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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
7 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
10,034 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.

2009 Toyota Prius brakes problems

brakes problem

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2009 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #24

Jan 012010


  • miles


My 2009 Prius consistently experiences locking brakes when small bumps are hit. I can recreate this issue consistently on specific roads.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #23

Feb 032010


  • 9,100 miles
I own a 2009 Prius and anytime that I apply the brakes and hit a pothole or any raised object on the roadway the vehicle skids or accelerates forward. The Prius was purchased in February of 2009. This failure occurs everytime I hit a pothole, manhole cover or any raised object in the road while braking. When the failure occurs the yellow skid warning light in the dashboard illuminates. I have no control over the automobile while this failure is occurring.

- Seekonk, MA, USA

problem #22

Nov 222009


  • miles
I bought a 2009 Toyota Prius in March 2009. On several occasions, while braking over rough roadways, the brakes have seemed to skip (and the ABS dashboard light comes on). My wife has also experienced the same issue several times. While we initially thought it was due to the road conditions, after the announcements regarding the brake issue with the 2010 model, I had to report that this issue is also present in my 2009 model.

- North Quincy, MA, USA

problem #21

Feb 032010


  • 20,000 miles


The brakes on my 2009 Prius are dangerous. When I go over a bump or rough part in the road, I can feel the pedal roll under my foot and it feels like I momentarily lose control of the brakes.

- Natchitoches, LA, USA

problem #20

Jan 032010


  • 12,500 miles
My 2009 Prius, which I leased in November of 2008, has had brake problems since the day I drove it home. Occasionally the brake will catch (when applied), then release, then catch again. I've reported it to Toyota 3 times and told each time by the service dept that they can't find anything. It happened as recently as 3 weeks ago, while traveling 70 mph on a highway in Arizona in 22 degree weather. It was a little scary to say the least. I can't get Toyota to respond to my inquiry - and haven't driven the car since.

- Beverly Hills, CA, USA

problem #19

Jan 252010


  • 5,000 miles
I purchased a 2009 Toyota Prius from my local dealer and have had the brakes do the same skipping as the 2010 model. When brought to the local dealers attention they stated that is the way the brakes work in anti lock mode. This has happened several times to her and just recently to me at night. So far there has been no accidents but I am concerned that it is only a matter of time. Thank you.

- Janesville, WI, USA

problem #18

Mar 012009


  • 20 miles


I drive a leased 2009 Prius. This is my family's first hybrid vehicle. Enroute home after work each weekday (a drive totalling 5 miles), I drive down a typical los angeles main street, that has numerous potholes. If braking when riding over the potholes, the car surges forward for a second, and seems uncontrollable. Because it has done this since our lease of the Prius (we got it last March, new), I attributed it to my needing to get used to the difference between a hybrid and the 2008 Camry we own, and try to refrain from braking over potholes when possible. Now that I know this is a defect, I am concerned about continuing to drive either car with my 3 year old in it..... please expand the research on Toyota's braking system for Prius beyond 2010 models.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #17

Jan 282010


  • 6,600 miles
2009 Toyota Prius hit pothole and car lurches forward. Brake light comes on for a second.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #16

Dec 252009


  • 3,000 miles
I purchased a 2009 Toyota Prius from dunning Toyota in ann arbor, Michigan in October 2008. Unfortunately I, as well, have absolutely experienced sudden brake loss when hitting my brakes "hard and suddenly". it feels like you are sliding on ice and the vehicle is "locked" - you have no control. As others have stated recently, this suddenly locked brake loss occurs for approximately a second to second and a half. This has occurred to me 4 or 5 times in the past year. I didn't think too much about it until the news reports, and my wife indicated that it too has occurred to her 3 times in the past year. I noticed that when it does occur that if I take my foot off the brake and then slowly depress down I regain my brakes again. Although the service has been good through the dealership, I had to be honest in filing this complaint for myself and the publics safety.

- South Lyon, MI, USA

problem #15

Feb 042010


  • 21,000 miles
Braking over uneven road surface such as manholes, railroad crossings and broken pavement, the car's rate of deceleration is briefly halted (giving a sensation of acceleration).

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #14

Jun 092009


  • miles


On the morning of June 9, 2009 I was traveling South on I-93 near the town of medford, MA. I was on my way to logan airport to return the 2009 Toyota Prius I had rented that previous Wednesday. It was approximately 9:30 am; the freeway was still bumper-to-bumper with rush hour traffic. I was in the left-hand lane of the highway and traffic was stop and go. A gap opened up in traffic and I accelerated. The car in front of me (approximately 60¿) suddenly stopped. I slammed on the brakes but my car kept going. There was nothing I could do as my car plowed into the car in front of me, at the speed of approximately 10 mph. The impact was sufficient to dislodge my front license plate. There was no apparent damage to the car in front of me, however the two passengers were extremely shaken up. There was a Massachusetts state trooper on the scene who took all the information but did not file a report. As soon as I could, at about 11:00 am, I called my insurance company, usaa to report the accident, and I explained all of the details to them.

- Eugene, OR, USA

problem #13

Feb 272009


  • 2,100 miles
On my 2009 Toyota Prius, I consistently experience braking difficulties on rough or uneven surfaces. If I am pressing on the brake and pass thru a hole or hump in the road, the car flashes the stability control warning lights and I have no brakes what-so-ever for what feels like a few seconds. If I release the brake and press down again, I then have brake control back. I reported this to my dealership several times in the past year and continue to receive the same response 'that is the way the brakes are on the Prius.'

