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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
14 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
20,551 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.

2008 Toyota Prius brakes problems

brakes problem

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2008 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #77

Jul 162010


  • 28,000 miles


July 16th our son was driving his 2008 Prius when the brakes failed and there was acceleration with the car. He rearended an SUV at a stop light. We took the vehicle to the Toyota dealership where we purchased the car. They were going to check it out, but due to the fact of an accident, they had our son call Toyota to give them a report of what happened. Toyota said they would send a rep. To examine the car, which they would not be there for 2 weeks. We waited and they finally arrived around August 4th or 5th. The dealership called and said we could come and get the car, which I was concerned not knowing if there was defect or not. The Toyota dealership told us Toyota takes all responsibility out of their hands. I felt that was ridiculous since they sell Toyota vehicles. On August 12th our son called Toyota and they said that there would be a letter coming in about 35 days. We are still waiting and feel the dealership and Toyota has done nothing but pass the buck. We also purchased another Prius at the same time. By the way they both told my son in the beginning that there had been a recall. After everything that happened our son realized that there were several other incidents that took place with the car and thought it was him, until this accident happened. We feel that there is also an electrical issue with this car because there has 2 new batteries installed in the car since purchased in 2008. We just want answers!!!!! there was $1800 dollars damage sustained with this accident. It seems to me that no one here wants to take responsibility with some answers.

- Frisco, TX, USA

problem #76

Jun 152010


  • miles
I have a 2008 Toyota Prius, and repeatedly experience the "brake drop-out" problem that has been discussed on numerous Prius-related websites. (see, for example,, or, among others). I also understand that this problem has been raised with NHTSA numerous times. The problem I experience is that when I drive over a bump or pothole, particularly at a low speed, while braking, a warning light flashes on and the car momentarily lurches forward. Several times I have felt close to getting into an accident as a result. I understand from the extensive online discussions of this problem that it has to do with a transition from the regenerative braking system to the traditional friction braking system, but that only explains the problem, and does not solve it. I understand that Toyota has addressed this problem in the gen III Prius, but has done nothing about the gen II Prius. Also, this has nothing to do with the floor mat recall for this car.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #75

Feb 232010


  • miles
I am experiencing a feeling that the brakes on my 2008 Prius seem to disengage when I go over a bump and sometimes when I am braking somewhat abruptly. The uncomfortable feeling that the car is not going to stop and actually feels as if it is accelerating only lasts momentarily- but it is a scary feeling. The car was checked by the Toyota dealership from whom it was purchased. They assured me that it was a common occurrence with the ABS system found in the model. I am however, not at all comfortable with the insecure feeling that the car is not going to stop.

- Eynon, PA, USA

problem #74

Mar 012010


  • 20,000 miles


When braking on slippery surface-the ABS kicks in- it feels as though the brakes disengage and the car speeds up slightly.

- Eagle, WI, USA

problem #73

Apr 082010


  • 52,702 miles
I was driving a rented Toyota Prius 2008 hybrid electric on April 8th in mississauga Ontario and met with three vehicles collision. On a solid green signal, a min van coming from East, opposite direction cut off the oncoming traffic from West. First car slammed the brakes and did not hit the wrongful mini van. Second car hit the first car. I rear ended second car. I was in safe distance and applied brakes. This car did not stop and kept moving and hit the second car. It was a rainy day. Normal cars would stop without hitting. No one injured. I think Toyota has to advice all year models to fix the brake problems. Contacted Toyota scarborough. It says this car is not in re-call list. How recalling list prepared, I do not know. After incidents? I will never drive Prius again.

- Etobicoke, 00, USA

problem #72

Oct 102009


  • 35,000 miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6). 2008 Toyota Prius [xxx] when applying brakes, if I drive over a bump, ie railroad track, the brakes disengage for a couple of seconds and then reengage. It feels like you hit a patch of black ice. I have had no accidents as a result, only a few scares. This problem has been recognized by Toyota as a problem with the 2010 Prius, but not the 2008 Prius. The same problem exists on my 2008 Prius.

