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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
8 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
22,607 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.

2012 Toyota Prius brakes problems

brakes problem

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2012 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

May 242016


  • 135,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Prius. While driving 20 mph, the brake pedal was depressed, but failed to engage. As a result, the contact's vehicle crashed into the rear of another vehicle. The air bags failed to deploy. A police report was not filed and there were no injuries. The contact was able to drive the vehicle away from the crash scene. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The contact stated that the failure recurred intermittently. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 135,000.

- Smithtown, NY, USA

problem #22

Feb 102016


  • 46,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Prius. While depressing the brake pedal, it made an abnormal noise. The dealer diagnosed that the brake actuator was faulty and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not notified. The VIN was invalid. The failure mileage was 46,000.

- Sacremento, CA, USA

problem #21

Sep 082015


  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the vehicle independently accelerated while pulling into a parking space with the brake pedal applied. The contact applied extreme force and the vehicle continued to unintendedly accelerate at a high rate of speed. The vehicle turned right and crashed into a trash dumpster. The driver and front passenger sustained whiplash. Medical attention was not required. A police report was filed. The vehicle was towed to the dealer's collision center who repaired the body damages and was to send a third party to investigate the cause of the failure. The contact was waiting on the dealer and the manufacturer to determine the remedy to repair the vehicle. The approximate failure mileage was 20,000.

- Mission Viejo, CA, USA

problem #20

Aug 142015


  • 9,000 miles


Vehicle had little or no braking power in a panic stop situation. This was likely cause by a delay switching from regenerative braking to mechanical brakes.

- Bethlehem, PA, USA

problem #19

Jan 102015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
I own a 2012 Prius with the technology package, including radar adaptive cruise control. I believe these same radar sensors are also used to detect imminent collisions in front of the vehicle, even when cruise control mode is not engaged. About a month ago, while driving North on interstate 5 in downtown seattle at approximately 60 miles per hour, and without cruise control engaged, my Prius went into "imminent collision mode" despite the fact that there was nothing in front of me -- no vehicles, no debris, no obstructions. Before slamming on the brakes, my seat belt was "tightened" and the brakes were automatically applied at full force, even without my foot touching the brake. This was incredibly jarring and disturbing, and could have been a serious accident if there was a vehicle behind me. Fortunately, there was no vehicle behind me at this time. After about two seconds of full braking, the vehicle "disengaged" collision mode and allowed me proceed and return to speed. I called the Toyota of seattle dealership and spoke to their service department. They were unaware of this issue, and suggested that I bring the vehicle in for servicing. They confirmed there were no outstanding recalls on the vehicle. They told me it would cost at least $100 for a basic diagnostic, and if sensors had to be replaced, it could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Because I am currently unemployed and looking for work, I did not bring my vehicle into the service center. I feel this is Toyota's obligation to fix, and shouldn't require me spending money out of pocket. I would like some kind of response from Toyota on this issue. I have avoided using the radar cruise control since this moment, but the fact that it occurred while not in this mode makes me feel that the car could "take control" at any moment and cause an accident. Thanks, [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Mill Creek, WA, USA

problem #18

Jan 242015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 19,466 miles
I was driving on I-45 at 55 or 60 mph and the brake pedal went to the floor. It is still that way, brake fluid level is ok. Toyotacare plan is expired. Is there a recall for these vehicles? thanks

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #17

Oct 082014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 33,200 miles


I went to start my Prius V. after it was started, a number of the warning lights came on including the ABS and stability control. I was stunned since I had my 30000 mile check up in may with no problems. When I took it to the dealer for repair, the dealer determined that rodents had eaten through a number of the electrical systems because of the soy based wiring. (I understand now that it's "biogradable soy based wiring insulation.) I generally park my car at only two locations - my home and my work. I had never seen any rodents of any type! I can't imagine what would have happened if one of the wires to the engine, or airbags, or any system for that matter separated while I was driving. Apparently, Toyota is aware of this problem but is trying to downplay it! I was told it's not a warranty item. My car requires two new wiring harnesses, the alarm wiring, and the airbag harness plus other repairs.

- Holiday, FL, USA

problem #16

Jun 172014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 25,070 miles
I was driving on my residential street and stepped on the brake to slow down to make a left turn into my driveway. The car failed to slow down or stop, and instead went over the curb, veering to the right and side swiped the left side of my neighbor's car, narrowly missing his garage.the car then side swiped a tree on my left (on property between my and neighbor's property.) the front end of the car crashed into a tree, saving me from rolling about 900 feet to the street below. The entire time of this incident the brakes never engaged (pedal was down to floor) and I frantically tried to steer to avoid hitting anything. A witness, standing on the street, confirmed my brake lights were on. Car was serviced by Toyota (world class inspection) 15 days before the incident. Inspection report indicated brake fluid level and brake lining were "checked and ok." After the incident the car was towed to a repair site where the operator demonstrated to me that the brakes were nonexistent and the brake fluid level was still appropriate. Car was deemed totaled.

- Newport Beach, CA, USA

problem #15

Jan 032012


  • 5,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while traveling at various speeds, the vehicle failed to respond to deceleration attempts. The contact mentioned that the failure was experienced multiple times. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 5,000.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #14

Apr 212014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 19,648 miles
I was traveling about 20 miles an hour during traffic hour when I saw the car stopped in front of me. I had at least 4 car distance when I applied brakes. Normally, I can feel the seat belt tighten, cars jerking or shake due to anti-lock brake when you step on the brake hard. But this time, I did not feel the car slow down when I stepped on brake all the way down, it continue to cruise a little before it slow down, but by then, I have already hit the car in front of me. This car was serviced regularly, during my last visit 3 weeks ago, I was notified that my car is on the recall list for software update.

