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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
32 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
8 / 0
Average Mileage:
20,374 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 6 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #57

Jan 302010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 100 miles


I never owned a car with anti-lock brakes until I had my Prius. I have always noticed that when applying the brakes, if I go over uneven ground like a pothole, the car lurches forward a bit for about a second. I thought it was because of the unique braking system in the Prius, but after seeing all of these reports, I thought I should report it since my car is older than the ones mentioned in the news reports.

- Robbinsdale, MN, USA

problem #56

Apr 202008

Prius 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
I have a 2008 Prius that has the same problem as that reported with the 2010. Every time I brake on a rippled or bumpy surface, there is a repeated momentary loss of braking. On a certain downhill stretch of road near me, it happened every time I drove it, until it was resurfaced. Another problem is that if the vehicle is on an inclined surface of crushed rock, there is a complete loss of power. The dealer describes this as an "overly sensitive traction control system" that cannot be adjusted. This is also hazardous because on slick surfaces, each momentary loss of traction results in an overly-compensated period of seriously reduced acceleration; we have been sitting ducks in intersections, unable to quickly accelerate out of the way if conditions are slick, not because of the surface itself, but because of the way the vehicle mis-handles the situation.

- Edgewood, KY, USA

problem #55

Nov 192009

Prius 4-cyl

  • 49,500 miles
I own and operate a logistics company in southern Maine. Part of our fleet is three 2008 Toyota Prius'. in reading the description of your 2010 Prius brake failure investigation, I can say for absolute sure that this same problem exists in the 2008 model year. In all three of our Prius', on several occasions, I have experienced this problem. We aren't known for having the most wonderful roads in the northeast and we also have many railroad tracks. The problem as I see it is that when you hit a large pothole/ railroad track there seems to be a 0.5 - 2 second lag time before the brakes actually respond. We have many different employees drive our cars and in asking them they all, at least on one occasions, have experienced this problem. Please look into years beyond just the 2010. I can assure you that if you sent out a survey there would be a large percentage of people who have had this problem. We drive these cars for a living and we rely on you to make sure that what we drive is safe for us and our employees.

- Scarborough, ME, USA

problem #54

Jul 152008

Prius 4-cyl

  • 850 miles


The NHTSA should widen their formal investigation of the momentary loss of braking capability while traveling over an uneven road surface, pothole or bump in Toyota Prius hybrids, beyond model year 2010, to at least the 2008 and 2009 models. I have a 2008 Toyota Prius hybrid and I've been having the same problem since I bought mine in June of 2008. Please widen your investigation to at least the 2008 & 2009 Prius models as well, if not even further back than that... thank you.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #53

Mar 012008

Prius 4-cyl

  • 1,200 miles
Vehicle was hit from rear while stopped at a traffic light. Despite the brakes being applied at the time, the rear impact caused the car to be pushed forward into the car in front of it as if the brakes were not even in use. There was minimal damage to the bumper from the rear impact but more significant damage to the front of the vehicle form the second impact.

- Putnam Valley, NY, USA

problem #52

Feb 032010


  • 51,000 miles
I am having problems with braking in my 2008 Prius that sound identical to the problems being investigated on the 2010 model. When stopping at a stop sign or light, sometimes the brakes disengage and the traction control light comes on the dash and the car lurches forward. This also happens when hitting gravel, pot holes, bumps, wet patches, ice, etc. This has been a problem from the time I bought the vehicle. Just yesterday, I was barely moving(less than 10mph) and coming to a stop sign where it was wet, and when I applied the brakes I continued to advance forward into an intersection. I was fortunate the other vehicles on the road were far enough away to have time to stop before hitting me. Once the brakes re-engaged I proceeded to drive in control. The brakes also have problems when there is any moisture. When applied in these conditions, when they do engage, the vehicle stops too abruptly, causing the driver and passengers to be lurched forward. This sometimes engages the antilock brakes when there is no traction issue causing the vehicle to slide a bit. These things sometimes happen on a daily basis or in dry conditions it may be a few days between incidents.