- Chino, CA, USA

problem #71

Mar 192010


  • 21,147 miles


I have a 2008 Toyota Prius that we purchased new in April of 08. On March 19th I was driving in heavy stop and go traffic on a street with construction panels on parts of surface. I was leaving a car length in front of me. When the car ahead stopped, I applied the brakes and nothing happened. The car kept going and crashed into the rear end of the car ahead. No one hurt but damage to bumper and hood of my car. Took the car to the dealership next morning. Toyota rep looked over it, ran diagonstic codes and said nothing was wrong with the car. I know the brakes failed. We have lost confidence in the car and Toyota service.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #70

Mar 232010


  • 32,669 miles
When hitting small bumps travelling at speeds of 25-50mph (such as bumps before bridges) the ABS will activate and the pedals go loose. It seems the car can not be controlled for about 3/4 of a second once this occurs. Luckily I have never been rounding a turn or approaching stopped traffic when this occurs or I would not have been able to stop. I had one close call where the brakes seemed to lag before kicking in, then jolting hard after the delay causing me to almost lose control of the vehicle.

- Asheville, NC, USA

problem #69

Feb 222010


  • 12,000 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota Prius. When we drive over a bump/pothole it feels as if the brakes fail for approx. A second and a half or so. And the vehicle lurches forward. It is a very unsettling feeling. It has happened several times.

- Eastport, NY, USA

problem #68

Feb 212009


  • 17,000 miles
Driving 2008 Toyota Prius, going around a round about when the car went over a small patch of ice. The brake was applied but the car did not seem to slow down or respond. The cars passenger front tire hit the curb and caused $2300 worth of damage to the vehicle. There were no other injuries or damage.

- Issaquah, WA, USA

problem #67

Feb 272010


  • 34,500 miles


2008 Toyota Prius increases speed for 1 sec when starting to brake. This issue has occurred a few times per calendar year since I bought the car brand new in July of 2008.

- Bedford, NH, USA

problem #66

Jan 012010


  • 15,000 miles
2008 touring Prius with blizzack tires. Driving at 10-15 mph in parking lot coated with ice, both smooth and bumpy. Applied brakes to slow for a turn out of the lot and the brakes locked, the ABS did not engage, and the car did not slow down, hitting an icy snowbank and cracking the front right fender. This incident was 1/1/10. On 2/1/10 on the freeway, at about 30-40 mph, on snow that was slick and icy, I applied the brakes, the car was sliding, the ABS did not engage and the car was not slowing down; this time, though, I let up on the brakes and pumped them and then the car did slow down and I did not hit the car in front of me. In 45 years of driving, I have never had an accident. There may have been other times the ABS did not engage, because I have had a number of times in which I have had to pump the brakes after it feels like there is no braking action. The two incidents above, though, are the two I specifically remember.

- Burnsville, MN, USA

problem #65

Jun 142008


  • 3,000 miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6). Hello and to whom it may concern: I purchased a 2008 Prius on May 14, 2008 and experienced within one month of buying this Prius, an issue with the brakes. I tried braking as I pulled up to my garage in order to park my car in front of it like I usually do, the brake acted "iffy" and the car went right into my garage door! originally, I thought this was my fault, but I knew I had hit the brakes correctly like I did in the past and swear something must of acted-up. A couple months later I experienced something like this again, in a target store parking lot where the brake was acting, "iffy." When I brought my car into the Toyota dealership for the 5000 miles check-up I had expressed my concerns, but this was before any "recall" notice what-so-ever!! I have been back to Toyota for my every 5000 miles check-up since, and always inquire about that situation as I hope they document my concerns. Knock on wood, I have not had this happen again, but it did happen, and I have a new garage door and scraped front fender to show for it! when I heard about the "recall" I just knew it was not me nor my imagination here!!! I am seeking repair/damage compensation for the front fender and garage door replacement! thank you very much. Your experience regarding this problem is greatly appreciated. [xxx]

- Fountain Hills, AZ, USA

problem #64

Feb 082010


  • 24,700 miles
My 2008 Prius, may have had a braking problem similar to what I have read about. I have not seen a 2008 included in the news, but my experience sounds very similar to what others have been reporting. While driving to work on snow packed roads I was making a turn into the business park where I work. The corner was going normally until I hit the drainage dip in the intersection. At this time I feel that I lost all braking with the vehicle. The street was covered with packed fresh snow, but no ice. I had been driving in similar conditions on the 20 mile drive into work with no issues or traction problems at any intersection or corner. When I realized something was wrong and that I was not slowing I quickly tried to let off the brakes and then reapply them but nothing seemed to happen at all regardless if I was pressing the brakes or not. No pumping sound from antilock brakes, no traction warning light, no slowing of the car - nothing at all. It felt like the brakes were not responding to my push of the pedal in any way. Luckily I was not going fast at all (I would estimate well under 10mph), so this happened over a very short distance. I did strike a curb that was part of an island and cracked a rim but no damage to the steering that an alignment did not resolve. I had to replace all of the rims since the local dealer had to order them in and I needed my car to get to work. I was very lucky that there was an island and that I did not crash into another car in the other lane or worse a pedestrian. I realize that I was on packed snow at the time and am not asking for anything for the damages to the wheel from Toyota - but just wanted you to know that the braking issue may be more than the current model year. I have never had such a loss of control in a car before in any road conditions ever. It was a loss of any ability to brake or even slow the car. I hope this information helps you and that Toyota is testing the software for older Prius models too.

