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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
48 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
8 / 2
Average Mileage:
4,570 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.

2010 Toyota Prius brakes problems

brakes problem

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2010 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 2 of 37)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #718

Jun 012011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 8,122 miles


While driving, when vehicle is coasting (decelerating) in eco mode/engine off and brakes are applied under specific conditions such as passing over a man-hole cover or pothole the following occurs: Car decelerates, as wheel/tire hits an anomaly in the road surface the brakes momentarily fail and the car surges forward as the engine starts. The sensation is a loss of braking force, plus momentary surge in the forward direction. Reaction to this situation is mild panic and overbraking, (literally slamming on the brake pedal). This problem can be recreated faithfully at one road close to a stopsign/intersection. This problem has occurred for months. Recently (11/30/11) when following a car on this specific road the car stopped abruptly due to an animal jarting into the road. I applied the brakes, brake anomaly occurred and felt I could not stop in time. Evasive driving measures forced me into the on-coming traffic lane to avoid a collision. Toyota unwilling to address this issue at the dealer or corporate.

- Hamden, CT, USA

problem #717

Nov 122011

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,190 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Toyota Prius. While driving approximately 20 mph the contact depressed the brake pedal and it fell to the floor board. The contact was able to avoid crashing into several vehicles he turned onto a sidewalk and hit a street lamp, which then crashed on top of the vehicle, causing extensive damage. A police report was filed. The police officer inspected the vehicle and confirmed the brakes had failed. The vehicle was towed to an auto body shop. The vehicle was included previously in the recall under NHTSA campaign id number: 10V039000 (service brakes, air:anti-lock:control unit/module) and had the recall repairs performed. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 8,190....updated 12/03/12 updated 01/11/12

- Verona, NJ, USA

problem #716

Feb 032010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 750 miles
I'm an owner of a 2010 Prius. Ten days or so after I purchased the car(in Jan 2010), I experienced a loss in braking which resulted in damage to the bumper. Numerous!!!! almost daily!!!! times since, even after the recall fix (done on my vehicle on 3/10/10), I have experienced, not only a loss of braking (usually while going over some little bump) but the car actually lurching forward. Quite dramatic and scary, especially if there is a stop sign, intersection, a car or a person in front of you. Last thurs (11/10/11), the road surface was wet, and I braked and had no, none, nada brakes and I rear ended the person in front of me. I paid for her damage out of my own pocket. I have not fixed the damage done to my car. Brand new all season tires on the car, by the way. Today (11/14/11), again the road surface was wet, I was behind a car in the right lane when a car inappropriately began merging from a ramp on the right, causing the car in front of me to suddenly slow down. I braked, and again, nothing!!! I quickly looked in my side view mirror and saw I had clearance to go in the left lane, and managed to avoid contact. 10 days after I purchased the 2010 Prius, I said I wanted to return it and I sent in all this documentation certified mail, but Toyota rejected everything. There is a defect in this car and it is unsafe.

- Kintnersvile, Pa 18930, PA, USA

problem #715

Oct 202011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 16,661 miles


When I was pulling into a parking spot, the brakes failed and the vehicle accelerated on its own causing me to run over the cement parking stop and crash into a cement wall. The vehicle then back up from the concussion and accelerated once again causing me to crash twice. I finally came to my senses and shut the vehicle off. I had been noticing the brakes feeling strange prior to this incident. This caused $6,400 in damage. Toyota was alerted, had the vehicle inspected and claim it revealed no evidence of any sort of malfunction or defect. In my heart, I know that is not true. This was a very frightening experience and I dread this happening again.

- Aliso Viejo, CA, USA

problem #714

Aug 082011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 8,500 miles
I just got an email from which after reading through complaints one hit me and I thought "that's exactly what happened to us". at the time, a couple of months ago, with Toyota's known problems, I told my wife to remember this and let me know if it ever happens again (which it has not). The problem occurred when we were traveling at a low speed and I hit an speed bump the vehicle surged like I had bumped the gas pedal only I had my foot on the brake.

- St. Francisville, LA, USA

problem #713

Jan 102011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
I gently drive my 2010 Toyota Prius in eco mode to maximize fuel economy. Every weekday, since January 2011, I slow on a certain road to make a right turn. The road has a manhole cover recessed about 1 inch into the road along the path of my passenger side tires. Every time I drive over this manhole cover the Prius completely loses ability to brake for about 1/2 second, then braking is reestablished. There are other small bumps I drive over at other places which have the same results to the Prius braking system. Yesterday (26 Oct 2011) something different but possibly associated happened while driving over a bump. This time I was accelerating after having made a right turn from a complete stop. While still accelerating after the turn I signaled left and proceeded to merge into the left hand lane. As the Prius right front tire drove over the reflective lane marker imbedded in the road surface (the marker sticks out about 1/2 inch from road surface) the Prius went out of control. The car suddenly and severely pulled hard to the left and rapidly slowed, I struggled against the cars actions to avoid hitting the raised center median. My first though was that I must have had a complete and instantaneous blow out on the front left tire. My reaction was to immediately remove my foot from the accelerator. Then as I was further assessing my options and the surrounding traffic the Prius regained control and I was able to continue driving down the road as if nothing had ever happened. As the Prius reinstated control I heard a beep come from the dashboard, however I was not quick enough to notice if any warning lights had engaged during the incident. When I looked at the displays everything appeared normal. I also check the car externally and everything appeared normal. All incidents are on high quality road surfaces with dry pavement. Dealer indicates no recalls.

