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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
15 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
6 / 0
Average Mileage:
42,068 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.

2005 Toyota Prius brakes problems

brakes problem

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2005 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #38

Jan 292010


  • 135,000 miles


I am writing to express my concern over a one car accident in which I was the driver. This accident occured on a snow covered road while on my way to work. I was driving a 2005 Toyota Prius. This is the same explanation I gave to the police and to the insurance company. I was driving somewhere around 40mph when I applied the break. When I did this I did not stamp on it harshly rather in a normal break application. Immediately my car slammed across the road very very fast, and it rolled over on its side. My seatbelt held me firmly in place but I was tilted with my head down by the passanger seat and my legs upwards to toward the top of the steering wheel. I remained in that position for about 20 or 25 min.unable to move until the emergency squad arrived. I was transported to the hospital in the ambulance. My car was declared to be totalled. My concern is that the insurance company keeps saying that the car is not on a recall list but my acciident experience is curiously similar to what they are saying is the problem with the 2010 Toyota hybrids.. I think they should be investigating all possible vehicle issues. How can I persue this" do you have any recommendations"

- New Hartford, NY, USA

problem #37

Jan 152006


  • 500 miles
I noticed a problem with breaking. It would lunge forward if I hit a manhole cover or any bump. I complained to the Toyota dealer and they told me it was normal because of the ABS. It didn't seem normal and I've gotten used to it but I was frightened the first few times.

- Milton, MA, USA

problem #36

Feb 042010


  • 10 miles
Brakes stop working intermittently when applied going over rough surfaces such as railroad tracks and potholes. This results in a brief suspension of braking activity. Occurs each time the above conditions are met and brakes are applied. This has happened since I purchased the vehicle new. Since I always reduce speed in these potential situations, no accidents have occurred, but it does result in an intermittent loss of braking which could result in rear end collisions. Previously my 1999 Chevrolet SUV did the same thing and I was told it was an inherent characteristic of the antilock breaking system.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #35

Feb 032010


  • 65,000 miles


When crossing over uneven surfaces or during wet road conditions, the brakes will occasionally momentarily disengage while the pedal is pressed down. During such conditions on a handful of occasions, I came very close to rear-ending the vehicle stopped in front of me. When I heard about the 2010 Prius brake issue, I immediately identified with the problem which I've experienced since I bought my 2005 Prius as a new vehicle. My prior vehicle was this was an all-wheel drive so I assumed it was a "quirky Prius thing", but given the recent news, I believe this may in fact be a defect similar to that described for the 2010 Prius. Each time it occurs, there is a feeling of brief loss of control of the vehicle which is frightening. The date provided is the most recent incident which occurred as I crossed over a bumpy stretch of road with uneven paving.

- Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #34

Dec 152009


  • 44,500 miles
Rare but occasional, sporadic brake "failure" in 2005 Toyota Prius. Last occurrence I remember was a few months ago. I was backing slowly into a parking slot on a lot at a store. When I stepped on the brake pedal, it felt like there was no braking for just a second or 2, then brakes engaged properly. We had driven several miles, so engine was well warmed up. It was cold out, so heater blower was blowing warm air.

- St Louis, MO, USA

problem #33

Aug 312005


  • 1 miles
I am an owner of a Toyota Prius 2005. After reading the investigation about the 2010 Prius brake problems I feel I experience the same problem in my car. When brake sometimes it feels as though the car momentarily speeds up before the braking action occurs. It is brief (about a second in duration) and then the car brakes as expected. I have asked the service department of Toyota dealerships I've had my car serviced at several times about the sensation and was told this was normal as the car switch regenerating the batteries to when the hydraulic brakes are engaged and nothing to worry about. I understand Toyota has admitted a problem in the 2010 model year but I feel the same problem exists in my car and would like to make sure that the investigation is not just for 2010 model year of the Toyota Prius.

- North Andover, MA, USA

problem #32

Dec 152009


  • 50,000 miles


My 2005 Prius has periodically experienced the momentary loss of braking associated with the 2010 model. The problem has usually occurred on a bumpy downgrade, with the brakes applied. When the car encountered an especially large bump, or sometimes on level ground when it hit a pothole, it suddenly felt as if it were airborne. This sensation was very brief, and the vehicle almost immediately regained braking effectiveness. However, it was disconcerting.

