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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 1 of 5)

problem #98

Sep 092014


  • 85,483 miles


While slowing our 2005 Prius to make a turn into a parking lot the brakes failed to respond normally. Warning lights came on to indicate the ABS/vsc had a problem. Took it to a repair shop to have it diagnosed, driving it to the shop was hazardous, very touchy and scary to drive. They said it needed a computer assembly, skid control and stroke sensor assembly to repair the problem. Over $2000 in parts alone. Considering my options now. Sell and never buy Toyota again would be one option. If this had happened at highway speed and we needed to slow or stop quickly we may have had an accident! (issue not covered by warranty) issues like labels for tire loads covered, ridiculous!

- Florence , MT, USA

problem #97

Feb 142014


  • 155,000 miles
Traction control engaged on a hill with light snow cover completely stopping the wheels and preventing any forward motion, creating a dangerous situation. Pedestrians had to push the car up the hill while the accelerator was pressed to get to the top. Backing would have placed the car in a dangerous position with oncoming 50 mph cross traffic. There should be an override for situations such as this to enable some forward motion to be maintained even if there is some wheel slippage. Occurred Friday 14 Feb 2014. This has occurred in the past on gravel driveways and other roads. This instance was by far the most troubling since pedestrians were involved.

- Beavercreek, OH, USA

problem #96

Mar 082012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 97,370 miles
I was on the freeway far right lane moving onto an interchange to another freeway when traffic suddenly stopped ahead. I slowed in preparation to stop with plenty room to do so. The car behind me was too close and rear ended my car. After the impact, my brakes failed and I ran into the car ahead even though I should have been able to stop in time, causing significant damage to the front of my car in addition to the rear damage.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #95

May 262011


  • 103,000 miles


I rolled slowly (<1 mph) uphill to the parking slot (L.a. code, 2%grade down away from buildings) up to the parking cement stop, and was ready to shut it down. The engine started to race, about to go over the cement stop when I put my foot on the brake. The car continued over the cement stop. I pushed harder on the brake and the car started to drive over the sidewalk. Then the car drove through the plate glass of the studio and then came to a stop inside. I put the car into neutral and tried to turn the car 'off'. the car's engine was still on after several tries to turn it off and I had my foot off the brake and on the floor. Then the car took a turn to the left and drove through the wall (my foot was still on the floor). I got out of the car without taking it out of neutral and it was still "on". I took the key with me to the middle of the room (I used the keyless ignition) so the car should have "chimed" because; the passenger side door was open, I was out of the car, and the car was still left "on". however, the car did not chime (indicating it did not detect I was 12 feet away). My teacher came up to the shattered glass window of the studio at the same time the security officer for the MINImall a few minutes after I got out of the car. I was looking for my insurance card in my purse when the three of us witnessed the car "rev" again and the wall began to shatter with plaster and wooden studs falling around the car with no one driving (the car was in neutral). Because of the movement of the car, without a driver and in the wall, the security guard tried to get people out of the building. The towing company could not 'pull' the vehicle out of the wall with their tow truck for more then 20 minutes so, I gave my car key to the police officer and he gave it to the towing company. The man from the towing company drove the car out of the wall and out of the studio.

- Pasadena , CA, USA

problem #94

Aug 012011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 85,300 miles
Brakes on 2005 Toyota Prius started intermittently acting up about a year ago, after six years of no problems. Observed symptoms were extreme jerkiness of brake operation despite constant pressure on brake pedal. Symptoms observed at any speed, but especially noticeable at slow speeds (coming to a final stop, such as at a traffic light, or in reverse backing out of driveway). When applying brakes at highway speeds, jerkiness felt like alternate over braking / under braking. Symptoms were quite scary the first times it happened. Had personal mechanic check out brakes. Test drive confirmed problem, but he was unable to find anything wrong with hydraulic brake system. Since problem was intermittent, we decided to see what happened. Problem continued intermittently, gradually increasing in frequency to the point in the last month where it was happening much more often than not. Took car to Toyota dealer for diagnosis. Problem was not evident on day of service. They checked computer for stored error codes, and found none. Rear brake drums showed slight wear and were out of adjustment, so drums were cleaned and turned and brakes adjusted. No difference in observed behavior; by end of the next day, jerky behavior noted as bad as it had ever been. Took car back to dealer. They replaced the stroke sensor even though there was no stored error code. This appears to have fixed the problem, since there has been no recurrence of problem in a week or driving since repair. Brakes feel totally normal again, for the first time in a year. Note on diagnosis procedure: The dealer seemed to initially discount my detailed, written description of the problem, and reacted only to their observations. While understandable, it is frustrating to the owner and could lead to a serious problem not getting fixed. I feel that the symptoms as described to them pointed directly to the stroke sensor and it should have been replaced on that basis.

