really awful
Crashes / Fires:
10 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
90,766 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 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #14

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 #13

Aug 312013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
I rear-ended the car in front of me in a very low speed accident, listed on my ticket as 1+ mph by the police officer who witnessed my accident while at the scene attending to an already-occurred accident. When I was 2-3 car lengths behind the car in front of me, going approx. 5-10 mph, I saw their brake lights go on, and I pushed the brake pedal and nothing happened. I pumped the brakes, and nothing happened. When I realized that my car's momentum was not slowing in the slightest, and that I was going to hit the car in front of me, I tried to maneuver into the vacant right lane, but the failure of the car to even slow down made accident avoidance not possible. When I struck the car in front of me, the blow was primarily with the left front corner of my car contacting the center of their bumper. My car was totaled; their car need a new rear bumper but only for cosmetic purposes. I will testify under oath in a court of law that the brakes in my 2008 Toyota Prius failed, and that is why I had this wreck.

- San Marcos, TX, USA

problem #12

Oct 152013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
Normal traffic, dry pavement, level surface, clear visibility 40 mph. I was following in traffic, not particularly close behind a full size pickup truck. The truck stopped very quickly. I performed a 'panic' stop by depressing the brake pedal as hard as possible and maintained the pressure. My Prius slowed but did not stop prior to hitting the truck. No airbags deployed. As I pushed the brake pedal as hard as possible, there was never any 'chattering' characteristic of hydraulic brakes being applied with accompanied ABS pulsating activity. I believe there was never any 'switch' between the hybrid regernerative braking and to the hydraulic braking. I truly believe in any other car w/O the regenerative/hydraulic bake switch, the car would have stopped in a much shorter distance. The car is now being repaired, after which I will have the brakes examined.

- San Marcos, CA, USA

problem #11

Jun 242013

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles


There has been a chirping sound coming from my brakes. Im not sure when it began I just thought it was a normal occurrence recently my dashboard lights or indicator lights have come on I took my car in to the dealer and they told me that it needed a new actuator pump which would cost around 3000dollars to replaceafter doing some research online I discovered that this is a ongoing problem with these cars this actually a pump is defective on a lot of these cars this car should be recalled and the problem should be fixed by the dealer.

- Cohasset, MA, USA

problem #10

Apr 162013


  • 35,000 miles
I purchased a used 2008 Prius with approx 30,000 miles. Since purchase from a dealership, it only gives at best 41.9mpg, 2nd.. I have had to jump start it on 4 occasions due to a dead battery and the fluid doesn't go far enough to clean the windshield. On the most recent occasion with 35,000 miles..... a week ago I attempted to start the vehicle and it would not. I got it jump started again, I noticed a critical light came on (a triangle and ! sign in red). I brought it to the dealer who said I needed a new battery. I have an extended warranty which they say does not cover it and so had to pay $395.71. I called Toyota corporate who offered $300 credit towards any service. The service dept informed me this battery has a 1 year warranty. 3.. I also have noticed a lack of traction after going over small bumps on the road. This happens on any surface when driving at 25mpg or faster... feels like it kind of goes faster.

- East Stroudsburg, PA, USA

problem #9

Feb 262013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph and depressing the brakes, the pedal became hard and required additional force to be depressed. The ABS and another unknown warning light illuminated immediately after the failure. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they advised her that the brake actuator assembly failed and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted and offered no assistance. The failure and current mileages were approximately 75,000.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #8

Jan 232013


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while traveling downhill at 30 mph, the brake was depressed but failed to engage. The contact had to steer the vehicle into a ditch in order to avoid a crash. The contact was not injured. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was towed to a salvage yard and was not inspected for the cause of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 100,000. The VIN was not available.

- Jacksonville , NC, USA

problem #7

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 #6

Sep 182012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
2008 Toyota Prius (runaway Toyota) 09/18/2012 at home depot parking area. As I was in a parking stall, I stepped on a brake to come to a complete stop, suddenly the car took off with its fully force. The brake pedal did not work. My right foot was on the brake pedal and not on the gas pedal. My car jumped over a wheel stop and banged onto a tree and stop. Insurance agent came by shortly as well as a police. The car was towed to the big island Toyota who denies defects. Without my knowledge Toyota made national claim so that my car is frozen-no one can touch it, until I sign a liability waiver (releasing Toyota from any liability). Meantime they said I need to pay parking charge to hold my car in their service department. Toyota wants me to sign a liability waiver and insurance company to repair the car so that they can whole sale the vehicle. My car 2008 Toyota Prius was recalled in 2008, the service department did something to the gas pedal. I want the world to know the car is not safe, it can trigger the gas pedal to go full when brake is stepped on.