- Trumbull, CT, USA

problem #31

Dec 292009


  • 51,000 miles
We have a 2005 Toyota Prius that was involved in an accident as a result of the car taking off on it's own and the brakes not working. The Prius only stopped when it hit another car and then we were unable to get the car turned off. This was not due to the floor mat recall. The car was in park and took off, would not stop even with both feet on the brakes, it stopped only upon impact. Literally was seconds away from pinning a person inbetween the two vehicles. This could have led to a death or serious injury. Since then the car was repaired but Toyota engineers test drove it for about 10 miles and of course it didn't happen to them so they indicated there was no problem. We had 51,000 miles on the car before this happened. Currently the car sits in the driveway not being used because of the defect. This model is not part of the recall yet but obviously is defective. We have two additional 2007 Prius models in the family that are of concern. This is of major concern as nothing is being done to correct or address these models, only the newer Prius models. We see Toyota as ignoring the concerns on this model. It is a huge safety hazard as when you look around on the roads, many of these vehicles are still in use.

- Greenfield, WI, USA

problem #30

Oct 152008


  • 30,000 miles
When approaching a light, I changed lanes into the left turn lane, applied the brake to slow down, let up on the brake to go over a depressed area where a pipe was being replaced and the road repaired. I then applied the brakes firmly to stop the vehicle. Unfortunately, nothing happened. The traction control light went on when I went over the bump and it took about 2 seconds of heading towards the back of a truck for the breaks to engage at all. When they finally engaged, the car stopped very quickly (as I would expect) and I was almost rear ended by the person behind me. I have had the brakes not engage on one other incident that also involved switching lanes and a bump. Traction control and ABS on this Prius need to be replaced with something that will not kill. I was very disappointed that the "braking problem" was "limited" to 2010 priuses. It is not. This issue has clearly occurred twice for me in the past 5 years of moderate driving (about 10K miles per year). To address the issue, Toyota told me that I was making it up, it never happened, I must have not pressed the brake pedal. I never released my foot from the pedal and the car stopped just fine after a significant delay. They did not replace any parts or make any changes to the vehicle.

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #29

Jan 062005

Prius 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
Feb. 4, 2010 -- similar to what is being said about the ABS brakes in a 2010 Toyota Prius not working properly if the vehicle has hit a pothole or is going over wash-board type surfaces, I have noticed that my 2005 Prius has done the same thing when I go over very rough/choppy road surfaces. This has happened since I bought it brand new in Dec. 2004. I never thought much about it until the recent reports of the 2010 model. I just chalked it up to the wheels bouncing in reaction to the surface.

- Dracut, MA, USA

problem #28

Jan 012010


  • 91,000 miles


My 2005 Prius has the same braking problem that has been identified in the news as only occurring in the 2010 model. Anytime I am braking and hit an uneven road surface I feel a loss of my ability to brake. It seems like the car stops braking if you hit a pothole or bump while you are pressing the brake. It only lasts for a few seconds then the car starts to brake again.

- Topeka, KS, USA

problem #27

Jan 012006


  • miles
Please be advised that the braking problem in the Toyota Prius is not a 2010 model problem only. I complained to my dealer at least 3 years ago that my 2005 Prius lurched forward when braking on bump or even a manhole cover. They did not consider it a serious problem at the time. Your investigation needs to go back to earlier models!

- Farrell, PA, USA

problem #26

Dec 072007


  • 25,000 miles
I have a 2005 Toyota Prius. While driving my Prius at a low rate of speed, under 5 miles per hour, in the rain, I was unable to stop the vehicle. The brakes ceased to work. I glided into the back of a very large SUV. While his car was not damage and neither of us were injured my car crumpled. There was no reason for this accident to occur other than the brakes not engaging. I am very very concerned about driving my car in the rain in stop and go traffic. The dealership has told me repeatedly there is nothing wrong with the Prius braking system. I have seen discussion boards were many people were complaining about this exact same issue.

- Glendale, CA, USA

problem #25

Jan 012010


  • miles
2005 Toyota Prius - when applying brake lightly in the phase of slowing down, as I go over a defect in the road, the car speeds up immediately until I put heavy pressure on the brake and the car stops. This has happened several times. The dealer has test driven the car and has not been able to reconstruct the defect which is intermittent. Their response is disbelief! approximate incident date is latest date but problem has been there all along.