- League City, TX, USA

problem #712

Oct 242011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles


I depressed the brake pedal and, instead of slowing down, my car surged forward for about 20 feet before brakes engaged and the car stopped --- just before the intersection (red light). I barely avoided hitting a truck in front of me (I was able to drive around). Road surface was dry, without any potholes, bumps, etc. I took the car to the Toyota service center. After checking my car they informed me that the computer did not detect any malfunctions, the test drive was also uneventful, so that nothing could be done to resolve the problem. This car's braking is obviously unpredictable and it is, without a doubt, not safe to drive.

- West Orange, NJ, USA

problem #711

May 032011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 300 miles
Car ABS light comes on, and at the same time vehicle loses brake assist or brake assist becomes uneven. Car has had three brake light failures - 1 with previous owner and 2 with current owner. First failure was repaired by resetting the computer, we think. With current owner, dealer has replaced the antilock sensor two times, and with the second sensor replacement Toyota now has pronounced the vehicle as safe. Since the brakes failed after the first sensor replacement, we have little confidence that the problem was solved with the second sensor replacement. We are concerned about vehicle safety, especially since the car is frequently driven in heavy Washington beltway traffic. Typically car runs for some time and then fails, so we do not know if and when it will happen again. Dealer and Toyota have been unsupportive to our concerns.

- Springfield, VA, USA

problem #710

Feb 122010


  • 200 miles
My issue is similar to others that have complained. When traveling a low speeds and I hit an unexpected bump the vehicle surges forward. This is very dangerous and one that I would hope Toyota take notice and address immediately.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #709

Jan 032010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 300 miles
I first reported this to Toyota prior to the initial 2010 recall, the car was less than 1 month old and I have reported it on numerous occasions via the Toyota website. On the few occasions I lent the car to friends they have had the same experience. Description: When traveling at relatively slow speeds and an unexpected bump comes up and the brakes are engaged early, once going over the bump the car losses brake power for a few seconds and jolts forward. It is very disconcerting B/C in those split seconds if one is not prepared the car hurls forward and could if all odds are against me, the car could kill someone if they are walking in front of the car. I reported it to my dealer, my dealer's inspector went out on test drive with me, we were able to recreate the incident when he was driving as there are a few spots in my neighborhood that it happens every time. He put the computer on the car but it did not read there was a problem. He called the national technical office, who eventually came out, I left the car at the dealership. They recreated the problem and according to the local technician they put a camera in the wheel to film the situation. I was later told by my local technician that it was determined that there was not a problem with the car and that the situation is normal where the tire catches an uneven surface and goes into overdrive. I have had dreams that I would kill someone in this car. Noone is allowed to use this car for the same reason. I fear for my life and the life of anyone walking in front of me on a street I do not know. It happens almost every 2 weeks. It is scary! please help! this is the first new car I bought in 25 years and I am unable to get rid of it B/C I had to pay so much for it. When I inquired what my options were, Toyota said none, that there is no problem with the car.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #708

Aug 202011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 15,000 miles


I purchased my 2010 Prius in August 2010. For the past year, I have had problems with the brake system when attempting to brake at low speeds. When braking at low speeds, such as stopping at a red light or stop sign, if the car hits a bump or a pothole, it stops braking and instead accelerates forward a bit. It is extremely frightening and I find it exceptionally dangerous. I have come extremely close to hitting the vehicles in front of me on several occasions. I now have to try to conscientiously adjust and drive very, very slowly when braking on uneven road surfaces since I have come to anticipate this problem. However, many times there is no way to avoid the car's surge of power. I believe this is a highly dangerous situation with my vehicle. A simple internet search will demonstrate that this problem exists and was not resolved with the recall in March 2010. I purchased my Prius, new, five months after the problem was allegedly fixed and I have had this problem since day one. The brakes have been examined on my vehicle by a Toyota dealer and they appear to be fine. I highly believe that a recall is appropriate to fix this dangerous braking issue.

- Collingswood, NJ, USA

problem #707

Apr 012010


  • 1,000 miles
When I pressed the brakes while approaching a stop I hit a bump in the road (large pot hole). The pressure on the brake released for approximately 1 second before the pressure on the brake pad re-engaged. This same scenario can happen any where from 0 to 2 times per week. In the winter when the road surface is not clear it is apparant that when the brake "disengages" the anti-lock doesn't engage because the car slides. I have slide through a red light, onto a busy street. Fortunately there have not been cars in the vacinity. I have taken the car to the dealership 3 times for this problem with no solution or recommendation.

