really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
18,358 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.

2006 Toyota Prius brakes problems

brakes problem

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2006 Toyota Prius Owner Comments

problem #19

May 102010


  • miles


When I go over a bump or uneven surface or grate or slippery surface while braking in my 2006 Toyota Prius, the ABS (antilock brake system) and/or vehicle stability control/traction control activates. The problem is that when these systems do so, it feels like I lose all braking power and it seems as though the car accelerates. It is most apparent when it is wet out, but I've had this happen even in dry conditions. Toyota dealership says that this is normal operation for the ABS, but they seem to be correcting this same problem for 2010 priuses through a software change--but not any other year models.

- Bellevue, WA, USA

problem #18

Apr 302006


  • 500 miles
Whenever brake is being applied at the time I go over railroad tracks or rough road such as potholes, the anti-lock brake light comes on and it feels like the brakes disengage for a short time on my 2006 Toyota Prius purchased new in 2006.. my husband's suburu forester does not give this unsettling feeling, as if losing control, when in anti-lock braking mode. This has been occurring since I bought the car, on an occasional basis. I reported it to my Toyota car dealer's service department before my warranty was up and was told "the anti-lock brakes are supposed to do that." I suspect it may be related to the regeneration of the electric battery while braking since this is a difference from other vehicles.

- Kalamazoo, MI, USA

problem #17

Apr 132010


  • 47,000 miles
2006 Toyota Prius loses all traction when encountering conditions where only one wheel loses traction. This failure occurs on roads with sand on them. Most commonly it occurs when attempting to turn right at an intersection, from the right or turn lane. When to accelerator is pressed, the car starts to move, usually a little way into the intersection, and then stalls because the right front wheel starts to slip in the sand along the curb. This is especially dangerous when executing a "right on red" turn. The car has moved part way into the intersection and is stalled by the lack of any traction. Toyota calls this "traction control". I don't think this is an accurate description. It's really computer controlled traction loss. The occurrence reported is only the latest. It has been going on for almost 4 years. Complaints to Toyota have been fruitless, because they say the system is operating within design limits. I have been told that the system was designed to prevent over-revving of engine components and stressing them.

- Melville, NY, USA

problem #16

Jan 162006


  • 500 miles


When driving on roads that are curved, when changing lanes, or on streets that are wet, the car feels unbalanced, and requires a quick steering adjustment to regain normal operation. Incidents like these occur too frequently, at least three times a week, and when they occur, the vehicle's red skid light is illuminated (I suppose it is related to this model's anti-skid and/or traction control feature that was not standard equipment). Traction control was an optional feature that the dealerships offered in more expensive packages of the 2006 Prius bundled together with other items that were not related to driving safety, which made the packages unnecessarily expensive, and was a factor in my decision to not opt for this upgrade. However, given the frequency of occurrence, I felt the need to report this in case other drivers are experiencing similar issues. The date I have selected corresponds to the purchase date of the vehicle, not to any particular incident or accident, as this is a recurring problem. Fyi, tires, brakes, steering, and alignment have all been checked and maintained as per Toyota's suggested guidelines.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #15

Jan 012007


  • miles
I have a 2006 Toyota Prius. If I hit a pothole while I am braking, it feels like the brakes slip for a second and I lose my ability to brake while the car lurches forward. A second later everything is back to normal. The vsa light flashes concurrently with the incident. The first couple of times it happened, it really scared me, and I could have easily been in an accident. Now I make sure to leave more than the normal space between me and the car in front of me in case this happens. I just assumed this was something the car did that I would have to get used to, but now that the 2010 Prius recall has been publicized, the issue being described there seems very similar to the problem my car has always had.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #14

Oct 122009


  • miles
Over the past 1 1/2 years I've taken my Prius to the Toyota service with concern over my braking system three times. Twice the head of service mechanics has driven with me seeing nothing unusual, the third time the service manager took the car out with me. They all vowed nothing was wrong. The reason I've been so concerned was due to the fact that the braking system didn't respond fast enough and more often than not, with wet pavement or raining, pressing the brakes with authority, the car will go into a slight skid with the dash skid light coming on. This entire senario has caused me to be overly cautious when braking anytime and in any situation. If a quick action is needed for speedy braking I question what would happen. It appears the people at Toyota have just tried to appease me not believing nor understanding what's been in error. I don't feel so inadequate now that all the current information has come to light. Was beginning to think I was the complainer without cause. I love my car - but am now even more hesitant about it's safety. Must admit, I'm far more careful than ever, being on the lookout for possible braking situations in advance.

