really awful
Crashes / Fires:
10 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,856 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.

2005 Toyota Prius brakes problems

brakes problem

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2005 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #68

Jun 242011


  • 74,215 miles


(1). I slammed on the brakes, but there was no power brakes. The 2005 Prius slowed, but did not stop until it crashed into another vehicle. I was going approximately 35 mph, and I traveled 3 car lengths before colliding with the other vehicle. (2). Loss of power assist had previously occurred while backing up, but this was the first failure going forward. (3). Total loss(totaled, , $7,000 damage). The 2005 Prius is now at an automobile recycling yard. )4) I notified Toyota. But I had to call them back several times, and after 15 days, someone finally answered, instead of me getting their voice mail. If the power brakes had failed at an intersection, it could have been a fatal crash.

- Okc, OK, USA

problem #67

Jan 302011


  • 140,350 miles
Nov 15 2010 the car was in service for 5000 miles check. The dealership declared that the brakes and coolant flow valve needed replacement and stated the car was unsafe to drive. Upon agreeing for repairs the dealership said the car was safe to drive and it will take 2 weeks for parts to arrive. 15 Dec 2010 the car was taken in for stated repairs ($2000), since then the car has have intermittently braking failures at low speeds under 20 mph and at stops on a downgrade. The car was taken in for repairs again in 16 Jan 2011. The car stills has intermittent failures, the lights to the parking brakes, ABS brakes, vbc lights and the warning lights are still on since the repairs. While replacing the tires Firestone on 30 Jan 2011 found the code 1247 on the ECU by their technician. The lights on the dash board are still on at all times. After leaving Firestone, the car surge forward while stop on a downgrade while the brake depress, I felt the pressure release thus I depress harder on the brakes petal until it was on the floor, I had to use the emergency brake to stop. I will take the car into the Toyota dealership for the third time 31 Jan 2011.

- Haleiwa, HI, USA

problem #66

Dec 082010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 84,228 miles
Low-speed brake failure: Accelerated lightly away from traffic signal to approximately 5-7 mph, traffic then slowed, applied brakes normally with no noticeable deceleration or pedal resistance. Removed foot from brake and then reapplied brakes very hard, pedal again offered little resistance, no noticeable deceleration. Roadway surface dry, free from dirt/gravel, smooth with slight downgrade, temperature believed to be slightly above freezing. Impacted car ahead at low speed no airbag deployment, minimal damage to this car (est. $750), additional minor damage to two cars ahead. After crash, shut car off. After restarting car, brakes appeared to work normally. Upon inspection found no fault codes present, no warning lights, brake pads had substantial material remaining, brake fluid level normal, tires with substantial tread depth. Car has been maintained in accordance with manufacturer recommendations since new, all recalls have been complied with.. car was fully warm, had been driven 14 miles since start. Car had been operated at freeway speeds for last 5-6 miles before traffic signal. Based on past experience along this frequently traveled route, hybrid storage battery was almost certainly full from energy stored during deceleration from freeway speed on exit ramp, thus hybrid system would be unable to deliver regenerative braking at time of bake failure/crash.

- Leesburg, VA, USA

problem #65

Jan 042011

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles


During wet weather, the brakes grab. This usually occurs during the first 10 mins. Of driving. Based on the recent recalls, I decided to do some research online to determine if others owners had similar problems. I have not taken the car in to the dealership. The brakes have been this way since I've owned the car.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #64

Oct 232010


  • 161,700 miles
Yesterday on a long trip through the mountains, lights came on my dash on my 2005 Toyota Prius that indicated a hybrid problem. Hoping to get to a place where I could get service I continued on. (I also noted that the cruise control light would not come on.) then the brake light and ABS came on the dashboard with an auditory alarm. I tested the brakes and they seemed okay and there was no berm to pull off. Then I hit the brakes on a curve and the peddle went down low. I pressed hard and got it off the road on a wide spot that by the grace of god appeared. I had it towed to the nearest dealer. Today, the dealer said they checked all codes and inspected the braking system and can find nothing wrong and all codes have left. They said the hybrid battery seemed to be low but they find the battery and charging system to be ok. (they said brakes do not work when the battery is low and the battery is charged by braking which I was doing plenty of in the mountains.) they also said the computer is ok. They drive it and nothing is wrong.

