car. One passenger returned within five min and sat in front. I placed foot on brake. Brake felt "locked" with no give. I pressed power button with foot on brake, and placed gear in reverse. I let foot off brake to roll slowly out of driveway. When I attempted to brake to slow exit, my foot went all the way to floor--no power. I notice gear was neutral. Power would not turn off. Car was rolling closer toward a busy four lane street. I noticed the power button light color was red, and the following yellow warning indicators were lit: Brake system warning light, malfunction indicator lamp, anti-lock brake system warning light, slip indicator light. I depressed the emergency brake to stop. I told my 14 Y/O passenger to exit the car and when she did the master warning light came on while the above lights remained lit. The brake continued to depress to the floor. I again attempted to turn off the power without success. I exited the vehicle with my smart entry key in hand and as expected loud buzzing noise came on. I then contacted Toyota roadside assistance. The reference number is 269-568-6678. I called back later to change the reference number to 269-492-2066. I had asked for police assistance for traffic control, but the police did not show. On 9/6 a.M., jim at metro Toyota service, kalamazoo, mi called & I described the above to him. At 1530 on 9/6/06, I described my experience to marvin at Toyota customer relation. The case number he provided was 200609051137. This is the second like incident with this vehicle. I did not report the first incident to the NHTSA which occurred a few months after I took possession of the then new 2004 Toyota Prius. No reason was found for the first incident, by the same dealership service. The consumer stated the vehicle accelerated on its own. Also, when the consumer applied the brakes, the pedal became soft and went down to the floor. Updated

- Portage, MI, USA

problem #4

Sep 062005

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,391 miles
When trying to stop abruptly consumer brakes did not respond.

- La Jolla, CA, USA

problem #3

Nov 052005

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


The contact stated the ABS failed. The ABS and vsc lights flickered while slamming on the brakes and all four tires locked. The lights came on last week when the fuel was low in the vehicle. The ABS was still not working. He was taking the vehicle to the dealership today. Updated 1/25/2006 -

- Hilo, HI, USA

problem #2

Aug 212005

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,378 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Prius. The contact complained about brake problems. The contact stated the pedal hit a stop before locking the wheels to brake. The contact complained about the vehicle to the service dealership and they did check brakes on this vehicle as well as other vehicles of this make and model, but S it was a normal braking procedure with this vehicle. The dealership replaced the brake pads. The contact stated when he pressed the brakes, there was a minimum braking capability in stop and go traffic. The consumer hit a vehicle that was in front of his vehicle because he could not stop it. The contact did not have mechanical knowledge, and did feel this was a problem, even though the dealership stated there was no problem.

- Hartwood, VA, USA

problem #1

May 022004

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,500 miles
While driving under normal conditions, I experienced a major brake malfunction (brakes barely responded at all--only by pushing brake pedal to floor did I manage to slow down/stop vehicle). A continuous warning buzzer sounded, and the ABS warning light and brake warning light remained illuminated on dash. Vehicle had to be towed to nearest dealer. This could have led to a crash and injuries if traffic had been heavy. I believe this is a major safety issue. The problem was diagnosed as a "brake actuator" failure, and the part(s) are currently on backorder. The vehicle is a 2004 Toyota Prius.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

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