- Hilo, HI, USA

problem #13

Mar 152007


  • 16,500 miles


1. brakes on my 2006 Prius momentarily failed to respond, after a 1 - 2 sec delay they activated. At same time, the traction light flashes, but the car is not losing traction. This happened 4 X, one almost resulted in a crash. It is more likely to happen when braking while going over a bump in the road. There have been other times when the traction light flashes on unexpectedly, but effect on brakes is unknown: Not braking then. 3 different Toyota dealers told me they couldn't find anything wrong. At one dealer, I went for a test drive with a mechanic. During the test drive, I was able to make the traction light go on when there was no loss of traction. The invoice stated "test drove and checked operations. At this time could not duplicate customer's concerns." I wrote on the invoice "I was able to make the traction light go on when there was no loss of traction. I am not satisfied that the problem has been found and repaired." & on the signature line "not satisfied, (signature)" I wanted them to change the computer, but they said if they couldn't duplicate the problem, they couldn't change the computer. I insisted that they replace one component, and if the problem didn't reoccur, I'd know they found the solution. They bled the brakes, which was unlikely to be cause of the problem. When I went to pick up my invoice up 2nd time, the copy on which I had written my comments was returned to me, and a freshly printed copy- without my comments - was given to me & kept for their records. 2. same car: Headlight go out at unexpected times. 2 Toyota dealers told me that the bulb would cost $300, and installation would be well over $100 because they "had to take off the bumper to change the bulb!" I replaced the bulb myself (without taking off the bumper) but now, 9 months later, it is starting to go again. Toyota sent a letter saying it was how hid bulbs burned out & not a pblm w/ controller. If true, how is it that new bulb is also burning out?

- Clarksburg, MD, USA

problem #12

Jul 182009


  • 100 miles
Whenever I drive over rough surfaces the brakes won't engage for a few seconds. On several occasions I almost hit the car in front of me or I drove into an intersection and was almost in an accident. I asked a mechanic at the dealership about it and he said that is just how the car is, so nothing was done. It has been an on-going problem since I bought the car in 2006, so the approximate incident date below is irrelevant.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #11

May 152009


  • 40,200 miles
My 2006 Toyota Prius has several issues with acceleration, braking, turning car off and on alarm goes off constantly and terrible gas mileage around 30 miles per gallon.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #10

Jan 292010


  • 40,000 miles
I have noticed that while driving my 2006 Prius, that while traveling over an uneven road surface or pothole, there are times where the traction control light will come on, on the dash, while simultaneously, it feels as if the car is uncontrollable. Its a similar feeling as driving on a snow covered surface. Not sure if its just a flaw in the traction control system (may include a braking issue as well). I did contact my local dealer, who was not familiar with this issue, yet if you were to do a search online, you will see that other Prius owners have experienced this as well.

- Delran, NJ, USA

problem #9

Mar 202007


  • miles


ABS or traction control engages unnecessarily when braking on uneven road surfaces, potholes, bump in road, or on wet surfaces.

- Tallahassee, FM, USA

problem #8

Oct 152009


  • 35,000 miles
I currently drive a 2006 Toyota Prius and have had numerous instances of brake slippage when going over a bump/pothole during deceleration or acceleration. Upon further research at priuschat.com, an online community of Prius owners, community members advised that this was "by design" since the vehicle's computer thought that loss of traction when going over an obstacle was considered as a stability issue hence dis-engaging the brakes (ABS). I have had several fender benders without the air-bag deploying though.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #7

Feb 042010


  • 0 miles
I would like to make the Agency aware of my experience with the traction control system on my 2006 Toyota Prius. I understand that it is being investigated for the 2010 model but I have very similar issues with my 2006. This is an ongoing issue and occurs regularly from time to time (and has since I purchased the vehicle new). When passing over road surfaces that cause the traction control system on the vehicle to activate (wet road, gravel, pot hole, snow, etc.), braking and acceleration control is temporarily lost. This loss of control persists for 1-5 seconds when braking, and indefinitely when trying to accelerate (I.e. when on snow). Braking distance is clearly increased, as the vehicle does not apply the brakes at all. I have had several incidents where I had maintained a safe following distance, but nearly ran into cars stopping in front of me (due to my vehicle not braking appropriately). Merging is also an issue at times, as is accelerating (into traffic or out of a hazardous situation on snowy/wet roads). I feel that the best solution would be the ability to deactivate the traction control system. Unfortunately Toyota is not currently offering a way to do this.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #6

Feb 032010


  • 0 miles
This is a complaint about the brakes and/or traction control system on my 2006 Toyota Prius. This is an ongoing issue and has been ongoing as long as I have owned the vehicle. I am the first owner. The fault is as follows: When passing over road surfaces that cause the traction control system on the vehicle to activate (gravel, pot hole, snow, standing water, etc.), braking and acceleration control is temporarily lost. This loss of control persists for 1-3 seconds. Of particular concern are instances in which a yielding situation accompanying a merging or turning maneuver present themselves. In these situations, if the car passes over a road surface which causes an activation of the traction control system, I am unable to stop the car or to accelerate out of danger. I fear that I will find myself in the situation where I am trying to slow down to yield to a vehicle while making a right turn on a red light and will be able to do so due to the loss of braking/acceleration control accompanying the activation of the traction control system. In such a situation, I would be unable to avoid a high-speed collision on the driver's side of the vehicle. I have lived with this danger for the last 4+ years, but in the light of recent developments, I feel it is appropriate to raise this issue through this complaint system.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #5