- Longmont, CO, USA

problem #63

Apr 052008


  • miles
In year of 2009, I drove my 2008 Toyota Prius to visit my friend's house on a local road. The weather was nice. While I saw my friend's house near, I started to hit the brake to slow down, all of sudden, my car got speeding up and I ended up to hit the roadside fence to stop this terrible shock. I spent about $2,500 to fix the front bumper cover and other scratches on my car. Until now I read the news about the defect on Toyota cars problem. I feel extremely frighten I could have got killed if I was on the highway during that time. I feel I have to give this report about my car accident on driving my Toyota Prius to let public to be aware of. I mentioned this to local Toyota dealer. They told me that I have wrong model of Prius for the problem that I should not have problem on this Prius. I was disappointed at the response from car dealer who did not have auto safety concern at all for consumer. This is something related to the human life while they took such question carelessly. I have lost the confidence on Toyota auto. If possible, I would like to seek Toyota take back my Prius and reimburse my repair cost of this accident.

- Palo Alto, CA, USA

problem #62

Dec 012009


  • miles
I have a 2008 Prius, but I have that same braking issue that the 2010 Prius has. At least 3 or 4 times in the past, I have hit a bump while braking, usually when approaching an intersection, and the car feels like it surges forward off the bump, requiring pushing the brake harder. It's a strange enough sensation that it would make me say "whoa, that felt weird" every single time, but I just thought I didn't brake hard enough. Until I heard and read about the 2010 Prius braking complaints, and then realized that is exactly what has been happening with my 2008 model. It was always when braking and hitting a bump at the same time. So far, there's never been a car close enough in front of me to hit when it surges forward. I don't have specific dates for the incidents, as I hadn't been keeping track of the episodes up until now. But your form requires a date, so I'm just using 12/1/09, although it has happened sporadically throughout the year. I sent an E-mail about it to NHTSA on 2/9/10. You replied back on 2/18/10 that it was received -- case number 232390 & NHTSA id: 194611. I have a service appt. At the dealership on 2/20/10 for some other warranty items, and I also mentioned this braking issue to them, although I don't know what they will be able to do with the information at this time, since the Focus is only on the problem with the 2010 model at the present time. But it would appear that it involves earlier models, too.

- Roseville, CA, USA

problem #61

May 012009


  • 15,000 miles
2008 Prius:on several occasions while breaking on rough roads or over manhole covers, vehicle looses traction(lights on dash flash and breaks fail) momentarily. Usually already slowing, feels like battery power starting to take over, then when you go to break it seams like the battery power is just kicking in. (a timing thing) exactly as what was described in 2010 Prius. Vehicle was taken to dealer a year ago. Unable to replicate. Nothing done. Continues to happen.

- Spring Grove, MN, USA

problem #60

Feb 152010


  • 47,000 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota Prius and since I received the car. I noticed that the anti skid system is set way to sensitive. Driving over rough road or loose road and applying brakes to stop the anti skid usually kicks in and the car just continues to go forward. This is the only car I have ever drove that acts this way. My brother has the same make, year, and model and has the same problem. I do think Toyota has a problem with older Prius to not just 2010 models. From what I understand the braking system on the 2010 and 2008 Prius's are the same so if 2010's are recalled 2008's should be to. Luckily this problem has not caused me to be involved in a accident as of yet.

- Granbury, TX, USA

problem #59

Jul 112008


  • 22,474 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. Whenever the contact drives the vehicle at a low speed and travels over a bump or pot hole while attempting to brake the contact noticed that the vehicles brakes would momentarily disengage and then correct itself. The vehicle was taken to the dealership where the contact was informed that the vehicle was operating normaly. There were no prior warnings and the current and failure mileages were 22474.

- Lumbard, IL, USA

problem #58

Nov 222009


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. Whenever the contact drives her vehicle at any speed and attempst to brake over a rough terrain the contact noticed that the vehicles brakes will disengage for a short period and then correct itself. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealership and there were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 50000.

- Columbia, NJ, USA

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