- Atwater, OH, USA

problem #51

Sep 142009


  • 45,876 miles


I have a 2008 Prius and on three occasions while driving at slow speeds when I went to apply the brakes they just locked up on me and sent me lunging forward. Thank god I was wearing a seat belt. When I complained about this to the dealer they said they told me to take the floor mats out. Now I come to find out this morning that they have a problem with the brake systems on the Prius but after investigating this they say only on the 2010 models. Sorry it has happened to mine and it happened 3 times only at slow speeds. Most of my driving is highway driving and that is probably why I have only experienced this only 3 times.

- Ridge, NY, USA

problem #50

Oct 202009


  • 52,000 miles
Prius brake problem as described in media recently has happened to me twice. Brakes were applied and braking was delayed for at least one full second or longer and vehicle felt like it was actually accelerating.

- West Newbury, MA, USA

problem #49

Feb 042010


  • 42,000 miles
2008 Toyota Prius with a braking condition which I've come to realize isn't normal. Since I've purchased the car, I've had poor braking while traveling over rough roads, potholes and cornering. I thought this was normal as a result of ABS brakes and skid control. The feeling is disconcerting and feels as though the brakes aren't initially engaging. I now realize that this isn't normal handling and performance even though I've somewhat gotten used to it over time. I can replicate this issue. There is a road that I travel frequently that causes this issue.

- Troy, NY, USA

problem #48

Jan 032010


  • 45,000 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota Prius and it also has a problem when braking while driving over a rough surface or pot holes. The traction control light comes on and there is a 1-2 second delay before the real brakes kick in. I have learned to be aware of this issue and press the brakes harder until the brakes start to work.

- Joppa, MD, USA

problem #47

Dec 262009


  • miles


I own a 2008 Toyota Prius. After reading a report about possible braking problems with this auto, I wanted someone to be aware that this is also happening with the 2008 Prius and not just the 2010 Prius. I have experience several times when I hit a small pothole or even a speed bump, that there is a problem with a momentary loss of braking capability. This has not resulted in any accident or injury, but very scary when it happens. I dismissed the problem thinking it was suppose to act that way, but now I am concerned.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #46

Feb 022010


  • 1,000 miles
When my 2008 Prius goes over anything slick, wet, and sometimes loose gravel, particularly on a down-hill surface, the car slips when the brake is engaged. If applied while on the slick surface, it is as if the brake does not respond immediately; if applied previous to the surface, the brake stops responding when it hits the slick surface. It happens very frequently, at least every 50 miles or so. The variable stability control engages at the same time the slipping occurs. The only correction is to continue to hold the brake, wait for it to engage, and leave extra time/distance to brake. This problem repeatedly happens at specific points of frequently driven routes (ie. Manhole cover on my street at bottom of hill). I have not have this problem in any other car.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #45

Jun 032008


  • 50 miles
I am having issues with my 2008 Toyota Prius brakes. When I apply pressure to the brakes (gentle- not sudden) there is an instant when the car jerks forward and seems to speed up. The ABS sensor light comes on for a second or two, then goes off and the normal braking resumes. This also happened to me with my 2006 highlander hybrid (of which I leased from 9/06-4/08). When I brought it to my dealers attention, what was going on, they said that it was completely normal. It did not seem normal to me. In fact, I have a neighbor who also has a highlander hybrid who attributed a recent fender bender to this very brake/jerking issue. This happens almost on a daily basis (every 2 days would be more like it), particularly when I drive on the bumpy country dirt roads around where I live. I typically drive slow (10-15 mph) on the dirt roads because I don't want to damage/jossle the parts in car 'loose', so 'high' speed would not play a role in why my ABS light comes on and the car jumps forward. The issue has not been corrected by my dealer, though I have brought it to their attention with both cars. As I mentioned earlier, they said it was 'normal'. fortunately this has not caused an accident but I typically drive very conservatively and am very aware of what this car does - brake wise, so I tend to brake early, if possible.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #44

Feb 022010


  • 25,000 miles
I am experiencing temporary loss of brakes while braking on uneven surfaces, bumpy streets, potholes, railroad tracks. This is not the same as normal ABS activating, but longer and complete loss of braking for a few seconds. Dealer informed me this is by design. All my other cars (with ABS) do not experience this in the same conditions. Incident repeated daily during my commute. I have to drive much slower because of this and I want this fixed since if it's by design then its a bad design!!! note this is on a gen2 Prius, 2008 model.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #43

Jan 102009


  • 30,000 miles
On my 2008 Toyota Prius, the brakes do not work after hitting a large pothole or bump. I thought it was how they normally worked on the Prius as it is a very light car. However, I can make it happen at any time and have since learned of the recall (or pending recall) of the 2010 Prius for the same issue.