- Cumberland, RI, USA

problem #24

Dec 152009


  • 80,000 miles
Temporary loss of speed control when hitting uneven surface (pothole) during braking. Has occurred on at least two or three occasions recently (based on my recollection following announcement of braking issue with 2010 Toyota Prius). I was able to regain control of the car with no other consequences (stayed on road; didn't hit another car or pedestrian).

- South Orange, NJ, USA

problem #23

Jan 012005


  • 500 miles
The Prius braking problem is not limited to 2010 models. I have a 2005 Prius and have noticed that after applying the brakes, if the car moves over an uneven or slick surface, the brakes seem to disengage for a moment. An example is applying the brakes while traveling over a crosswalk stripe that has been moistened by fog or rain. The car seems to lurch forward as the brakes seem to disengage and the slip indicator light comes on. Then the brakes come back on. This can be somewhat disconcerting and could be hazardous if there were an obstacle or pedestrian immediately ahead.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #22

Jan 182010


  • 83,000 miles
Toyota Prius braking issues - pre 2010 models. On Jan 18th, while approaching a traffic light on wet pavement, I applied the brakes on my 2005 Prius and felt what appeared to be a slight delay in the brakes engaging. I firmly believe this contributed to my sliding out into the intersection and hitting another vehicle. Had I stopped an inch or two earlier I would not have hit the other vehicle. Toyota has admitted to its dealers that there are braking issues with its 2010 model and I believe these issues may go back to previous models also. The hybrid system has not changed significantly in the past 5 to 6 years. Toyota should be required to thoroughly test this system on all Prius models.

- Dumfries, VA, USA

problem #21

Mar 012005


  • 1,000 miles
I read lots of news reports yesterday that the 2010 Prius has a braking issue when run over speed bumps. My 2005 Prius has a similar behavior which semi-known cause which might explain this, while being slightly dangerous in another way. When one drives a 2005 Prius too fast over a speed bump, or through another situation which causes the car to think one of its wheels is slipping or spinning at a different rate than the others, the car temporarily (as I believe is in the instruction manual) flashes a briefly appearing indicator light on the front panel indicating it is slipping, and temporarily cuts back on engine power. Avoiding this requires knowing the driving behavior of the Prius, and I wonder if this is the behavior certain 2010 Prius owners may be noting. {if one is looking at the road and scared by the sudden drop in engine power, one may never look down at the dash to see the indicator flash for 1-2 seconds either.} normally this is might seem like reasonable, but this becomes potentially extremely hazardous should one try to make a sharp right turn onto a higher-speed main road (40 mph+) from a dead stop on a side road with a high rate of acceleration to attempt merge into high-volume, fast-moving traffic. In such cases (especially if water is present, but even if the road is dry), I have had the anti-skid feature kick in and cut back on engine power for a half-second or so, which risks stalling the car temporarily in front of an oncoming vehicle. As a result, I try not to do any maneuvers like this, even though other cars often can "burn rubber" a bit and do this. Nothing has been done to attempt to correct the issue, as it is presumed to be normal behavior for the car, and I never had a car with anti-skid abilities before. Seeing this was common for me at first, but is now somewhat rare (less than once/month) due to changing my driving habits. (MY2005 Prius lacks vehicle stability control; but has the standard anti-skid safety feature.)

- Coral Springs, FL, USA

problem #20

May 152008


  • 38,000 miles
I drive a 2005 Toyota Prius. I recently heard about Toyota admitting there is a problem with the braking system. I have experienced this problem in my driving. When I either begin braking or have been braking and hit a pothole or rough pavement, it feels like the Prius stops braking momentarily and then quickly resumes. The duration is maybe a second, but a lot can happen in a second. Luckily this lapse in braking hasn't happened when there has been a car right in front of me. I think if it did, I would hit the car because I have no control of this braking lapse. I am concerned about this and if this is a defect that could be fixed, why wouldn't it be fixed. This has been an ongoing issue from when I first bought the Prius in 2008. I didn't think about complaining until I just read the news article recently.

- Brentwood, CA, USA

problem #19

Jan 012010


  • miles
Temporary loss of braking when going over a pothole or rippled surface. I have reported this twice to the Toyota dealer, but was told this is just the way ABS works. The New York times reports today this is a problem with the 2010 Prius, but this has been happening in my 2005 Prius since the beginning.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

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