really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
37,160 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.

2008 Toyota Prius brakes problems

brakes problem

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2008 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #31

Jul 122015


  • 80,000 miles


I purchased my 2008 Toyota Prius as a certified pre-owned vehicle in 2014. Every time the car goes over a bump in the road -- be it a man hold, railroad tracks -- the car traction control light illuminates and the car lurches forward for 1-2 seconds. This has happened countless times. It is a commonplace occurrence when going over any kind of uneven surface on the road. From what I have read, this is common in the 2008 Prius and I am wondering why this hasn't been investigated. On July 12th, I was driving in ky in heavy rain, going about 50 mph. The traction control light came on, I began to hydroplane, and the car accelerated to 60mph and I almost drove off the road. I have been driving for sixteen years and have never hydroplaned. My fear is the car doing the same thing in rain that it does on uneven surfaces on dry road -- lurching forward slightly which is not what you want when driving in the rain.

- Waterford, NY, USA

problem #30

Aug 182014


  • 25,870 miles
Vehicle starts, runs for limited time -2-3 mins. Shuts off vehicle starts no electrical visibility on dash.. blank. Vehicle starts with electrical visibility, runs for 3-5 miles, looses electrical visibility. Vehicle starts with electrical visibility runs for 3-4 miles.vehicle stops, shuts off in traffic. Vehicle will not start. Requires jump start, ,. and runs enough to take car to dealer. Vehicle will not start, requires jump start and will not hold charge. Requires towing to dealer. MA 10/8

- Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

problem #29

Dec 012008

Prius 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
We have two Prius cars with same issue - when making a turn from a stop and trying to accelerate quickly the car jerks and hesitate as the anti slip system light flashes and engages. You cannot accelerate quickly into traffic from a dead stop making a turn as the car refuses, jerks and acts like it will stall. Pavement is dry and no gravel. Happens each and every time since I purchased the car. Easy to replicate. Come to a complete stop, then turn right while pressing the accelerator down quickly and the slip system kicks, car jerks, hesitates and then very slowly starts to eventually accelerate.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #28

Dec 012008

Prius 4-cyl

  • 100 miles


When making a turn from a stop and trying to accelerate quickly the car jerks and hesitate as the anti slip system light flashes and engages. You cannot accelerate quickly into traffic from a dead stop making a turn as the car refuses, jerks and acts like it will stall. Pavement is dry and no gravel. Happens each and every time since I purchased the car. Easy to replicate. Come to a complete stop, then turn right while pressing the accelerator down quickly and the slip system kicks, car jerks, hesitates and then very slowly starts to eventually accelerate.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #27

Apr 182014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
My 2008 Prius won't stay in gears occasionally gear jumped back from D to N mode. Fortunately, it didn't happen when I drove 70 miles per hour. I went to Toyota center and they said I have to pay for the shift lever. I don't know why I should pay for it, it is a defect of this car, not because how I drive this car. Plus, I don't have this money, so I didn't repair for it. I need to report this before someone get killed. I think Toyota should recall 2008 Prius, to make sure our (customer) safety.

- West Columbia, SC, USA

problem #26

Mar 062014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
It actually happened two times within a month. In one case, I was turning left to take a ramp with a very low speed around 5 mph. Even though some parts of the road was icy, but the car didn't slip. It was exactly a several sudden pushes, unintended acceleration, with my foot on the brake only. I was so scared because I couldn't control the car for few seconds, and I thought I totally lost the control of the car. I tried to steer the car safely and turn on my emergency light. Checked the brake again, it was working after that. The second time, happened to me when I was coming out of school parking and didn't have any speed at all. Again around 5 mph. School is located in residential area. When you get out of the parking, you can only turn right, then there is an intersection with a stop sign almost 50 feet away. On the day of incident, I tried to stop behind the stop sign with no speed at all, but suddenly the car got the same continuous and sudden pushes. It was accelerated unintended. My foot was completely on the brake, but I lost the control again, and I was so lucky that day that there were no cars around the intersection, I tried to steer the car to the left, turned on my emergency light, and tried to push the brake again and again. After few seconds, I found it working. I called the Toyota the same day, and they are in the process of scheduling me for inspection. Again, even though the surface was slick with ice, but I didn't have speed, and it didn't look like ABS is working. I exactly know how ABS works, specially when it is snowy or icy. This is very scary. Please investigate. Thanks.

- Dearborn Heights, MI, USA

problem #25

Oct 292013


  • 86,350 miles


Traveling at 40 M.P.H. a pickup truck pulled out onto the roadway ahead about 150ft. I depressed the brake and the vehicle slowed quickly at first to roughly 35 M.P.H. when the ABS warning light displayed for a brief moment to about 30 M.P.H. after the warning light stopped flashing; 2 flashes, about 1/2 of a second, the pressure was solid and the vehicle slowed minimally. I managed to stop the vehicle in time, but felt that the brake system had failed to properly slow the vehicle. It felt like stopping a train. I feel unsafe in this vehicle under these conditions and have seen a lot of similar incidences reading online. I'm concerned for my the safety of my family and other motorist, and feel that Toyota should take the responsibility to resolve this issue with these vehicles.