- Marion, NY, USA

problem #42

Jan 102010


  • 2,000 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota Prius. I bought it new 4/12/08 in bend, Oregon I live in madras, Oregon. The problem has happened 3 times, it happens on packed snow slick conditions. It happened 2 times making 90 deg turns at 20 mph, I slow down into a right turn and half way thru I touch the gas and the car starts to slide and it will not come out of it. 1st time I hit the curb on the left side of road and went clear up on sidewalk. It did damage to left front tire. 2nd time same turn but there was now side walk I went off the road. 3rd time I was going into a left hand turn normal conditions would have been a easy 55 mph corner. With packed snow I was going about 30 mph I slowed into the turn and half way thru I touched the gas pedal and it instantly went into a slide and hit the snow bank on the right hand side and knocked me back into the road. On the Prius when you step on the gas and the tires start to spin it stops the tires from spinning instantly. If you hold the gas pedal the same it will start and stop power to the wheels until it gets to the point of no spinning of the tires. I think that when I touch the gas and the tire spins it instantly stops the tire from spinning and the car goes into a slide and it will not let me control the slide because the tires are still in the lock mode and it slides out of control. I do not want to drive the car on slick roads but I don't want to sell it and have someone else get in a wreck because of the problem. I am going to try and contact Toyota and tell them.

- Madras, OR, USA

problem #41

Jun 122009

Prius 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. Whenever the contact would attempt to apply the brakes while driving at a low speed they would not fully engage increasing stopping distance. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the failure could not be reproduced. The current and failure mileages were 25000. Updated 03/09/10. The consumer stated the vehicle would lurch sporadically, which only occurred when stopping. Updated 06/11/10.

- Chadds Ford, PA, USA

problem #40

Jan 272010


  • 25,321 miles
Re: my 2008 Prius. The brakes occasionally seem to 'skip, ' especially on wet or rough roads. They always work, but seem to pause or hesitate before stopping. I've only heard word about 2010 models, but this has been happening to my 2008 too often!

- Lake Oswego, OR, USA

problem #39

Feb 022010


  • 17,000 miles
My 2008 Prius lurches forward after applying the brakes when encountering a small pot hole/ slippery conditions...the traction control light comes on. I have heard of this happening with the 2010 Prius, but I am also experiencing this with my older model. This happens every time I encounter some unforeseen obstacles (2 or 3 times/month).

- Scarsdale, NY, USA

problem #38

Jul 102008


  • 18,000 miles
I bought a 2008 Toyota Prius in the summer of 2008 and almost immediately got into an accident. I was turning a corner and the car didn't handle as I expected - I got a "hydroplaning" warning light even thought it was not raining and tried to brake, but the brakes did not react and I ended up crashing into a curb, causing $3,000 in damage to the wheel, axel, and bumper. No one was hurt and there was no property damage other than to my own car. At the time I chalked it up to not yet being used to the car, I had previously had a jetta that handled wonderfully and I was used to that car being completely responsive. I made the necessary repairs to my car and just tried to be more cautious when I was driving in the future. I have always noticed certain things about the handling and braking of this car, and the current recall on the 2010 version made me realize I wasn't imagining these problems. I constantly get the hydroplaning type warning on my dashboard when I go over bumps or in bad weather, to the point where I feel unsafe driving my Prius in inclement weather and often borrow a relative's car. I have been lucky to have no more accidents other than that first one, but there have been most definitely been times when I felt the car was not handling the way it ought to. Even when I had that accident I had maintained to family and friends that I just couldn't fathom how I got into that accident and I felt like it was "the car's fault." I didn't spread this opinion too widely though because it sounded like I was just making an excuse for my accident. That's really how I felt though; as if something went wrong with the brakes that day. I felt if I had been in any other car I've ever driven that accident could have been avoided. I didn't even know there was an option to file a complaint with the NHTSA until this recall hit the news, so I figured filing a complaint now is better than never filing at all. Thanks for your time.

- East Haven, CT, USA

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