- Kamuela, HI, USA

problem #5

Aug 292012


  • 70,374 miles
On 8/29/12, I got into my 2008 Prius in the parking lot of the easton, md giant food-store to return home. This lot is on a slope just above a parking lot for walmart, with a paved road between the 2 lots. The parking lots were very crowded. I needed to get to the road separating the 2 lots in order to go home. I had just started the Prius and put it into drive when it started to roar loudly, jumped out fast, and accelerated rapidly, even though I brake multiple times. The brakes seemed to make it accelerate faster. I was not touching the gas pedal, only the brake, but the car was roaring and out of control. On the way out of the giant lot, the Prius hit 3 cars. The noise was very loud, and the car was out of control. Pumping the brakes or holding them down did nothing to slow the car, and the noise was terrifying. The brakes did not work, and the Prius continued to make a very loud roaring noise. The speed of the car made steering difficult, if not impossible, and there could have been injuries. The Prius then left the giant parking lot, went down the mulched slope, crossed the street, bumped over the curb, and went up the walmart slope hitting a small tree. The car was probably going at least 40 mph and came to a stop only after it plunged into an unoccupied black car parked in the walmart parking lot. It was severely damaged and towed away. No one knew who the owner was at the time the police ordered it towed away. An occupant would have been severely injured or killed.during the above, the Prius continued to run and the airbag functioned, keeping me uninjured. The brakes and the accelerator failed totally. Four vehicles were damaged, one of which was totaled. But as far as I know, there were no injuries??for which I am grateful. This Prius should not have been on the road despite having only 74,000 miles and its apparent good condition.

- Easton, MD, USA

problem #4

Sep 022012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 82,000 miles


The car warnings went on and displayed the symbol for brake systems failure. The car brakes went out and then the car sped up slightly until the brakes re-engaged. I was driving slowly and was near my home, so no one was hurt thankfully. We had to have it towed because the car manual said not to drive it more than 3 mph when you have a brake systems failure. It was determined that the defective parts were the electric water pump and the mechanical water pump. Toyota has recalled 2003-2007 electric water pumps for the Prius. My concern is that this could have been a tragic accident if we were going faster. My question is whether the 2008 electric water pump for the Prius need to be recalled?

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #3

Aug 252012


  • 47,400 miles
Around 4:30pm on Saturday afternoon, we opened the car door to run some errands and were startled by a piercing noise. The dashboard was lighting up (ABS & vsc) and although the car started, the dashboard remained lit and the beeping continued. When driving the car to the dealership, the brakes did not brake fully. After a $58 diagnostic test, we were told that acc pressure sensor needed to be cleared and if we returned with the same problem, we may need to replace a "brake actuator part" (cost = $2,560). Before this incident, on Saturday afternoon, we drove the car on the interstate for about 150 miles. For the last 15 minutes of our trip, we were driving through heavy rains on the interstate and on side roads. We did not experience any problems when driving the car in the rain, but are wondering whether or not the water affected the brakes.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #2

Jan 102012


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owned a 2008 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while driving 25 mph, the brakes failed, which caused the vehicle to crash into another vehicle. No injuries were reported. The vehicle was destroyed at the scene and towed away to the dealer. The dealer diagnosed that the brakes functioned properly and there was no failure. The manufacturer was notified and stated that the failure was the contact's fault. No assistance was offered. The failure and current mileages were 50,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Brighton, MA, USA

problem #1

Jun 222012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 34,000 miles
Pulled out of parking lot, started accelerating, went to hit brakes and brakes failed. Brake pedal travel was more than normal, started pulsing brakes. Dashboard lights came on (not sure which ones). Problem also occurred in September 2011, and Toyota reset the "brake stroke sensor" charged us for this work, and recommended replacing the sensor (~500). Dealership stated this was not covered under warranty due to over three years. Even though it was a safety issue, they did not replace sensor at that time.

- Sterling, VA, USA

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