- Duson, LA, USA

problem #24

Jan 062013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 168,000 miles
On three separate occasions I started my Prius by using the electric start button without the key. The car starts and runs but the instrument panel does not light up. Once I arrived at my destination the car will not shut off. It take approx. 1 hr of running before it will turn off. My dealership indicated they had not heard of this issue but after a diagnostic test, discovered that a computer chip communicating with the start button was the issue. The part is not available for 4 to 6 weeks and they will not release my car to me since they consider it a safety issue. They indicated its part of a recall issue..never heard of it! hummm. No cost for the fix since it is part of the recall and Toyota has provided me with a rental car.

- Hilliard, OH, USA

problem #23

May 202010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 11,966 miles
On 20 May 2010 at 11,966 miles every brake/stability warning light came on (including the warning for the parking/emergency brake which was not engaged), regenerative braking appeared to have failed, and hydraulic/friction brakes behaved as if ABS was acting at a very slow pulse rate, approximately a 5-second cycle. For about 2 seconds during the "off" portion of this cycle the brakes were effectively inoperative, with the parking/emergency brake the only source of braking. This behavior persisted after shutting down and restarting the car. The dealer's service department reported that three errors had been logged: C1247 - stroke sensor C1300 - ABS ECU malfunction C2318 - low voltage error resetting the computers cleared the warning indications and restored normal brake system behavior. At my behest, the dealer worked with Toyota engineering to identify why a low voltage would cause a computer failure which could cause substantial loss of braking ability. They kept the car for 8 days but did not appear to complete any sort of root cause analysis of the failure. On 17 December 2012 at 27,324 miles the brakes again failed with the same set of warning lights illuminated. This time, ABS does not appear to be active at all. For the first 2-5 cm of brake pedal travel, in the regime where regenerative braking would be active, no braking is evident. As the pedal is further depressed, the hydraulic/friction brakes abruptly engage. Pressing harder does result in increased braking though braking is rough. No pulsation as might be expected from ABS was noticed. No attempt was made to brake hard enough to lock up the brakes. The vehicle is currently at the dealer.

- Mountain View, CA, USA

problem #22

Jul 092012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 172,361 miles
On 09jul2012 4:00 P.M while driving my Prius 2008 hybrid, heading home on I15N, the electric power on the vehicle shutdown without any previous warning, or alert. I immediately maneuvered the vehicle to the right shoulder of the highway. Immediately called aaa for a towing into Toyota of escondido, located on 231 Lincoln parkway, escondido, ca 92026 ph# (760) 746-0674. Today 09/01/2012 - currently experiencing problems with intermittent hid headlight operation: I've got a package 6 2006 Prius. One of the headlights keeps going out. I can't really tell when or how it goes out since I can't see it. I'll notice it when I see the reflection in the back of another car. If I turn the bright lights on and off it has no effect, but when I turn them all the way off and back on the light comes back. Request a safety recall for Toyota to take care of the electrical corrective actions.

- Temecula, CA, USA

problem #21

Nov 202010


  • 21,000 miles


I was leaving the airport and beginning to pick up speed (approximately 30-35 mph) when I had a very scary incident with my 2008 Prius. It suddenly fishtailed to the left, several seconds later fishtailed to the right, and as it yet again began to fishtail to the left, I jammed on the brakes very hard and it corrected. It was terrifying and fortunately there was no one to my right or behind me and the taxi on my left managed to avoid me. I knew that I would never feel safe in my Prius again. I immediately reported the problem to the Toyota regional manager who said to take it into the dealership. I then spent the next two days reading complaints posted on the internet about the Prius. It is chilling to read how many complaints have been filed and the patterns that emerge in the reporting. I took my car into the dealership where the service manager looked over the complaint that had been written up and said, "I never heard of this before." I told him he only had to go to the internet to see how similar cases with the Prius have been documented. He told me that I shouldn't believe what I find there. I tried my best to give him a thorough explanation of the problem but he didn't seem much interested in getting a fix on what I was talking about. He asked if I had gone over a bump. "no, " I replied, "but why do you ask"" he said that going over a bump can trigger a sensor in the wheel that sets in motion a series of responses. "and going over a bump isn't a problem for Toyota?", I asked. He didn't respond and only said that they will look the car over. From reading the documented reports on the internet, I knew exactly what the findings would be. "we don't find anything wrong with your car, " he told me. "but you do agree that there is something seriously wrong, don't you"", I asked. He immediately hustled me out of the area. I knew that I could never sell my car to another person in good faith, but I sold it back to the dealership at a big loss.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #20

Feb 162010


  • 15,000 miles
I have a 2008 Toyota Prius with vehicle stability control. When the car is going up or down a hill that is slippery, icy or snowy, the vsc kicks in, and all power is shut off to the spinning wheel (s). This renders the car unusable under these conditions. I have been in traffic, and barely escaped running into the car behind me. No injuries were caused, but this feature is potentially very dangerous and even fatal. Toyota should be persuaded to offer or install a way to temporarily disable the vsc.

