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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 36 of 37)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #38

Jan 102010


  • 6,000 miles


Braking irregularity on icy surfaces, vehicle feels like rear wheels skid 4-8 feet then all wheels grab when normal braking for a stop sign. Enough deceleration to have seatbelt grab and dog projected into front seat area from rear cargo platform. Same feeling as if brakes were locked up while moving on solid ice and the surface changed to dry road.

- Hugo, MN, USA

problem #37

Jan 062010


  • 2,300 miles
There appears to be a problem with the brakes on my 2010 Prius. There is a sudden loss of braking force if I apply the brakes while rolling over uneven pavement. When it first occurred, it was on snow. Once I sailed into the intersection. The second time, I almost rear ended the car in front of me. I went home and then drove my wife's Acura in the same snowy conditions at the same intersections and didn't experience any problems. I know the problem wasn't due to weather conditions. I have since then been able to reproduce it in dry conditions. The common condition is braking over uneven surfaces. Some people have said that it feels like sudden surge of acceleration. The gasoline engine isn't (usually) on while the car is braking. The surge isn't due to the electric motor malfunctioning because on smooth surfaces, it behaves as expected. I believe what they feel is a loss of braking power which makes the car feel like it is accelerating. Some people have been told that this is normal ABS behavior. I've owned several cars with ABS and this is not the same nor what I would consider 'normal' behavior. It could be a combination of the uneven surface with ABS, regenerative brakes, friction brakes, suspension spring rate and tires. While normal ABS will exhibit less braking force and longer distances to stop when it is engaged, it isn't the same as this condition. Or at least it shouldn't be this touchy to engage. When it happens, it is rather alarming. I really like this car. I think it is a great piece of automotive technology. However this needs to be addressed. I can't accept it being a normal quirk of the car. I travel with my wife and young kids in this car. If I can't be made to feel safe in the car, I will be trading it in sooner than expected.

- Westampton, NJ, USA

problem #36

Dec 192009


  • 9,500 miles
Brakes temporarily disengage during braking if can hits a bump or pothole in the road. It is only a momentary instances before the brakes re-engage, but it gives the feeling of accelerating. It has happend to me about a half dozen times since purchasing the car (2010 Toyota Prius) in August 2009. Luckily no cars or pedestrians were in front of me when this problem occurred.

- Manalapan, NJ, USA

problem #35

Jan 032010


  • 6,500 miles


I have noticed the brakes in our 2010 Prius are not as effective as slowing the car as they were in our 2004 Prius. On January 3 I was exiting the highway. As I was about to leave the highway while braking I encountered a slight bump in the pavement. I noticed that when this occurred the braking effectiveness dropped substantially, to the point where the car felt as though there were no brakes being applied. As soon as the bump was gone the braking effectiveness returned.

- Amherst, NH, USA

problem #34

Nov 102009


  • 1,250 miles
2010 Prius acceleration surge - when I drive over a sewer cover or any similar indentations in the roadway the vehicle surges forward in an aggressive manner. I need to apply the brakes or steer to avoid any object in the path of the vehicle. It is very unsettling and dangerous since the surge is strong and unpredictable.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #33

Sep 012009


  • 250 miles
Our 2010 Prius unexpectedly lurches when braking. This occurs when it hits a pot hole or when the surface is slick / slippery. It does it every time a certain pothole is hit - that is, we can reproduce the lurching. This lurching, which feels like an unexpected acceleration, significantly and unexpectedly increases the stopping distance. This has almost resulted in the Prius striking the car in front of it. It makes it impossible to safely judge your braking distance in order to come to a safe stop because you never know when this phenomenon will occur. This also puts pedestrians in the cross walk at risk, since the ability to stop accurately is affected. We have taken the car to the dealer twice. They are able to reproduce the phenomena. However, they say that the car tests out "within specifications", that there is nothing wrong with the vehicle, that it is just the way it is made, and that we just have to get used to it. They say there is nothing to fix or repair. They took another 2010 Prius off of their lot and ran it over the same pot hole and it had the same problem. An article by paul a. eisenstein, contributor, updated 7:29 a.M. et, tues., Dec. 29, 2009 describes exactly the problem we are having, and it seems to be related to the braking system. This does not seem to be a problem with only my vehicle - it appears to be a fleet-wide problem. Having the brakes cut out unexpectedly is a major safety concern. We do not feel safe driving the vehicle.

