really awful
Crashes / Fires:
14 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
20,551 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 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #37

Mar 182008


  • 150 miles


When I tried to slow down and hit the break, it took more time, compare to other car. I tried not to hit the car ahead of me and turn left and hit the left front door to the furniture on the street beside garbage can. I didn't crash to the other car and I didn't get hurt. I thought that is usual for hybrid car and I fixed my car in autoshop. Since then, I hit break very early. And last winter, my car didn't stop on the icy road and since then I didn't drive whenver it snow or icy.

- Troy, NY, USA

problem #36

Jan 102010


  • miles
I see in the news that 2010 Toyota Prius is investigated for braking issue on ice and slippery roads. I experience the same with 2008 Prius. I feel a delay when I apply the brake when the roads are wet etc.it is sporatidc experience.

- Collierville, TN, USA

problem #35

Feb 042010


  • 34,000 miles
Last night while driving home in light rain on a smooth, straight road a very loud alarm began to sound and a red "brake" light lit up on the instrument panel and the brakes felt like they were failing. The steering also became very stiff. The alarm did not stop until I had pulled over and used the emergency brake to stop and turned the engine off completely. I took the car to the dealership where I was told that it was driver error for driving with one foot on the gas and one on the brake at the same time, which is absurd. It was also implied that I had "imagined" this frightening emergency due to the recent problems in the news with the 2010 brakes on the Prius. That is also completely false. I had never even considered my car might have a brake failure until it happened as nothing had ever happened before this incident. I left the dealership in tears and afraid to drive my car with no hope of an answer because I was not believed. They even said that there was no such loud alarm that could go off on the 08 Prius. I was told that the code C1256 revealed, with 100% accuracy, that I had hit the brake and gas simultaneously 38 times! I explained that this could never have happened even once and was told that the computer is never wrong.

- Cadiz, KY, USA

problem #34

Feb 052010


  • 1,000 miles


Another 2008 Prius owner here attesting to the brake problems. Just one half of a mile from my home I encounter the perfect one two combination that demonstrates the defect. There is a slightly recessed man hole cover very close to a slight ripple in the asphalt near a "T" intersection. While braking, if I allow my right wheels to drop into the man hole cover and the left wheels to cross the ripple immediately thereafter my traction control warning light comes on and the car does not slow. I have to release the brake pedal until the light goes off then re-apply the brakes in order to slow down at the intersection. Obviously, I avoid these bumps now that I know what will happen. This defect can get me into serious trouble in an area I'm not familiar with. I can duplicate this problem in three different places nearby if anyone from NHTSA wants a demonstration.

- Lincoln, CA, USA

problem #33

Feb 052010


  • 26,200 miles
My car has the same problem that the 2010 Prius has and I wanted to make sure that Toyota looks beyond just the 2010 model year. Whenever I brake as I hit a pothole or bump in the road, the car seems to speed up just a bit before the brakes begin working. This has happened since I have owned the car and I thought it was just part of how the car worked. I haven't had an accident because of this, but there have been a few close calls. There are certain roads where I know it always happens and I am now prepared for it. It happened to me again today as I was exiting a highway, there was a new pothole on the exit ramp and I hit it as I was braking on the curve. An orange light in the dashboard lights up when this happens, signifying slippery or unstable road conditions I guess.

- Mount Laurel, NJ, USA

problem #32

Jan 082010


  • 500 miles
I have a 2008 Prius. I took it in because whenever the road is slippery the brakes don't engage properly and the car continues forward for some time. I took it to Toyota in downtown la and they told me I needed to buy new tires and a rotation. I did this. Now I see that the same problem I have in my Prius still is what the new Prius is being recalled for. I am sure I am not the only Prius owner prior to 2010 that has this problem. I don't feel safe on the road and want to trade the car in to Toyota or get it fixed. Every time it rains, it happens.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #31

Nov 152009


  • 12,000 miles


I have had some problems with my Prius, 2008 model. The braking system has acted "weird" on several occasions...even before hearing about the problems with the 2010 model Prius! when I brake, sometimes the car doesn't respond initially and then "lurches" before the brakes engage. Also the orange light (ABS?) comes on when this happens and then disappears quickly. I asked the dealer about this when I serviced the car (12000 miles) and they just said that is a "feature" of the braking system. I never have had a car that does that. I don't feel safe nor do I trust the judgment of the dealer.

- Soquel, CA, USA

problem #30

Feb 032010


  • 30,200 miles
The brakes fail to work immediately and/or the car speed surges temporarily when braking on a bumpy surface, such as going over a pot hole. This started happening soon after I started driving the car and happens on a regular basis - the most recent being yesterday. At first, the short loss of control of vehicle speed concerned me, but I have come to expect it now when going over rough road at slow speeds. I started to think it was associated with the ABS system and thought maybe it was supposed to work that way. But now, after hearing about the problems with the 2010 Prius, I thought you should know the same problem exists in earlier Prius models. This is a duplicate of a complaint filed earlier today under speed control. Since then I learned that maybe I should have filed this under brakes.

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #29

Feb 042010


  • 56,500 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota Prius. I have experienced the braking issues that have been attributed to the 2010 Prius. When going over a bump or other uneven road surface and while braking, the car has a short surge. I have experienced this problem since owning the car.

- San Mateo, CA, USA

problem #28

Jan 302010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
I never owned a car with anti-lock brakes until I had my Prius. I have always noticed that when applying the brakes, if I go over uneven ground like a pothole, the car lurches forward a bit for about a second. I thought it was because of the unique braking system in the Prius, but after seeing all of these reports, I thought I should report it since my car is older than the ones mentioned in the news reports.