- Bainbridge Island, WA, USA

problem #19

Sep 022010


  • 30,050 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota Prius and have experienced braking problems since I purchased the vehicle. Any time I go over a bump/pothole, while turning, results in a floating sensation, surge forward, and momentary loss of steering. I almost had an accident 2 weeks ago at an intersection when this occurred. Serviced my vehicle yesterday and they claim the skid control system is working as it was designed. There is definitely a fatal flaw in this system and likely a chip issue. Toyota is not doing anything.

- Maitland, FL, USA

problem #18

Mar 262008


  • 1 miles
Every time I am braking and go over a bump in my 2008 Toyota Prius the anti-lock braking system kicks in. When it does so, it feels like the brakes disengage for a second and the car goes faster, like the braking system is failing before it ends up kicking in. My Toyota dealer tells me this is the way it is supposed to work but it does not feel safe to me. It has been this way since the first day I bought the car brand new from the dealer.

- Fulton, NY, USA

problem #17

May 052008


  • 15 miles
2008 Toyota Prius -ABS releases brakes while applying brakes over bump or bumpy road surface causing longer stopping distance. Vehicle will stop acceleration in turn if going over bump as thug stability control is activating.

- Sun Prairie, WI, USA

problem #16

Jan 292010


  • 34,921 miles
2008 Toyota Prius. On Jan 29, 2010, I was slowly pulling into a parking stall when the accelerator engaged and the car surged forward. I applied the brakes and nothing happened. I let off the brakes and slammed them on harder and the car would not stop. My car hit the side of a am/pm arco station building. I turned it into my insurance and paid the $500 deductible. My car was taken to dealership and they could find nothing wrong at that time. The car has not surged since.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #15

Jan 012009


  • 1 miles
We have a 2008 Prius which has a couple of dangerous things about it which the dealer says is ¿the way it's designed to work¿. 1.I believe they are recalling the 2010 Prius for this problem, but the 2008 has it also. The cars braking system completely releases all the brakes, so far I've just noticed it in the rear wheels, when going around a curve and the wheel hits a bump and looses traction. The traction control light goes on and all the brakes are gone for a short period of time. It feels as if the car is also accelerating during this period of time, but that could just be a result of loosing the braking system. 2.the engine ¿completely shuts off¿ when the front wheels spin. In snow on a grade which can easily be driven on with a vehicles slipping from time to time, the Prius motor shuts down when a driving wheel spins and all forward momentum is lost ¿ ie after spin, no engine, power, spin, no engine several times the car comes to a stop in the road. I also can¿T get up my neighbors driveway if it rains because of this. If crossing a lane of oncoming traffic from a stop sign and the wheel spins we are in ¿mortal danger¿ of being hit.

- Potter Valley, CA, USA

problem #14

May 142009


  • 14,640 miles
As the traffic began to accelerate after stopping at a traffic light the brakes on my 2008 Prius, which I had for less than a day, apparently failed. I had plenty of room ( 3 to 4 car lengths) when the van in front of me stopped short. I slammed on the brakes, but the vehicle failed to stop (the highway was wet and I assumed the anti-lock brakes activated causing the stopping distance to be extended, but there was no evidence of the ABS engaging). The resulting accident caused over $ 4,000 in front end damage. Also, the ESC appear to "skip" while traveling over a railroad track near my home.

- Pottstown, PA, USA

problem #13

May 202008


  • 50 miles
I have a 2008 Toyota Prius. From day one, I have had a problem with braking over uneven terrain. When the vehicle goes over the uneven terrain, and you are braking, the stability control light goes on the dash and the brakes stop working until the vehicle is past the uneven road. This also happens on icy roads when the vehicle starts to slip, the brakes fail. I did not think there was anything wrong until I heard of similar complaints. I am taking the vehicle in to the dealer this week for it's service and will be reporting the problem to them at that time.

- Pahrump, NV, USA

problem #12

Jan 122010


  • miles
My 2008 Toyota Prius has the same problem as reported in the 2010 recall. When approaching an intersection (or doing anything), if my car hits a bump or pothole, the skid control takes over and I can not manually brake. Why is this not being addressed? the date in question I was approaching an intersection and hit a pothole and even though I was hitting the brakes, not until the skid control was finished could the brakes actually fire, and that didn't happen until my car was halfway in the intersection!

- Tinley Park, IL, USA

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