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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,877 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

problem #19

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 #18

Apr 302010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
The traction control override repeatedly engages arbitrarily under various circumstances, including hitting bumps/potholes at 35 mph and accelerating from a stop on both wet and dry roads. I have seen reports online of people expressing their concern about this feature in snow, but our Prius does it frequently. Aside from the inconvenience, this is a clear safety hazard when attempting to pull out into traffic. We have been told by the dealer that this feature cannot be disabled, but it would seem to me that it needs to be to avoid potential collisions.

- Asheville, NC, USA

problem #17

Jan 102010


  • 88,000 miles
1. while driving over rr tracks, a lack of brake response (or feel) - happened once in 2008. Mentioned to dealer, but I did not know if this was a typical problem. 2. while driving downhill on a slippery road, the vehicle would not stop. There was no feel of braking. The vehicle finally stopped when it hit a curb. Happened Jan/2010. Mentioned to dealer, but I did not know if this was a typical problem. 3. while driving uphill on slippery roads, the vehicle would slow down to a stop, or not go at a S&G light. This happened repeatedly in 2010. Mentioned to dealer, and was told this was a function of the traction control that prevented tires from spinning.

- Superior, WI, USA

problem #16

May 032010


  • 95,000 miles


Braking momentarily fails after hitting a bump, pothole, or other road irregularity. This article describes the issue perfectly. dealers since day of purchase have said there was "nothing wrong".

- Ewing, NJ, USA

problem #15

May 012005


  • 89,000 miles
2005 Toyota Prius--experiences braking and handling failures when braking on uneven or wet surfaces. When we are braking and hit a pothole, gravel, railroad tracks or wet surfaces, the car feels as if we are losing control of it, and braking seems to temporarily stop. The "skid danger" light comes on, even at very low speeds. This happens nearly every time we brake under these conditions. Also, at idle (ie. Stoplights), the car will frequently lurch forward slightly, even with the brake pedal fully depressed, especially when engine transfers from electric to gas. We were told early in our ownership that this is normal "dieseling". these have been on-going problems, since we purchased the car in 2005 (new), that we thought we were "imagining" until hearing all of the reports of similar problems.Toyota claims that the Prius braking issues only affect the 2010 Prius, but we see it firsthand on an on-going basis.

- Watkinsville, GA, USA

problem #14

Mar 242010


  • miles
Traction control light flashes and car accelerates when encountering sudden bumps in the road. This occurs when hitting bumps while the brakes are being applied. I have informed Toyota about this and they never replied. The affected car is a 2005 Toyota Prius with 65,000 miles. Purchased cpo in August of 2009 from a Toyota dealer. This issue is a repeat occurance. I have encountered this issue in excess of 20 times since I've assumed this car and noticed prior to the massive recall noise in the media. Thank you for your time.

- North Versailles, PA, USA

problem #13

Jan 102007


  • 10,000 miles


ABS braking system on my 2005 Toyota Prius will lock the drive wheels leaving you stalled in the middle of the road/turn. The accelerator can be all the way to the floor - engine racing - I have had to sit for 30-45 seconds before system released the drive wheels.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #12

Feb 232010


  • miles
2005 Prius brakes fail temporary when traveling over bumpy surface. It occurs weekly. No consequences yet. Nothing done to correct the problem.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #11

Feb 032010


  • miles
My wife and I recently bought a used 2005 Prius from wilde Toyota in West allis, wi. In the last few months we have experienced braking issues with the vehicle on icy roads, slick roads, and snow covered roads. We have had three brake failures. The first was when I was driving on a side-street. I was going slow, less then 15 miles per hour, and stepped on the brakes to make a turn. The brakes were unresponsive for aprox. 2 seconds causing me to roll before the brakes engage. The second occured when my wife was driving at a low speed, under 40 miles an hour, on a main road. As she approached the stoplight she stepped on the brakes, which also failed to engage. Due to her higher speed she rolled over 10 feet and came close to hitting the car stopped in front of her before the brakes finally engaged. The final occurance also occured when my wife was driving, this time at a higher speed between 40 and 50 miles per hour, when pressing on the brakes on an overpass the brakes failed to engage and the car physically seemed to shake a bit. After being unable to stop for several feet the brakes finally engaged. We believe these occurances are due to an error with our ABS system. In each occurance the "slippery road" warning has appeared. We took it to wilde tayota this morning. After software testing as well as road testing on their snow covered lot they failed to replicate the problem. No system errors were present and they were unable to take any further action. We are, however, still convinced that a problem exists. If it occurs again we will once again take it to the dealership and try to replicate the problem.

