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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 1 of 3)

problem #44

May 222010


  • 9,000 miles


Going over pot holes it feels like the brakes skip. It occurs almost every time I go over a hole of some sort and apply the brake. I asked Toyota to double check that the ABS brakes were working correctly. Toyota says its normal and that the ABS system works by momentarily interrupting the braking force to prevent a skit and the resulting loss of control.

- Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #43

May 182010


  • 500 miles
I own and drive a 2009 Toyota Prius, and I have noticed a lapse in braking while braking on rough roads. This goes back to Dec. 2009, shortly after I purchased the vehicle. On my current commute, I'm noticing this lapse in braking almost daily.

- Dousman, WI, USA

problem #42

May 172010


  • miles
Toyota 2009 Prius loses brakes temporarily when going over bumps in the road.

- Sandy Hook, CT, USA

problem #41

Apr 122010


  • 6,250 miles


On 4/05/2010 as I was driving West on galbraith road I was headed downhill to a red light and applying my brake to slow down for the light. As I was slowing the road became extremely bumpy and my brakes all of a sudden felt like I was sliding or floating even though I had the pedal depressed. With my stomach in my throat I lifted my foot off the pedal and reapplied. It then began to slow again. I thought I was mistaken. On 4/12 at 9:30 am as I was leaving my house I was headed down the hill. I was braking to maintain my speed. I hit some bumps in the road and all of a sudden it felt like car was not slowing although I had the brake depressed. With my stomach in my throat, I removed my foot and re depressed the brake and it was fine. I decided I needed to call Toyota. However when I got to the bottom of my condo complex and was making the right turn out I had my foot on my brake to control my turn, the same thing happened when I hit the bump out of here and I over corrected my turn with my heart in my throat and I hit a small retaining wall gashing the passenger side of my car and ripping open my rear tire. My car is currently on a Toyota lot awaiting my insurance adjuster before Toyota will repair or inspect the vehicle.

- West Chester, OH, USA

problem #40

Feb 012009


  • miles
I have a 2009 Toyota Prius and the brakes sporadically don't work/respond when I got uneven road, hit a pot hole, or corner. It doesn't last long.

- New York, NY, USA

problem #39

Feb 242010


  • 47,453 miles
I keep hearing about Prius brake problems on 2010 models but my 2009 has the same problem. I read this in an article online and realized that my 2009 model has the braking problem as the 2010 model. Article: "going downhill and approaching a stop sign. My foot is steady on the brake and I am gradually coming to a stop. Then, I inadvertently go over a bump in the road and the Prius lunges forward. I had to immediately slam hard on the brakes in order to keep the car from going into the intersection. Fortunately, there was no car or person in front of me as I was stopping."

- Armonk, NY, USA

problem #38

Nov 252008


  • 33,000 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Prius. While driving 5 mph toward a stop sign and applying the brakes, the vehicle failed to stop. The traction control light illuminated as soon as she removed her foot from the brake pedal. When the light was not illuminated, the brakes functioned normally. The failure mileage was 50. The current mileage was 33,000.

- Shapleigh, ME, USA

problem #37

Feb 212010


  • 21,500 miles
Braking issues with a 2009 Toyota Prius model. Under rough road condition the brake system does not seem to engage immediately causing a overrun of the distance needed for the vehicle to stop.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #36

Nov 112009


  • 10,000 miles
The car in front of me slammed on the brakes and I followed suite. However, as had happened in many occasions before the brakes were delayed for a second or two and the light showing that the care is slipping came on. As usual it felt as if I was sliding on ice although there was none. I don't know if I could have stopped in time but the delay was definitely a factor.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #35

Feb 082010


  • 10,000 miles
I own a 2009 Toyota Prius. I was pulling into a parking spot in a shopping center when my car suddenly accelerated. I hit a small tree and the car beside me. The car is being towed to camelback Toyota in phoenix AZ. The car seemed to accelerate even though I stepped on the brake. I did not step on the breake hard but the car just pulled ahead

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #34

Jan 122010


  • 13,500 miles


I own a 2009 Prius, purchase Dec 2008. I have experienced similar brake problems as 2010. When I hit a rough or bumpy road, the brakes get squishy & less effective. I note the anti-skid caution flashes, brakes do become slightly less effective. I am an engineer. I reported this to Toyota 2/8/2010.

- Springfield, VA, USA

problem #33

May 302009


  • 1,000 miles
I have the brake problem being reported for the Prius, but mine is a 2009 model. When braking on rough surfaces, the brakes quit for a moment. Since I don't tailgate, I've never felt in danger. But it is a slightly out of control feeling. I've filled in the date below as May 2009, when I purchased (leased) the car. But the situation has been continuous.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #32

Jun 012009


  • 5,000 miles
Brake failure when going over rough pavement or pothole in both 2005 and 2009 Toyota Prius. We have owned two Prius, a 2005 and now a 2009, and both have exhibited the braking anomoly that is being described in the press as only occuring with the 2010 Prius. I experience this failure frequently. The failure occurs only briefly -about one or two seconds and we have never had an accident because of this. However, it is disconcerting and if this is a malfunction, it should be taken care of for all Prius, not just 2010.

