really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,637 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.

2004 Toyota Prius brakes problems

brakes problem

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2004 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Sep 022013


  • miles


2004 & 2010 Toyota Prius. Consumer writes in regards to rear view visibility and braking issues in both vehicles.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #23

Oct 202012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 92,521 miles
My 24 yr. Old child was driving out of a driveway at 5 mph when the car stopped and all warning lights including brakes and engine and triangle went on. It would not restart. It would not take a battery jump. Had it towed to Toyota service and they discovered code P0335 present and verified a faulty crankshaft position sensor, replaced it, and cleaned throttle body. The car works now. Cost for diagnosis and service was $367.07. This faulty part was a part of a recall dated in 2006 for 2001 and 2002 priuses. We wish to advise the Agency that we believe the year 2004 and perhaps other years ought to be considered for the same recall as the 2001 and 2002 Prius models with respect to a faulty crankshaft position sensor. We believe our car had a faulty sensor and that we should be a part of the earlier recall, and also obtain a full reimbursement for charges. This sudden stopping by the vehicle poses a very dangerous situation for any driver. Our child would have been on a major highway just a few minutes later and could have been the victim of a horrendous accident. We urge your Agency to be proactive in investigating this matter. Thank you.

- Milton, MA, USA

problem #22

Nov 242011


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the brakes malfunctioned and the contact crashed into another vehicle. No one was injured during the crash and the air bags did not deploy. The manufacturer was contacted to have the vehicle inspected for the faulty brakes. The manufacturer did not inspect the vehicle and no repairs were performed. The failure mileage was 90,000.

- Berkeley, CA, USA

problem #21

May 262011


  • 94,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Prius. The contact started the vehicle and the ABS warning light began to illuminate. The brake pedal traveled to the floor upon application. The contact proceeded to drive, although the vehicle would not stop unless the brake pedal was applied repeatedly. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where they replaced the ABS actuator. Two weeks after the repair was performed, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer who stated the defect could possibly be related to the skid control unit. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem and recommended the vehicle be taken back to the dealer for inspection. The approximate failure mileage was 94,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #20

Jun 162010


  • 32,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Prius. While attempting to stop the vehicle, the brakes would not engage and the contact crashed into a vehicle ahead of her. The vehicle sustained extensive front end damage but she was able to drive the vehicle to her residence. The vehicle was not diagnosed and she had not contacted the dealer or manufacturer for repairs. The failure and current mileages were 32,000.

- Marble Head, MA, USA

problem #19

May 172010


  • 54,000 miles
I have a 2004 Toyota Prius. I have noticed that when going over a bumpy patch of road, if I brake, sometimes the brake appears to not catch for a brief time (1 second or so). At first I thought it was my imagination, but over the years it has happened often enough that I am convinced the sensation is real. I have recently read about others describing the same experience. I cannot give an approximate date or mileage; this has happened repeatedly over the 6 years I've owned the car. Consequently, the date and mileage I am entering is the most recent time when I noticed it.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #18

May 182010


  • 200 miles


My 2004 Prius feels like the brakes lose control when I'm going over a bump. I apply the brake, it catches, then releases momentarily, then grabs. The time of the release feels too long to be safe, and I am never really sure that it will grab eventually. This problem has continued since I bought it, and Toyota assures me it's not a problem.

- Evanston, IL, USA

problem #17

Jun 252009


  • 113,000 miles
I was driving my 2004 Toyota Prius with my wife and infant during the evening last summer, and out of the blue three red indicator lights came on as well as a buzzer, and my brakes stopped working. The pedal was able to be pushed all the way down to the floor. Pumping did nothing. Since it was late there were no other cars around, so we were able to coast to a stop using the emergency brake. I got out of the car and checked for any damage underneath the vehicle, and found nothing. Over the next hour while waiting for the tow truck, we tried restarting the vehicle several times, and the brakes were just gone. We finally got towed and got a loaner car. The next morning after the Toyota dealer had a chance to look at the car, they notified me that they found nothing wrong with the car. They did a couple hours of diagnostics on my dime and reset the fault codes. There was no air in the brakes, fluid levels were just fine, and there was absolutely nothing wrong with anything. Apparently the brakes fixed themselves in the parking lot over night. This has made me fearful since that day that it could happen to me again at anytime, perhaps during rush hour next time. I've contacted Toyota and the dealership since then, and the only solution they have to give me is to have my brake system checked regularly. This doesn't seem like a normal thing to happen at all, and I would feel guilty even selling this car to someone else at this point. I'm not sure what more I can do so I am now reporting to safercar.gov.

- Hampshire, IL, USA

problem #16

Mar 232010


  • 56,000 miles
Recently, I performed a routine flush of the brake fluid on my Toyota Prius. When I started the Prius after completing the brake fluid flush, there were warning lights showing on the dashboard for the brakes, the traction control system, and the anti-lock brake system. This didn't surprise me that the car detected an abnormality during the brake bleeding operation. What did surprise me is that the Prius computer instructed the front brakes to become non-operational the trouble code in the Prius computer automatically disabled the front brakes because the computer was confused by the varying pressures present in the brake lines during a routine brake fluid flush. I drove to a repair shop with only the rear brakes operational. At the repair shop, a technician cleared the trouble codes for the brake system stored in the electronic control module of the Prius. The brakes were then completely operational. I find it unconscionable that the car could decide on it's own to disable the brakes, even when the brakes were otherwise fully functional. Please require Toyota to program their control modules to allow the brakes to function when trouble codes are activated.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #15

Mar 042010

(reported on)


  • miles
2004 Toyota Prius with brake problems. Consumer states that when applying the brakes the vehicle skids out of control.