- Cornelius, NC, USA

problem #63

Sep 012008


  • 135,000 miles
I first reported this to Toyota March 10, 2010. I did so after talking with a coworker who had a 2010 Prius. I have a 2005 Prius. We both experienced the same thing. Therefore, I figured I should take it more serious. The Toyota's safety incident number is [xxx]. when going over bumps and hitting the breaks I notice that instead of immediately slowing the car down, the car seems to either not slow at all and seems to accelerate. Knowing that going over bumps can cause a tire to temporarily loose contact with the road surface and that cars can electronically transfer drive from a tire that looses contact with the surface to the other wheel, there may be mixed signals happening. The brakes telling the car to stop, the traction control telling the acceleration to transfer. It seems the acceleration is taking precedence. Regardless, this seems that it could cause a problem if on a bumpy road surface or a pot hole or something and a car stops infront of me or a kid runs into the street or for some other reason I need to stop. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Leesburg, VA, USA

problem #62

Aug 042010


  • 62,794 miles


August 4, 2010 around 8:36pm I was on I4 heading eastbound about 13 miles from my house going around 66mph. The driving conditions were hot with no rain. When my emergency light, explanation mark light and the vsc light all came on at the same time and my car experience a jerking liking motion. I called my father immediately told him what's happening, he told me to turn around and get the car home. I turned around and as I was on my way home after exiting I4 on sand lake rd my brake light came on with a loud continuous beeping noise that lasted about 20 seconds every 2 minutes. When this loud beeping noise occurred the brakes would stop working for about 10 seconds than start again. I made it home at 8:52pm and parked the car in the garage.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #61

Jul 092010


  • 44,589 miles
With less than 45,000 miles of easy driving (and all maintenance performed on a timely basis at the dealership) on a single-owner Toyota 2005 Prius, the warning lights on the car's dashboard suddenly illuminated, which an out-of-town dealership interpreted to mean failure of the "skid control ECU". this part controls all major braking functions, including conventional brake control, regenerative brake cooperative control, ABS, enhanced vsc and handles sensor information eps ECU and hv ECU. If occurring on a major ca highway, like us highway 5 and the "grapevine", this warning and failure can be a very serious and unexpected driving hazard. Repairs costs nearly $2,000 and this part must be "ordered" by a dealership and take 4 -5 hours to repair once the part is delivered overnight or longer. Toyota already is recalling this "skid control ECU" part on all 2002 -2003 sequoia passenger vehicles. Toyota does not consider this a defect on the Prius, and offers no recall or help to any of its Prius customers; to them it is simply a "(bad) luck of the draw" situation, tough luck for the Prius driver-owner with this defect.

- Camarillo, CA, USA

problem #60

May 132010


  • 142,962 miles
I drove a 2005 Toyota Prius VIN#[xxx] until 5/13/2010. At around 10am I was driving on the hwy in the lft lane. With cruise control on going 75mph. I had a gps on and navigating. And I had my blue tooth earpiece on. Then all at the same time my blue tooth shut down. My gps shut down. And every warning lite came up in the car. Even the display that usually shows how the hybrid systems works was blinking problem!! problem!! so I let off the gas and started to move to the rt side of the road. Thats when I realized that I had no power steering. There was an exit coming up so I let the car slow down to about 50mph. As I started to exit I put my ft on the brakes. Thats when I noticed that the pedal was very stiff and vibrating. I was coming to a blind intersection and I had the red lite. So I pushed on my brakes. Instantly I could hear screaching tires. So I looked in my side mirror. And to my suprise im looking at a large amount of smoke coming from me! my rear tires had locked up and my front tires werent doing anything. So I started fishtail back and forth like I had my ebrake on. I put all my wt on the pedal cause the intersection was really getting close. And without power steering it was very hard to keep the car from crashing. I came to a stop just before the light. Then drove my car to the nearest dealer at in berkeley ca at 10mph. I told them everything. Even about my blue tooth and garmin. They got me a rental car then 4day later they said if I give them $2000 for a part and $1000 in labor it might fix it but there not sure cause they never saw this problem before. And they werent going to pay for my rental cause the part was out of warrenty after 36000miles. I have had every svc done at Toyota. And if theres a computer pt that Toyota knows can brake easily. Which they do. Thats why its only warrenty to 36000miles. It shouldnt result in the loss of your brakes and power steering. Very dangerous!! I could of died. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Modesto, CA, USA

problem #59

May 202010


  • 26,000 miles
I drive a 2005 Toyota Prius. My car has 26,000 miles on it; which is very low mileages. While I was on the highway, my car`S lights on the dashboard starts to flash. The brake system warning light and buzzer comes on along with the ABS warning light and the malfunction indicator lamp. I had nowhere to pull aside. After two minutes the warning signs shut off so I kept driving. Five minutes later, all the warning lights come on so I decide to get off the highway to take it to the knoxville Toyota dealer. As I`M exiting the highway, I immediately realized that I had no breaks (when I pressed the brake pedal with my foot it automatically touched the ground)! I remembered that my dad always told me that in case of a brake emergency to pump the paddle until the breaks work. I almost crashed into another car; the exit ramp was very steep. I was going about 50 miles per hr by then; luckily I managed to stop while I kept pumping my breaks. I took it to the dealer right away. They checked my car and replaced: Pump assy. Water, super long life C, inverter coolant pump, sliding yoke, reflashed engine and hv ECU and shaft kit. Steeri. I found my case very dangerous and my life was at risk. Not only was my life at risk but as well as other individuals. I would hate for this to happen to someone else! it was scary and I felt like my life might have been over.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #58

Jan 102010


  • 88,000 miles


1. while driving over rr tracks, a lack of brake response (or feel) - happened once in 2008. Mentioned to dealer, but I did not know if this was a typical problem. 2. while driving downhill on a slippery road, the vehicle would not stop. There was no feel of braking. The vehicle finally stopped when it hit a curb. Happened Jan/2010. Mentioned to dealer, but I did not know if this was a typical problem. 3. while driving uphill on slippery roads, the vehicle would slow down to a stop, or not go at a S&G light. This happened repeatedly in 2010. Mentioned to dealer, and was told this was a function of the traction control that prevented tires from spinning.

