definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,551 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.

2003 Toyota Prius brakes problems

brakes problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Toyota Prius:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Toyota Prius Owner Comments

problem #6

Jun 012010


  • 177,000 miles


ABS brake light comes on and beeps, and brakes become squishy on my 2003 Toyota Prius. Toyota dealer does not know what the problem is. I have spent hundreds of dollars on diagnostics, but the problem keeps happening. I have noticed similar complaints on the internet regarding this ABS light problem, and squishy brake problem. Toyota dealer informs me that they have heard nothing of this problem from the Toyota motor corporation.

- Santa Rosa, CA, USA

problem #5

Mar 232008


  • 1 miles
I own a 2003 Prius. When I bought it, before I ever drove it (was snow and ice) dealer told me to be careful of the brakes. He said, when applied, it may feel for a split second that I was speeding up or not stopping. The car does this on slippery and rough rd and always has. I thought that was the nature of the hybrid and have learned to drive accordingly but it is definitely a trying situation.

- Marietta, OH, USA

problem #4

Feb 022010


  • 90,000 miles
A number of times when I brake on uneven roads, the brakes on my 2003 Prius feel as if they aren't working. They have always caught almost immediately, so that I haven't thought of reporting the problem until the recent reports on the newest Prius model. Incident date is the most recent, even though the problem has been there since I bought the car.

- Portsmouth, RI, USA

problem #3

Nov 012002


  • 6 miles


I hope you are not limiting your investigation of Prius brakes to the 2010 model. I have had the same problem on my 2003 Prius since the day I drove it home. When going over uneven surfaces, particularly metal plates or manhole covers, braking momentarily stops and does not resume until the wheels hit the regular road surface. Although I have had no accidents, the sensation of skidding is frightening.

- Jamaica, NY, USA

problem #2

Jan 012010


  • 200 miles
I have a 2003 Toyota Prius and also experienced the exact same braking problems as has been reported about the 2010 Prius. If I go over a dip in the road while braking, occasionally the brake will not hold (even if it is fully depressed) and I need to release and depress again. I was told by the dealer that this was the antilock braking system and not a real problem with the car. I now suspect that it is the same software glitch as the later Prius.

- Pittsford, NY, USA

problem #1

Mar 172003


  • 100 miles
In reading recent media reports regarding braking failures of the 2010 Toyota Prius, I realized that I have experienced similar lapses in my 2003 Prius' braking since the day I bought the car. I wanted to get this on record as it seems the media reports believe this to only be a problem in the 2010 model when this may be an issue that has been going on for a long time. Basically, whether or not the phenomenon occurs during braking depends on several factors and seems to occur more often if the road is wet. If one happens to be rolling over a manhole cover, or hitting a pothole or bump at the moment the brakes are depressed it feels as though, for a brief moment, that the car is skidding forward across the change in roadway surface. This also happens when braking over a thickly painted crosswalk line or the word stop painted on the road. The common factor seems to be braking as the car's tire transitions from a high friction to reduced friction surface. I believe I could reproduce this on demand given the right conditions. Early on I brought it to the attention of my dealership but their was no followup. Fortunately it has never caused an accident, but under the right circumstances it could. I've dealt with the problem by either braking before or after the road surfaces I know to cause the brake slipping effect.

- Pacifica, CA, USA

Not what you are looking for?