Oct 302008


  • 40,000 miles
I am an owner of a 2006 Toyota Prius. I don't have a specific date since this type of failure has occurred several times. I construed this to be a part of the Prius and did not think of lodging a complaint. But based on today's (2/3/10) report on Prius' brake issues from Japan, I feel compelled to point out that: There has been a typically recurring problem of the tires skidding as the brakes loose their grip when I have hit the brake as I am crossing a pothole or a road expansion joint or minor bump (not speed bumps) or just a wet spot. This condition has been noted regardless of the condition of the tires - meaning even on brand new tires. The vsc lights comes on when the car glides/skids over and moves past the point where I had wanted to slow down. I am not sure of the type of brake in this vehicle so I will be checking off all 3 kinds.

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #4

Nov 222006

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Toyota Prius. When the roadways were slipper the vehicle would lose traction, and the engine would stall. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, and a technician stated that only the 2010 models had a switch that would disengage for the traction control. The current mileage was approximately 60,000. The failure mileage was approximately 1,000. Updated 12/17/09. Updated 12/21/09

- Bodfish, CA, USA

problem #3

Aug 192009


  • 85,000 miles
I own a 2006 Toyota Prius. I have had 3 accident claims since I bought it. ( and not one claim in the 12 years I've been with state farm prior to this). One of the accidents the traction control slipped and I put it in a ditch. I've contacted Toyota multiple times regarding the headlights just going out while driving. You have to stop the car and turn it off and on again to get the headlights to work. Now, at 85,000 miles I had new brakes placed. The ABS light came on the mechanic hooked it to the computer and nothing kicked out. He reset it and warned me about it. I called the Toyota dealership and was told that they have the override to turn the ABS back on due a "safety" mechanism installed on the vehicle that only allows a dealership to fix the problem, but it was "completely safe to drive". so, I drove it the next day. A car pulled out in front of me, I hit the brakes and spun a 180 into oncoming traffic. Luckily, nobody was hurt! it is now sitting in my driveway until I can get an appointment at the dealership to turn the "safety mechanism" back on. Please, please before someone is killed get Toyota to buy-back and destroy these vehicles. They are a death trap!

- Monroeton, PA, USA

problem #2

Jul 252009


  • 33,000 miles
The traction control system on the Toyota Prius (2006) improperly engages when the driver attempts to quickly accelerate and there is some sand or gravel under the front tires. There is often an accumulation of sandy material at many intersections, particularly on side streets that enter a highway service road. At these intersections, it is necessary to quickly accelerate to enter the roadway at the speed of oncoming traffic. When the traction control engages due to the conditions mentioned above, the traction system attempts to stop the wheels briefly in order to break the tires from slippage. However, in a hybrid vehicle, this pulsing of the drive system only encourages further slippage and the traction system continues to intermittently engage without any way to override the system. The danger is that while this is happening the vehicle has begun to enter the roadway into oncoming traffic but is failing to accelerate, creating an extremely unsafe condition where a collision is possible. I have not personally experienced a collision yet, but have nearly been involved in one.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #1

Jan 142007


  • 10,000 miles
Toyota Prius traction control in the model including 2006 has a potentially life threatening design flaw. It shuts down all power to the wheels when it detects slippage, especially in fresh snow. If someone were coming at you on a snow covered road, you're at risk of having absolutely no control over the car and being paralyzed in the middle of oncoming traffic. A sitting on a slippery road. Numerous complaints to the Toyota corporate proved futile. Their corporate line was that the system was operating the way it's supposed to, it became clear that they were resistant to accepting that "operating the way it was supposed to" was the problem. The Prius has apparently been redesigned on the 2010 model with a traction control override switch due to numerous complaints like mine and from mechanics who I spoke with that work at Toyota dealerships. Nonetheless, there is no warning given to consumers who purchase this car and I have seen reports of accidents that result of traction control shutting down all power at the precise moment when you need the ability to move out of the way of an oncoming car to avoid a collision. It seems that Toyota is more concerned about a costly recall than about passenger safety. My repeated attempts to get the corporation to respond to my complaints and act responsibly to resolve this problem have proved futile. At least it seems they have fixed the problem, but with the immorality and unwillingness to act responsibly that plagues so many corporations afraid of losing money, they continue to put lives at risk.

- Charlotte, VT, USA

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