- Bushkill, PA, USA

problem #12

Feb 012010


  • 10,000 miles
I noticed on my Toyota Prius 2009 takes about a second or two to actually brake. I noticed that even when I start braking slightly the car does slow down but I have to press harder (more than half way in) for the car to respond on braking.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #11

Feb 042010


  • miles
I own a 2009 Toyota Prius and notice a delay in braking specially over bumpy roads or ice, also at higher speeds. When you apply the brake the vsc light comes on in the dashboard and the car travels freely for a couple of meters sometimes even accelerating a bit before the brakes actually engage. This is observed very often.

- Westbury, NY, USA

problem #10

Dec 152009


  • 13,000 miles
Prius braking failure. I have experienced several instances (four or five) of a braking failure on my 2009, second generation Toyota Prius. It has occurred during relatively slow speed braking, such as approaching a stop sign, coincident with hitting a severe bump, such as a pot hole or crossing rough railroad tracks. There appears to be a surge where the brakes are ineffective for a short period of time---less than a second. I describe it as a surge but it may well be just a total release of the brakes. It seems to be most severe the greater the bump. I have only experienced this at speeds less than 30 mph or so. There has been no loss of control of the vehicle. Normal braking returns immediately. I have owned the vehicle since November, 2008. This problem was reported to my dealer who suggested that it was normal anti-lock braking action and expressed little interest in trying to determine the cause. I've been driving for over 50 years and at least 10 years with anti-lock brakes and have never felt this type of action from any other vehicle.

- Topsham, ME, USA

problem #9

Oct 132009


  • 29,000 miles
I have a 2009 Toyota Prius hybrid. Occasionally when I step on the brake the car does not stop immediately even at slow speeds when braking. I now hit the brakes about 10 feet before a stop sign or light, so I wont go into the oncoming lane. I have not taken it in to get looked at yet.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #8

Jun 182009


  • 3,222 miles
Waiting for my husband at his mother's assisted living residence, I put my 2009 Prius in park mode. Deciding to return to the bldg entrance, I put the car in reverse (out of parking mode) and let it go at its own speed. My foot never touched the accelerator. I was about to turn the wheel to reenter the entrance area, when the car started to accelerate. I quickly put my foot on the brake but the brakes didn¿T work. I then saw a woman in the rear view mirror, about a foot from me standing on the curb in front of the bldg's glass faÇade. I turned the wheel just missing her as well as the bldg. Frantically pressing the brakes while the car continued accelerating more, I almost went on to a busy St. Across from a mall. Somehow I saved myself & others by turning the steering wheel to the rt, reentering the property via a curb cut for wheelchairs, etc. I missed hitting a pole but ran over 2 trees, which the car severed & which abruptly stopped the car, just before hitting a brick wall. This all happened at night, in the dark, in reverse.the policeman & the tow truck operator were incredulous how the car got into that space. It was towed to a nearby Toyota dealer, where the brakes were pronounced "perfect". so my husband insisted I be checked out. While relating the incident to the doctor, the dr. Googled "Prius brake/acceleration problems" & found many & printed 1 of a 2009 Prius where the driver encountered 3 such occurrences "due to a combination of mysterious acceleration and loss of brakes". the dr. Was certain I was the ¿victim", but suggested I have an mri "to be sure"--which I did & I'm fine. That I was in control in a totally uncontrollable situation at night with a car in reverse, where I almost killed someone & possibly killed or hurt others, including myself, and done considerable damage along the way is a miracle and the culprit, I'm convinced, is/was a "glitch" in the car's computer.

- Washington Dc, DC, USA

problem #7

Jan 012010


  • miles
My company provides for me a 2009 Toyota Prius and it has been my primary vehicle for the past 36,000 miles. I've noticed braking issues ever since I got it brand new at the dealership. The brakes normally work exceptionally well. This car stops extremely well under normal conditions. However, if while braking, I hit any type of bump or hole or any rumble strips or anything like that, the car feels like the brakes just go away. Sometimes it even feels like the car begins to accelerate for a brief moment! again, this only happens if I hit a pothole, bump, etc. It happens enough that I've thought of setting up an experiment of running over a whole row of rumble strips just to see if the car would stop at all. It's almost like the car won't begin to stop until it's on smooth pavement again after the bumpy part. It's unfortunate because under normal conditions the Prius has excellent stopping power, in my opinion. Anyway, that's about it. I can't explain it much better than that.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #6

Feb 022010


  • 24,000 miles
2009 Prius brake failure in less than 1" snow covered road. Car slid to stop with no brake control. Pedestrian in road uninjured because they moved out of car path!! second time no brake control in snow. Car had been recently inspected with no brake findings. Will no longer drive car in snow until remedied.

- Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA

problem #5

Dec 032008


  • 0 miles
At all speeds below 15mph, the Prius' electrical braking system "pulses" the brakes resulting in a deceleration that is not smooth. The effect is similar to that you might expect as the transmission downshifts. But...the transmission effect can be eliminated since the brake pulsing effect remains after the vehicle's transmission was placed in neutral and the brakes were applied. The local albuquerque Prius dealership indicated this pulsing is "normal" for the Prius. On slippery pavement, this effect could be deadly. The braking should be smooth throughout the braking cycle. It is not. Disregard date - this is an ongoing problem.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

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