- Commerce Twp, MI, USA

problem #32

Dec 152009


  • miles


I am writing in response to an article I read on where people mention a problem of which I have experienced the same thing. I have owned a 2010 Toyota Prius for 2 months/5,000 miles. On numerous occasions, I can feel the brakes slip. To be more exact, it feels as though, when I apply the brakes, the car lurches forward and then begins braking. There is a specific situation near my house where this consistently happens. It is when I am coming down a steep hill, and I apply the brakes to prepare for a right turn, the car performs as I mentioned before. It lurches, and then begins braking.

- Jamaica Plain, MA, USA

problem #31

Oct 152009


  • 2,000 miles
Once, when transitioned from smooth to uneven surfaces during a parking operation on uneven, downhill pavement, I experienced a lack of brake pedal pressure. I do not recall any change of acceleration, simply the loss of brake pedal pressure for a very brief time, perhaps for a second. It surprised and shocked me to a fair degree as I thought, at the time, that my brakes had failed. By pressing harder the brake pedal pressure returned and I was able to stop the car normally. I now take into consideration the pavement surface condition when applying my brakes as I feel the car's braking system is peculiarly sensitive to uneven pavement surfaces.

- Guerneville, CA, USA

problem #30

Dec 232009


  • 7,400 miles
I have a 2010 Toyota Prius. While driving behind a car on 17th street in manhattan the car in front braked coming to a light I in turn hit the brakes and hit a pot hole at the same time, the car's brakes seemed to jump or release and I had to push down in a panic to try and control the car, I missed slamming into the car in front by inches.

- Point Lookout, NY, USA

problem #29

Dec 222009


  • 2,900 miles
In my 2010 Toyota Prius, as I'm braking on a rough surface, it feels as though the car accelerates for a split second. It happened most recently on 12/22 as I was coming to a stoplight on a road with patches of snow/ice debris in cambridge, MA. It has occurred maybe 5 times since I bought the car in August, and at first I thought I was just imagining it. When it happens, my heart races and I press the brake harder, which seems to make it engage. The end result is that the stopping distance is longer than it should be, and it's definitely scary. I took the car into the dealership on Wednesday, December 23rd to have it checked out. The car was approved as functioning as normal, with a write-up saying the master mechanic looked at it, took it for a drive on a bumpy surface, and cleared it as fine. The client services manager explained that I just needed to get used to the sensation when the ABS kicks in.

- Cambridge, MA, USA

problem #28

Dec 152009


  • 1,000 miles


Something weird happens when I am braking. As I am slowing and braking evenly, there is a very brief surge like I hit the accelerator, but my foot is no where near the accelerator. It feels like the brakes are not working at all for a brief moment. It seems to happen when I hit a bump, but it can also happen for no apparent reason. It has happened about 5 times now and it seems to be increasing in frequency. It also happened once when my boyfriend was driving it.

- Petaluma, CA, USA

problem #27

Dec 122009


  • 9,000 miles
Car hit bump or pothole on the freeway, while braking, braking power was significantly reduce for a short period of time.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #26

Dec 202009


  • 4,500 miles
I have driven my 2010 Prius (which I bought new from local Toyota dealer) since July, 2009. I have noticed on several occasions that when the car drives over a break in the pavement (pothole, or roadwork where the pavement height drops), it suddenly feels "airborne, " and will not brake or slow down for several yards, no matter what I do. I have worried about not being able to stop and hitting a car or a pedestrian front of me, but so far each time my car has had this airborne-like problem, I have been far enough away from the car or person in front of me to stop. Other people driving 2010 Prius cars have reported having the same problem. Toyota should be required to solve this braking issue, and recall the 2010 Prius to repair this problem.