- New Berlin, WI, USA

problem #10

Dec 102005


  • 1,000 miles
I own a 2005 Prius, bought new. I now have 130,000 miles on it. It has been serviced and maintained at scheduled intervals, mostly by a Toyota dealer. #1: I have complained to the dealer since the first winter that I bought the car that the "traction control system" is dangerous in bad weather conditions. Whenever the road is slippery, if the car senses wheelspin, it cuts power to the engine. This is scary if you're pulling out into traffic on a rainy day, as the car will sometimes just quit running for a second, leaving you vulnerable to oncoming traffic. Snow is far worse. I live on a hilly road. If it's snowy the car will slow down, and simply stop trying to move forward on the first steep slope I come to. It doesn't matter how hard I mash on the accelerator, or if I back off and try again, the car will not attempt to move. Once the car stops moving forward it begins to slide backwards, and control is totally lost. I was nearly killed the first time this happened (in about one inch of snow) as my car eventually slipped sideways across the oncoming traffic lane. An SUV came down the hill and nearly broadsided me before I was able to get my car turned back down the hill. (my car was equipped with aggressive snow tires at the time.) ever since then, if I'm coming home from work in the snow, I leave my car in the shopping center at the bottom of the hill and call my husband, who picks me up with his Ford Bronco. # 2: anti-lock braking. The 2010 Prius's aren't the only ones with problems; mine does the same thing. If I'm braking on a bumpy stretch of road or over a manhole cover in the rain, the car will cut power to the brakes, causing the car to feel like it's surging forward. Again this problem is much worse in the snow. Going downhill on a snowy, slippery hill the anti-lock brakes repeatedly cut braking power, which actually causes the car to accelerate to unsafe speeds. My dealer tells me that this is how the car works, and nothing can be dome to correct it.

- Hellertown, PA, USA

problem #9

Jun 012007


  • miles


Several times over past 5 years my 2005 Toyota Prius ABS system had released the brakes for uncomfortable amount of time (0.5-1.0 seconds) when coming to a stop over slightly bumpy road. If I didn't keep good distance I could have crashed into a vehicle in front of me.

- Stoneham, MA, USA

problem #8

Jan 012010


  • 105,000 miles
2005 Prius loss of control during tire slippage (traction control system activation.: when the vehicle detects a traction control problem while driving (going over railroad tracks, rain or wet conditions, loose gravel, etc.) all power is cut to the wheels leaving the car in an uncontrolled skidding condition. There is no anti-lock braking to the wheels (pulsed on-off-on) to keep control. Pulling into traffic or stopping on wet roads has almost led to me being hit or hitting another car or pedestrian. Prius owners of the second generation have well documented being unable to go up driveways and many others have reported accidents.

- Pleasanton, CA, USA

problem #7

Feb 052010


  • 100 miles
This is an ongoing problem with a 2005 Prius. If you hit a bump or pothole while braking from a normal speed, the car will briefly accelerate on its own. This causes additional braking pressure to be needed and precise steering. Many Prius owners since 2004 have indicated this problem.

- Ewing, NJ, USA

problem #6

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 #5

Jun 012007


  • 5 miles
My Toyota Prius 2005 has the same braking issue as described in the media today for the 2010 model. In addition, the skid control causes a sudden power loss during acceleration in similar situations to the problems described with braking failures in the 2010 model (potholes, even small bumps in the road, rapid acceleration around curves, in addition to when there is ice on the road) that reportedly has been fixed. Although the complete power loss lasts less than a second recovery of power is slow enough to have stranded me in front of oncoming traffic waiting for acceleration in a number situations where there was no risk associated with loss of traction. I contacted Toyota several years ago and tried filed a complaint (I was really persistent), but they refused to recognize this as a design flaw saying only that the vehicle was functioning as designed. When I pointed out that the vehicle, as designed, was dangerous, they only reiterated that it was functioning properly and refused to take further action. It felt to me that they were concerned that admitting the problem could Avalanche into a problem similar to what they have now. Please note that this is a recurring and persistent issue that has occurred numerous times since I have owned the car (four plus years).

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #4

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 #3

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 #2

Aug 302005


  • 50 miles
Applying brakes when going over slight road disturbances causes complete loss of braking temporarily, followed by a brief surge (acceleration). No other vehicle I've owned has had this problem. Additionally slight road disturbances (mild bumps) cause traction control to turn on inappropriately. No other vehicle I've owned has had this problem. The dealer (specifically the sales person) was initially contacted in 2005 about these issues and it was reported back to me that this was normal. Now I am finding out that many other owners are complaining about this problem, some of them in brand new 2010 vehicles. The initial incident date is Aug 2005, but the problem continues to this day.

- Marlborough, MA, USA

problem #1

Dec 242009


  • 119,000 miles
2005 Toyota Prius loss of control over vehicle after skidding over ice or snow, traveling on local road. The car went over snow that had been shoveled to that area, or fallen from a truck. The car immediately turn sharply to the left and then right, repeating this weird action about 4 times, gathering more speed with each movement. Finally, I applied the brake with force and narrowly missed a tree by about 6 inches, and a parked van. I landed on top of a heap of soft snow, that must have been plowed into that spot, which kept the car from moving because the wheels had nothing to grip. Up to now the vehicle had performed well, with the exception of the small battery that failed when the vehicle was only a few months. I had to pay out pocket for the replacement. The vehicle now has 119,000 miles. And now I will go shopping for another brand. I am a fleet administrator, I know this problem is very serious.

- Woodhaven, NY, USA

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