- Campbell, CA, USA

problem #13

Apr 042014


  • 60,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while driving 25 mph, the vehicle was crashed into from the rear. The driver attempted to engage the brakes however, the brakes became unresponsive. As a result, the driver crashed into another vehicle and the air bags failed to deploy. A police report was filed and no injuries were reported. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and the manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 60,000.

- Armonk, NY, USA

problem #12

Apr 022012


  • 1,500 miles
I have owned a Toyota Prius 2012 since February 2012 and have had multiple issues with the braking system. I have noticed that if driving over a depression in the road (e.g. pot hole or man hole cover) while depressing the brake the vehicle accelerates. It seems that the vehicles brake system releases and you have to reapply the brakes. I have had the vehicle inspected by the dealer 2 times and they have been unable to identify the problem. I have notice various other complains on this website and wanted to add my experience. Hopefully this will eventually lead to the government forcing Toyota to recall 2012 Prius models before someone is seriously hurt.

- Bel Air, MD, USA

problem #11

Jan 032014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 32,775 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Prius hybrid. The contact stated that the automatic startup engaged independently with a loud clunking noise. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer for diagnosis. The technician was unable to duplicate the problem. The vehicle was also diagnosed by a different dealer who refused to repair the vehicle. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The vehicle had not been repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 32,775...updated 02-28-14 the consumer stated the vehicle was traded in. Updated 03/19/2014

- Spanaway, WA, USA

problem #10

Sep 052013


  • 30,000 miles
While traveling in a rain storm at 17mph, I tried to engage the brakes to prevent from crashing into an 18 wheeler and the brakes did not work. I repeatedly tried to stop the car and the car was accelerating even thought I was applying the brakes not the gas. The car would not shut down, go into park or neutral. I did crash into the 18 wheeler because the engine was accelerating and I wanted to stop.when I crashed the airbags did not deploy. Even after impact the car was still accelerating like it was trying to push the 18 wheeler. Eventually the car powered down after repeatedly pushing every button possible. I had the car towed to a Toyota dealership. I phoned your hotline but the VIN number I gave had a number that was wrong my prior confirmation number is 10542285. Toyota is aware and I am waiting for them to call me back.

- Pearand, TX, USA

problem #9

Aug 012013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 4,600 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Prius. The contact mentioned that while driving 35 mph, the brakes failed to respond. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 4,600 and the current mileage was 4,900....updated 11-01-13

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #8

Aug 222013


  • 12,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while driving approximately 25 mph and making a turn, the brakes failed to respond upon engagement. The vehicle came to a stop after the contact applied the brakes several times. The vehicle then resumed without the brake malfunction. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 12,000. The VIN was not available.

- Buffalo Grove, IL, USA

problem #7

Jun 032013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 3,700 miles
I was exiting the park and my Toyota Prius' brakes failed, careening me onto a major thoroughfare (South orange avenue) on a hill, while my car began accelerating. I hit the park button and my car slowed until I was able to get control again and turn up a hill to a stop. When I turned my car off and on again, the brakes were functioning normally.

- South Orange, NJ, USA

problem #6

Oct 012012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 1,800 miles
My Prius V five was purchased in August 2012. Location of the car is nw of wa state where temperatures are currently in the mid 50S (and below) with high level of humidity. Since the beginning of October 2012, I'm experiencing a noise that would best be described as an "OWL hooting." My problem is especially noticeable after the car has parked for an extended amount of time (eg. In the garage overnight). Sometimes, merely parking for 10 minutes on the school's parking lot is enough to make the noise appear again. The "hooting" definitely "oscillates" with the rotation of the tire and emanates from my rear right side, but is especially loud when making left turns. The noise disappears after driving a few hundred yards, but is loud enough to turn heads. I'm able to reproduce this problem every single morning since October 2012. The service techs were able to confirm the noise, but couldn't repair the defect. Instead, an open case/ticket was submitted to Toyota's headquarter.

- University Place, WA, USA

problem #5

Apr 302012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
The vehicle emits a repetitive 'woo......woo.....' that varies with speed/wheel revolution (something rubbing during each revolution). To the best of my ability to tell, it sounds like the groan is coming from the rear-passenger side. The sound is usually present after the car has sat overnight or after prolonged parking and last for 100-300 feet of driving. I've even heard it after four hours of being parked at work. It will typically make this sound for a few days after a rain event. The sound has occurred in both forward and reverse and with the emergency brake on or off prior to departure. I purchased the vehicle in April and have heard it all the way to the present. During a tire replacement I made note of the issue to the dealer, who attributed it to rotor oxidation. I responded that I've heard the grind/groan of rust being worn off the rotor when first apply the brakes, and this is not that sound. I went in with a recording on my phone and the technician agreed it wasn't rust. They repaired the tire and tried to reproduce the condition without success. They did tear down the brake and found nothing out of the ordinary. The fact that this issue persists on multiple vehicles of this model is indicative of a manufacturer's defect that should be addressed.

- Marion, MA, USA

problem #4

Aug 272012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
Vehicle is parked outside, and during morning cold start, the vehicle produces a moaning/wooing sound for approx. 50-75 yards with vehicle moving under 25 mph. The sound is being generated from the front wheel wells. Sound generated is related to vehicle speed. The faster the vehicle moves, the more frequent the sound being produced during the first 50-75 yards. Strange sound is gone after that, and does not return until the next cool/cold start. Owner took the vehicle back to dealership for inspection, and dealer took off the front wheel to inspect brakes, wheels, and tires, and was not able to locate or reproduce the problem. Abnormal sound is only produced during morning cold starts and when vehicle is left to cool(I.e. parking lot at work).

- San Diego, CA, USA

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