- Johnson City, TN, USA

problem #25

Dec 302009


  • 4,425 miles
1. applying brakes normally, but during braking hit a bump, or a seam in the road, or wet pavement, or small patch of ice. 2. ABS system kicks in, however appears to kick in too aggressively and all braking force seems to disappear while car feels as if it is accelerating. Maintaining brake force or re applying brake eventually brings car to halt. 3. nothing has been done to remedy this. No warning lamps are lit, etc. I will call Toyota tomorrow. Have owned car since new, about 6 months, and this scenario has occurred several times now.

- Kensington, MD, USA

problem #24

Dec 302009


  • 2,000 miles
I have a 2010 Toyota Prius (purchased in October 2009). I have noticed on several occasions the brakes momentarily don't work after going over a bump. I feel a lose of control of the car.

- Millbrae, CA, USA

problem #23

Nov 102009


  • 700 miles
On Nov. 3, 2009, I purchased a Prius iv 2010. On Nov. 10 coming to red light on a dry road. Brakes gently applied. Right front tire hit a bump in road. Car slightly accelerated before brakes kicked in. It has happened a few more times since then. In each case, the road was drive. Every time when brakes are applied and car then rolls over a bump or hole in pavement this acceleration occurs. Last time was on Dec. 15. East houston in nyc. Coming to a light. Brakes applied. Car was almost at a full stop. Tires touched on good sized flaw in the pavement and the car slightly sped up. I was really fearful that time the Prius was going to hit the car in front.

- Nyc, NY, USA

problem #22

Nov 192009


  • 3,500 miles
The roads were covered with snow and were quite slippery. I was coming down a hill to a stop sign at about 10 mph. I hit the brakes lightly, the ABS engaged (I could hear/feel the brakes pulse), but the car didn't slow down much. I jammed on the brakes, the ABS was still engaged and the car finally stopped in the middle of the intersection, again slowing down very slowly. If it had not been a four-way stop, somebody would have hit me! I kept driving and the same thing kept happening to me: I hit the brakes, the ABS engaged and the car stopped very slowly. In some cases, it felt like the car even accelerated a little bit before finally (and slowly) coming to a stop. I am a mechanical engineer and used to work for General Motors - I have driven lots of cars - and this has never happened to me before. I immediately drove home and drove my 2002 Honda civic (which does not have anti-lock brakes) down the same road. While the car did slide in the snow, it stopped in about one-third the distance of my Prius. There is definitely something the matter with the braking system and/or the traction control system when the ABS engages.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #21

Dec 222009


  • 5,172 miles
I have a new Toyota Prius 2010 and have experienced the loss of braking combined with a simultaneous acceleration about 4 times now. It is incredibly scary. I have never had this happen on any other car that I've driven. It happens when I hit a bump in the rear. I now see that many people are experiencing this as I saw an article on I now see that others are experiencing the same problem. This has to be investigated. The last time it happened I was facing a cliff and had the car not stopped, my daughter and I would have gone off the cliff and probably would have perished. This is asking for accidents to happen and something must be done to fix this problem. There are way too many of these cars on the road. I do not have the win number on hand, but will add it tomorrow. This has occurred approx 4 times and the car accelerates at the same time I lose braking capabilities.

- Santa Monica, CA, USA

problem #20

Oct 152009


  • 200 miles
2010 Toyota Prius, 4500 miles while braking, the car hit a set of flush railroad tracks. The bump of the tracks caused the braking system to feel like it stopped working, and I had to re-pump the brakes to get braking to re-engage. The car has had a couple more similar episodes of the brakes seeming to dis-engage.

- Acton, MA, USA

problem #19

Dec 272009


  • 2,000 miles
While braking, my car hit a bump and it felt like there was a sudden surge of acceleration. I had to press the brakes extra hard to feel like I regained control of the car. This is definitely a repeatable problem, just drive the car over a pot-hole or a bump while you're breaking to recreate the condition.

- Seattle, WA, USA

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