- Ashland, OR, USA

problem #93

Jun 062011


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds he noticed the engine light, the ABS, and the brake light illuminated. The vehicle then started to make a loud clunking noise and then when decelerating he noticed that the ABS starting to kick in when it shouldn't. the vehicle was then taken to a dealer and they advised him that the computer had malfunctioned on the ABS system and the right front wheel had locked up. The vehicle has not been repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they advised him they will escalate the failure. The failure and current mileages were approximately 110,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- South Riding , VA, USA

problem #92

Apr 142011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 62,000 miles


Were driving a 2005 Toyota Prius, when the brakes suddenly started behaving erratically, would not depress when pressure was applied. All ABS /vsc lights came on, drove to the nearest dealership (glendale, ca Toyota). They said that the brakes had short circuited and needed to be replaced. ($2500 part), subsequently they said that the skid control ECU was also gone and had to be fixed. This was another $1500 part. On reading other complaints, this sounds like a major and common issue, does not appear that Toyota is addressing or even reviewing the problem. This is a single owner car, all maintenance service followed and with only 62,000 miles on the car.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #91

Mar 272011


  • 119,000 miles
Note: The date above does not reflect first date of occurance. This is the event date that led to Toyota admitting something is wrong with the car. Please read narrative: On three occasions the car has died while being parked at work and at home. On one occasion the car died in my garage. After the vehicle was jumped it seemed fine. No lights were left on nor were any electrical devices plugged into the accessories. When it started up the car stated that the parking brake was not properly engaged and the vehicle needed to be moved to a level surface. It was in my driveway. Another time the car did the same thing, dying at work in the airport employee parking lot. The car required being jump started and again it gave the same message. A co-worker stated that they had heard the car alarm go off at one point about an hour prior to shift change. Both times the vehicle was checked and the report was "nothing was wrong with the car." Most recently on 3/27/2011 the same thing occurred. This time when jump starting the battery the car's engine started and the car lunged forward at me with lights and alarm sounding. I was unable to shut down the alarm and went into the car and pressed the power button to shut the engine down. When I powered the engine back up the car alarm was again sounding and all the lights on the dash were illuminated. Powered it down and up again and this time no audible alarm but the exclamation mark in the triangle was illuminated as well as the message about the parking brake. I powered it down and up one last time and, with the message still illuminated, drove off. The message shut down when I got to the security gate. Toyota tested the vehicle on 4/1/2011 and reported that C1300 and C2300 faults were found (ECU and ABS actuator). As the car is out of warranty, cost will be about $3,000. (more info exists but no room here)

- Alpha, IL, USA

problem #90

Nov 212010


  • 50,000 miles
We have noticed repeatedly (a dozen or more times) over three years of owning this car and 100K miles, that as we brake going over a bumpy section of road, the braking system fails and the car actually accelerates for one or two seconds. This is especially alarming when we need to brake suddenly in a curve on a bumpy road as it seems we will lose control of the car. I always brake with my right foot and my right foot remains off the accelerator and on the brake throughout these episodes. Our car is equipped with the vehicle stability system and the passenger notices that the stability system warning light comes on during these episodes. It is not simply that the car coasts when the braking fails, the engine actually sounds like it is revving up and the car noticeably speeds up. Once the bumpy section has been passed, normal braking resumes. This has nothing to do with the floor mat. This situation should be reproducible thru testing.