- Airmont, NY, USA

problem #31

Feb 042010


  • 26,000 miles
1. brakes fail to work properly 2. occurs at least once or twice weekly; consequences -- emotional duress and concern; no accidents yet, thank god. 3. nothing has been done to correct this yet. I went to my Toyota dealer, Toyota cavender in san antonio, tx 48 hrs ago to get usual oil change and to get the brakes checked for this problem. I was told by the service dept. That they were closing in an hour and the Toyota Prius technician was not there. I had to call for an appointment with him -- even though my brakes had nearly failed to stop when I pulled into the dealership service area.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #30

Oct 302008


  • 100 miles
Every day I encounter a large pot hole on my way to work. It is about 20 feet from a stop sign, so at this point I am already driving slow and braking. However, when the one wheel dips into the hole, the yellow traction system light comes on, and I feel what could be a slight loss in braking, as if the car is coasting for a split second (versus braking/slowing) or perhaps accelerating forward. The car/system recovers as soon as all wheels pass the pothole. Not having had a traction control system prior to this car, I didn't know what was normal so I didn't pursue it, but I know I don't like how it feels! this has been happening every time I drive over that pothole since I bought the car. Luckily they just paved the hole last month finally. Otherwise I try to avoid rough roads as a matter of course. Perhaps a related problem is when trying to go up an icy/slushy slope and the traction control shuts off the wheels to keep them from slipping/spinning. Since I live on a hill, this makes winter especially stressful and makes me fearful of driving to from work and encountering even a slight incline that is not plowed or salted --what if the car stopped and I got hit? Toyota says this is "normal" to keep the electric engine from being over stressed or some such thing.

- Mukilteo, WA, USA

problem #29

Feb 032010


  • 22,000 miles
I was driving home from work in my 2009 Prius. When coming to a traffic light (icy conditions) I took my foot off of the accelerator, started to coast and then began to brake. I had total brake failure. The car kept going and I heard a thumping like the anti-lock brakes were trying to engage. I finally had to throw the car into neutral.

- Medina, OH, USA

problem #28

Feb 052010


  • 20,000 miles
I have a 2009 Toyota Prius. The problem I describe has been happening since I first purchased the car, it is not a new problem. Occasionally, when I step on the brake to slow down when approaching a stop sign, stopped car or red light, the car does not stop immediately it seems to be delayed in it's response and then I have to step down harder on the break to make it stop and then it becomes a "hard" stop. This happens usually at slow speeds. 20-55mph. I've notice this problem occurs many times during the week, today I already experienced it once and I am becoming afraid to drive this car. I never know when the problem will occur, there is no forewarning. I have been concerned for a long time and fear that it's just a matter of time before this breaking problem results in an accident. I took my car in yesterday to my local Toyota dealer and they said everything checked out fine and they could not find/recreate the problem. I have mentioned it to them in the past and they told me it was just a different feel because of the brake "vacuum" design.

- Greer, SC, USA

problem #27

Nov 282009


  • 17,000 miles
2009 Prius displays erratic braking behavior when brakes are applied on irregular surfaces...rr tracks, gravel etc.

- Hendersonville, NC, USA

problem #26

Jan 202010


  • 10,000 miles
I have a 2009 Prius, purchased in March 2009. Several times my brakes have stopped working on rough surfaces and the surged forward. Each time I was attempting to stop for a traffic light. I would brake, the brakes would work, and then I would hit a rough patch in the road, the brakes would stop working, and the car would surge forward. The most recent incident was in January of this year. Each time I was able to stop the car by letting up on the brakes and then braking again. Luckily I have never had a car in front of me when this happened. One time though I almost went into the intersection before being able to stop.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #25

Jan 012009


  • miles
Applying light to moderate pressure on the braking pedal of my 2009 Prius while simultaneously going over a pothole at low to moderate speed (such as in traffic) causes the braking system to release and the car will fail to stop. Removing pressure from the pedal and reapplying pressure to the brake pedal usually regains braking function but causes a few seconds of lost braking. This is easily repeatable and frequently occurs in the same spots on a daily commute for the past year I have owned this car. On two occasions soon after purchasing the car in October 2008 I was still unfamiliar with this braking "quirk" and rear ended two separate cars on different occasions. There was minor damage to both bumpers of the vehicles. Both occasions were in heavy traffic traveling under 10 miles per hour, attempting to brake with unwittingly hitting a pothole at the same moment.

- Shirley, MA, USA

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