- Superior, WI, USA

problem #57

Jun 152009


  • 52,000 miles
Vehicle type: Toyota Prius 2005 [uncorrected by recalls] problem: Was driving at approximately 45 mph, attempted to brake in preparation for a turn and brake pedal would not depress. Examined brake pedal and discovered floor mat had crept under the pedal preventing braking. Shifted vehicle to neutral. Attempted to retrieve mat but unable to by hand. Used foot to pull mat from under brake pedal and was able to brake. Removed mats to prevent future problems. Resolution: None. Toyota's recent floor mat recall doesn't address this problem. Contact with Toyota has left me with the feeling that they are unaware of the problem [or worse, have misdiagnosed this problem as being a stuck accelerator problem which is also related to the floor mat].

- Port Richey, FL, USA

problem #56

Mar 232010


  • 76,600 miles
My 2005 Toyota Prius arbitrarily lost braking ability as I approached a ramp to enter another highway. Many lights went on including the red triangle with an exclamation point. I used the emergency brake to stop the car. I have been told that the skid control unit is broken and needs to be replaced. I will need to replace this part at a cost of $2200. Is this unit a safety threat?

- New Hartford, NY, USA

problem #55

Nov 222008


  • 40,000 miles
Incident with my 2005 Toyota Prius I've had problems with my braking system and went to great lengths to get my car repaired. I have Toyota dealership documentation of what was done to my car to correct the problem. My car was in their shop for 2 months and it took 2 dealerships to figure out what was wrong. If you would like to ask questions about my experience for your investigation, I'll be happy to cooperate to the best of my ability.

- Bothell, WA, USA

problem #54

Mar 052010


  • 56,000 miles
Our 2005 Toyota Prius has exhibited the same braking problems as described in the news. When you are applying the brakes and hit a bump or pothole the car feels like it lurches forward. I now understand that what I was experiencing as a "lurch" or "skidding" sensation was probably caused by the momentary split second failure of the brakes. These brakes are also extremely touchy when it rains. They grab as if you had slammed on the brakes. It is hard to deal with and we have not found a way to avoid the problem by somehow altering our braking. I mentioned these two problems to the Toyota dealer after we bought the car and then again when all this was on the news. They said they'd had no complaints and dismissed my concerns. However, when I looked online there are other 2005 Prius owners who have experienced the same problems. I feel it is unsafe for the car to do this. I think the earlier Prius models need to be included in the investigation and fixed.

- Plainfield, PA, USA

problem #53

Apr 152009


  • 135,000 miles
I was driving my 2005 Prius on the 210 freeway in los angeles, ca in stop and go traffic. The traffic sped up, then the car infront slammed on their brakes. I hit my brakes hard, and thought "nothing's happening." I rear ended the dar infront of me, causing $a total of $9,000 damage to both cars.

- Fort Collins, CO, USA

problem #52

Apr 152009


  • 70,000 miles
2005 Toyota Prius with momentary failure in braking system. Occurring 3 times in 2009.

- Marshall, VA, USA

problem #51

Jan 272005


  • 2,000 miles
2005 Toyota Prius brake failure over bumpy or icy roads reported to NHTSA in 2005 with no response. Toyota denied failure and we were told to sue.

- Surprise, , AZ, USA

problem #50

Jan 012005


  • 2,000 miles
I sent an E-mail to NHTSA on 2/8/10 describing this complaint. My husband and I are the owners of a 2005 Prius which we bought new. Ever since we've owned it we have always had the following problem: When we go over a bump, pothole, or uneven surface we experience a momentary loss of braking ability-we have always felt this was due to the nature of the anti-lock brakes and never considered that it might be a defect or flaw, until now. This situation is only momentary, and because it lasts only briefly we never felt our safety was compromised. This situation is on-going. We have had our floor mats modified by Toyota last month.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #49

Feb 232010


  • 73,200 miles
2005 Toyota Prius - slipping brakes - multiple occurrences over the years, one today while approaching a traffic light. As car slowed, brakes slipped during transition from regenerative to mechanical. Car's nose passed about 1 foot beyond white line demarcating intersection. No crash or damage to vehicle or occupants - this time. Why is Toyota Prius brake recall limited to 2010 year model when these events are occurring in earlier year models? I have submitted two requests to Toyota customer service to understand the problem in the last two weeks with no response.

- Alameda, CA, USA

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