- Robbinsdale, MN, USA

problem #27

Feb 032010


  • 300,000 miles


My 2008 Prius, which I bought brand new with only 4 miles on it from longo Toyota in California, has been experiencing the following brake issue: Everyday while driving on pacific coast highway near manhattan beach, I will hit a pothole while braking, noticing my yellow traction control light flash on my dash board three times, and then my car will surge forward. This happens in the same general area everytime, and although I have not hit anybody in front of me, I am shocked each and everytime it does occur. I am almost guaranteed to experience this when driving in the slow lane in the location described above once a day. I love my 2008 Prius, but this issue is very alarming. I have noticed this from November 20th, 2007 until today, February 4th, 2010.

- Hermosa Beach, CA, USA

problem #26

Jul 302008


  • 10,990 miles
2008 Prius speeds up when brakes are applied while going over bumpy road or pot hole this is a constant problem that exists today.

- Mansfield, OH, USA

problem #25

Jun 152008


  • 500 miles
2008 Toyota Prius: Driving over manhole covers or bumps in the road, the car felt like it accelerated when braking and the "slippery" light came on the dashboard. It happens whenever I need to brake over a manhole or bump or slick spot. I went to the dealer months ago (end of summer '09) with this complaint but said they would need to do a full diagnostics on the car at my expense since there have been no issues with the Prius' ABS they would need to check everything. I did not have this done. I checked "service brakes, electric" since your form did not have an option to choose anti-lock braking system. Also, there are a lot more dates of incidents than just one.

- Stamford, CT, USA

problem #24

Sep 292007


  • 0 miles
I have a 2008 Prius and I experience the same problem of: "as described by NHTSA's office of defect investigations "consumers allege a momentary loss in braking during brake applications while traveling over an uneven road surface, pothole or bump in the roadway."" my car won't brake properly when going over bumps on the road or uneven surfaces. The brakes hesitate briefly and the car slightly lunges forward. However, I have a 2008 Prius. I have always noticed the problem but didn't know I could report this anywhere that would listen to me. Ongoing problem. I've experienced this problem since I bought the car. The skid light goes on when this problem arises. I'm concerned about rear-ending someone ahead of me.

- Santa Monica, CA, USA

problem #23

Feb 042010


  • 20 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota Prius which surges ahead when I am braking under certain conditions: Wet, uneven surfaces, and bumpy roads. It is scary because I nearly hit someone at a stop sign and I feel out of control when it does this. On average, happens 1-2X week. It happens when my foot is off the gas pedal and I am under 20 mph. It seems like a computer error and not accelerator related.

- Birmingham, MI, USA

problem #22

Oct 012009


  • 30,000 miles
I have 2008 Toyota Prius and I had also had issues when trying to brake over uneven speed bumps or metal connections in bridges (I do not know the name of the connectors). One time while driving on the bridge I started to brake since the upcoming stoplight had turned red. Trying to slow my car down (since I was driving a street, I was not going fast in the first place), I pressed my brake pedal as I was going over the metal bridge connectors and the brakes did not work. It was if I was driving on ice. There was a car ahead of me so I slammed real hard on the brakes and luckily I was able to stop just a few inches behind the other car so I did not hit it. It was real close call. I have had similar experiences when I go over speed bumps (and I am going slowly over the bumps). It takes a while for the brakes to take effect. So I do not believe this problem is only related to the newer 2010 Prius model. As discussed, I have braking problems with my older 2008 Prius. Also, I would like to add that I believe the sticky pedal problem can also be found on Japanese made Toyota (such as the Prius). If you look up "sticking accelerator pedal" on the internet, you will find the same issue has happened with the Prius too. However, luckily, I have not experienced this sticky pedal problem.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #21

Jun 152009


  • 20,000 miles
1. any uneven road surface, ice, or slippery road (after a rain) 2. the car lurches forward when attempting to brake as a car would with a standard transmission if braking without downshifting 3. nothing has been done. Toyota summarizes the problem as such:the wheel slide or stability indicator switches on for no apparent reason equaling a loss of vehicle control. Happens conditions ranging from perfect to other.

- Otego, NY, USA

problem #20

Feb 032010


  • 20,500 miles
The brakes of my Toyota Prius seem to have intermittent "grabbing and delaying" problems. The most frequent problem is that the braking system seems to apply extra pressure when slowing at low speeds causing the car to jerk slightly. Less frequently the brakes can seem to "go out" for a short time after hitting a bump or pot hole. If the road is wet this seems to make the problem worse. Approximate incident date is various.

- Medford, OR, USA

problem #19

Apr 302008


  • 0 miles
I have read news reports about the 2010 Prius braking issues. As an owner of a 2008 Prius, I have experienced near identical behavior. When braking, if the car hits a pothole or a bump, I momentarily (maybe 1/2 -1 second of time) lose all braking power before braking then resumes. After this 'hiccup' the ABS/traction control light blinks 3-4 times. The issue has never resulted in an accident, however I have changed my driving habits to ensure I have extra room to stop as the issue is both recurring and quite frequent (there is one offramp on my way home from work with a small bump that causes this issue 35-50% of the time). I know that the current story is that the 2010 Prius has a 'redesigned' braking system, so prior models and generations are supposedly not affected by the problem the NHTSA is currently investigating. My experience, however, leads me to believe the problem is more widespread and does in fact impact earlier generation Prius cars, possibly in a portion of the braking control system common to both the older and newer Prius models.

- Newark, CA, USA

problem #18

May 012009


  • 2,500 miles
I have a 2008 Toyota Prius. I have experienced a change in deceleration as you are braking and the vehicle speed is 10-15 mph when the vehicle switches from regenerative braking to mechanical braking there is a lag and the sensation that the vehicle is speeding up.

- Ames, IA, USA

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