- Cary, NC, USA

problem #89

Nov 112010

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph and attempting to decelerate, the vehicle would not stop and the contact crashed into the rear of another vehicle. The air bags did not deploy. The contact received injuries to the neck and chest. The driver of the other vehicle was not injured. The contact was transported to the hospital via ambulance. A police report was available. The vehicle was destroyed. The failure mileage was 30,000. Updated 01/24/11 updated 04/18/11

- Sunrise, FL, USA

problem #88

Jul 272010


  • 72,293 miles


My car, a 2005 Toyota Prius, was stationary at a stoplight on a clear, sunny day. My foot was on the brake and the brake was fully depressed. I could feel a sudden pressure change in the brake, and warning lights came on. I drove the short distance to work, but the car was handling badly (wobbly) and the brake was very soft and only partially effective. After work, a few hours later, the car seemed to be handling normally and braking normally, but I drove to the closest dealer as a precaution. They checked the computer and found code C1357 (decreasing pressure solenoid malfunction). They replaced the brake actuator assembly.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #87

May 202010


  • 1 miles
The brakes on my 2005 Prius appear not to grab immediately when I am driving over a rough surface. This has happened since I have owned the car but on an irregular basis. Since it occurred generally when I was moving very slowly I didn't view it as a safety problem but a couple of times recently I have been driving over a very rough road at higher speed and the same lack of braking occurred. It is as if there is a pause before the braking system kicks in.

- Washington Dc, DC, USA

problem #86

Jul 202010


  • 207,600 miles
2005 Prius with ABS/vsc and caution light on. Reduced braking power traced to bad anti-skid computer. Ordered part and was cautioned to limit driving. Later that day, exited fast-food drive-thru and sailed into street. No braking power whatsoever even with standing on pedal. Stopped vehicle by plowing into curb. Vehicle then towed to shop awaiting parts.

- Maumelle, AR, USA

problem #85

Jul 122010

(reported on)

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
2005 Toyota Prius. Consumer states brake problems the consumer stated within a month of purchasing the vehicle, she noticed the brakes would engage, then fail, then engage again. The vehicle was taken to the service department, but they were unable to duplicate the problem.

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #84

Jul 082010


  • 60,000 miles
2005 Prius: When I brake as I drive over any kind of variation in the road (which is quite often), my vehicle lurches forward and I am unable to come to a stop right away. I have to depress the brake quite hard to make it stop and it is very dangerous. I have taken my vehicle to the dealership for this issue twice and they have not been able to duplicate the issue. I have also called Toyota and opened a case with them which they closed without inspecting my vehicle.

- Evanston, IL, USA

problem #83

Jun 062010


  • miles
When I go over a bump or hit a pothole in my 2005 Prius and I am braking it feels like my brakes disengage for just a second and the car seems to go faster. I have never felt comfortable with this situation but since I don't know a while lot about cars I thought it might be normal until I saw an article in the newspaper from another Prius owner with the same complaint. This article suggested a complaint be filed with NHTSA. I am filing this with the date of the newspaper article although the strange braking feeling has been ongoing since I purchased the vehicle in June 2005.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #82

May 242010


  • 119,000 miles
Momentary loss of brakes when lightly braking over a bumpy surface. It has happened throughout the 3 years I've owned this car.

- Biddeford, ME, USA

problem #81

Jan 012010


  • miles
I drive a 2005 Toyota Prius. I am concerned with how the brakes operate. When I apply the brakes and hit a bump at the same time, there is what feels like a lag or "release" if you will in the braking of the car. It's only for about a second but is very frightening. To put it another way, when trying to brake the car and hitting a bump in the road, the brakes :"fail" momentarily and then re-engage. This happens for about 1/2 of a second although it feels longer. I have read other complaints about this issue and Toyota responded to these complaints saying the "lag" is caused by the ABS system kicking in. I don't understand the lag time though, it seems excessive to me not to mention dangerous. I believe the newer Prius' have been recalled for a similar problem and am wondering if the 2005's will be as well.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #80

May 202010


  • 38,000 miles
I have a 2005 Toyota Prius and have concerns about its braking system. This has been a constant occurrence that, to date has not caused a crash. When braking on a bumpy road it feels like the braking system does not engage for about a second and the car surges forward. This is only when there is a bump in the road and does not occur when braking on a smooth surface. Even when I apply my brakes slowly this occurs when there is a bump in the road.

- Plymouth, MA, USA

problem #79

Aug 302005


  • 0 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. While driving at 30 mph and attempting to stop, the brakes failed to engage for about three seconds. On one occasion, while depressing the brake pedal, the vehicle did not stop and crashed into another vehicle in front. The driver in the other vehicle sustained injuries and a police report was filed. The vehicle was towed and repaired. The contact called the dealership and the manufacturer but was told that they could not assist because there was no failure with the vehicle. The failure mileage was unknown. The current mileage was 35,235.

- Littleton, CO, USA

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