- La Crosse, WI, USA

problem #706

Jul 252011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 29,980 miles
2010 Toyota Prius, with 29000 miles. Pulling into a parking lot at a very slow speed, applied brakes to stop car, but it did not stop it, it started jerking forward, until it stopped when it struck a fence, injuries occured as a result, seat belt did not old back driver, and driver wipped forward and back striking steering wheel. Vehicle was towed to toyotta dealer. Still wating for Toyota Corp to advise of error that occured, data from cmputer has been downloaded by a private firm and delivered to Toyota. 8/9/11 accident occured on 7/25/11 at 14:30.

- Dartmouth, MA, USA

problem #705

Jan 202010

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Toyota Prius. The vehicle was included in the recall under NHTSA campaign id number 10V039000 (service brakes, air:antilock:control unit/module) and had the repairs performed. The contact stated that after the repairs were performed, while driving approximately 15 mph over a uneven road surface, the brake pedal was depressed and the vehicle suddenly accelerated for a few moments. The contact also stated that the failure only occurred when driving over an uneven road surface. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnostics, where the technicians were unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 100. The VIN was not available. Had the recall done but it did not fix the problem. Toyota has been unresponsive and the dealers say there's nothing they can do. Updated 11/16/2011

- Providence, RI, USA

problem #704

Aug 022011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 20,472 miles
Ever since I purchased my 2010 Prius in November, 2009 the brakes have been a problem. When braking while driving over a bump or pothole the car looses braking ability and there is a surge of power. The dealership claims there is no problem and the recall work has not made a noticeable difference.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #703

Jul 202011


  • 160,000 miles
Brakes failed. 2010 Toyota Prius. 160,000 miles on vehicle. When I started the car, I had no brakes. When I put the car in gear, I then had brakes. I had brakes when I pulled up to a stop sign. As I waited for traffic I then had no brakes. When I began to move I had brakes, but then as I gained speed, the brakes went out. I managed to stop with the emergency brake. Checked the brake fluid: Completely full. Dealer said the master cylinder went bad. Orginal brakes on vehicle; not even half used. Highway miles on vehicle. Very hot day. I believe it is electrical, dealer says mechanical. Had there been an accident, this incident would be looked into. As it is, no dealer will look into a car that is out of warrenty. I complained for 5 months about the brakes when I first bought the car new. Dealer told me that there is nothing wrong with the brakes. Even after the recalls, there still is problems with the brakes. Now I believe there is a problem with the master cylinder, -the electric component part of it- but Toyota will only look into it when there is a serious accident.

- Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #702

Jul 012011


  • miles
I am experiencing the same problem as many other 2010 Prius owners. The brakes fail briefly when driving over large potholes located on a grade. I have discussed the problem with a Toyota dealership and was told that they are aware of the problem but until a recall/solution is issued there is nothing that they can do. They told me to brake harder when driving over potholes to compensate for the problem; the brakes, however, do not fail with every pothole. It seems like the potholes have to be a certain size, yet from the driver's seat, it's extremely difficult to judge the size of the pothole and thus if the car will lose braking power. So, slamming on the brakes for every pothole is just as dangerous as not since stopping too quickly can cause a rear-end accident. I live in a city overwhelmed with hills and potholes so this problem happens nearly every time I drive the car. It has gotten to the point where I am fearful to drive my car since I have had several close calls and know that unless this problem is fixed, it will eventually cause an accident. Briefly losing braking power may seem insignificant but until you have actually driven the car and experienced the lack of control the only comparison that I can make is driving on ice. You feel utterly helpless for the time that the car is out of your control, even if it's only a few seconds, during which time you are legally and morally accountable for what your car does or hits. There are plenty of other road hazards and safety concerns, whether or not my car is going to stop when I apply the brakes should not be one of them. I implore you, please investigate this problem and require that Toyota take responsibility for fixing it and ensuring the safety of Prius owners, pedestrians and other drivers. Thank you.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #701

May 072010


  • 20,000 miles
I was making a sharp right turn to pull into a parking space, slowing to a stop. The car suddenly and unexpectedly accelerated forward out of my control. I applied the brakes as hard as I could, with no response. As the car was racing into a tree, I shut off the engine by pushing the power button to off. The car knocked down a tree and came to a stop on top of it.

- Cotuit, MA, USA

problem #700

Jun 132011


  • miles
Car stop on crowed warning appered on dash hybid over heating car stop. Had to restat car. By time pulled to shoulder warning light whent off. Car smelled of burning this happen on Friday on sat brough car to santa monica they had no answer. As needed more info had car towed on Monday left car till sat. Their diagnosis using gas and brake at same time how do you do this with one right foot?. you never drive with the left foot computoe is in error

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #699

May 142011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
The contact owns a 2010 Toyota Prius. The contact stated while driving at low speeds in inclement weather and trying to decelerate the vehicle would not stop moving and it crashed into the rear of another vehicle. There were no injuries from either vehicle. A police report was filed. The vehicle was not towed because it wasn't a major crash. The manufacturer was then contacted and they advised him that they were unaware of any failures in regards to the brakes. The failure mileage was approximately 65,000. Updated 08/31/2011

- Flint, MI, USA

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