- Beverly Hills, CA, USA

problem #14

Feb 112010


  • 196,000 miles


I have a 2004 Toyota Prius. I find that when applying the brakes on a road surface with bumps, there appears to be a lag before the brakes engage. This is especially noticeable when driving down a hill. The brakes do not hesitate to engage on level road surfaces. I always attributed this to the ABS system engaging, but after the recent recall of the 2010 Prius for a similar complaint, I felt it was important to at least advise of this situation.

- Wilton, CT, USA

problem #13

Dec 012008


  • 68,002 miles
Twice while driving my 2004 Toyota Prius, I encountered a small slick patch on the roadway surface, felt my front tires slip momentarily, then grab, the warning lights came on lighting up the dash. It said I shouldn't drive it. I took the car to the dealer. The first time they said it was the small battery and replaced it for the third time. The second time, they said it was the computer and replaced that.

- Paradise, CA, USA

problem #12

Jan 252010


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns 2004 Toyota Prius. While driving downhill out of her driveway, she depressed the brake pedal and the brakes would not engage. The vehicle proceeded to crash into a nearby tree at unknown speeds and continued to push the tree further into the street. The contact's foot remained on the brake pedal; however, the vehicle would not stop. There were no injuries. The police arrived and a report was filed. The police observed skid and brake marks in the driveway, confirming she was attempting to brake at the time of the crash. No repairs were made to date. The contact was unaware if the vehicle was under recall at the time. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileages were 50,000.

- Lahoya, CA, USA

problem #11

Nov 012004


  • miles
Odd braking behavior in 2004 Toyota Prius. When car is in its first few minutes of operation after sitting overnight, this odd behavior occurs: The first or second time I apply the brakes, they grab as though the pedal has been pressed very hard. The car lurches to a stop. I release the brake pedal to go forward again, applying pressure to the accelerator pedal. Then I apply pressure to the brake pedal and the grabbing happens again. Usually by the third braking action the 'grabby' behavior stops. This has not happened at high speeds, presumably because the car gets it 'out of its system' by the time it is warmed up. I used to be a mechanic and this is definitely something I have never felt before, such as condensation on the disc rotors. This has been happening since the car wa new in 2004. I worked around it. But now with the news about braking problems on new priuses, I thought I should report it.

- Berkeley, CA, USA

problem #10

Feb 052010


  • 90,000 miles
On the 2004 Toyota Prius when driving from a stop across a rough road or pot holes the anti-lock brakes/anti-skid system engages and makes the car skid on wet surfaces. In winter on icy roads the (proper - non-pumping) application of the brakes on moderately icy or wet road surfaces causes the brakes to lock up and the car skids uncontrollably. The later occurred today while the second issue has been going on since I purchased the Prius but I never thought that it might be a defect.

- Elgin, IL, USA

problem #9

Feb 152004


  • 100 miles
My 2004 Prius has the same braking problem that has been reported for the 2010 Prius, that is, when I am slowing down and hit a bump or hole, there is a momentary acceleration. I reported this to Toyota in 2004 and regional Toyota rep came out and looked at the car and said it was normal. So...this problem is not limited to 2010 Prius.

- West Hartford, CT, USA

problem #8

Feb 052010


  • miles
Problem with anti-lock brakes not working when hitting rough surfaces such as potholes.

- Charlotte, VT, USA

problem #7

Jan 182010


  • 75,000 miles
I have a 2004 Prius which I bought used about a year ago and when I read the line that I cut and pasted right from your news release, I couldn't believe it because it describes exactly what has happened to me numerous times. "allegations of momentary loss of braking capability while traveling over an uneven road surface, pothole or bump, " but this problem which has happened repeatedly (usually on the same pothole on the same street) has never caused me to loose control of the car for more than a split second. So until I read this passage I thought I might just be imagining this problem. If it happened for even more than a split second I could see how it would cause me to lose control and possibly get in an accident. But that hasn't happened yet.

- Norwalk, CT, USA

problem #6

Nov 012009

Prius 4-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
About 40% of the time, my Toyota Prius doesn't want to stop or slow down when the brakes are applied. Under these conditions, I have to apply the brakes hard and then the car will slow down. It feels like the car wants to "run away" when the brakes are applied. It exhibits this behavior in many circumstances: Stopping at a stop light, slowing down on an expressway, or slowing down on a city street. Updated 11/23/09 the check engine light illuminated. The passenger front window switch wasn't opening or closing the window unless the master switch was used. The throttle body had to be cleaned. The fan belt and brake light switch were replaced. Updated 11/24/09 updated 01/06/10 updated 01/07/10.

- Miami Beach, FL, USA

problem #5

Jun 062007


  • 43,000 miles
While normal conditions I have experienced a major brake malfunction, both the ABS and the brake lights come on. The vehicle barely has brakes, this has happened multiple times since I have bought the vehicle 2 years ago. I have taken my vehicle 6 times to have to it fixed, and they have never been able to fix it. Brakes repeatedly fail on a regular bases. They have replaced the brake accumulator, brake computer, reset the brake piston calpaltors, and the relay that control the brakes, and the 12 volt battery. None of these repairs have worked. Brakes still fail regularly. Complaint lodge with Toyota customer satisfaction center.

- Hobart, OK, USA

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