really awful
Crashes / Fires:
32 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
8 / 0
Average Mileage:
20,374 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 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #117

Mar 082010


  • 1,111 miles


Whenever I brake while driving over a bump in the road or a pothole, my brakes give out momentarily. At that same time a symbol flashes on my dashboard. My manual identifies this symbol as "the vsc (vehicle stability control) has been engaged." This form requires a specific month, day, year. The approximately incident dates are every day, every week, every month, every year.

- Palos Verdes Estates, CA, USA

problem #116

Dec 242008


  • 6,500 miles
I was involved in a accident in my 2008 Toyota Prius. I was traveling East on greenback lane in citrus heights ca on Dec. 24 2008 slight sprinkling at the time at about 35 mph when the cars in front of me began to stop I couldn't get the car stopped and rear ended a van. The brakes didn't work for a second or so and I kept pressure on and finally they started to work but to late to avoid the collision. I hit a minivan and it pushed him into a 2005 Chevy trailblazer. I didn't realize at the time my car may be defective until all the news started to surface and now many others are having the same symptoms. Everyone else said they weren't injured at the time but now the driver in the trail Blazer says he has whiplash injuries.

- Citrus Heights, CA, USA

problem #115

Nov 202009


  • 56,000 miles
Momentary brake failure on 2008 Toyota Prius. So far the brakes appeared to fail for a fraction of a second on three occasions. In all three instances this happened when I was going over a defect in the pavement (not a pothole, just a rough section of paving).

- Watkinsville, GA, USA

problem #114

Feb 252010


  • 185,000 miles


Second accident caused by brake failure with acceleration. 2008 Prius in stop and go traffic driving in battery (brake)mode about 10-15 mph. Car in front slowed down, I hit the brake and the car accelerated slightly. I look to be sure my foot was on the brake pedal and it was and then rear ended the car in front. Car in front move forward but Prius wouldn't stop and started to accelerate again so I pushed on the parking brake with my left foot and slowed it down for the second impact. Car in front then drove slowly to a parking lot and the Prius kept moving so I drove it into the parking lot and when it slowed going up the ramp I pushed the parking button stopping the car. I then restarted it and released the parking brake to move further into the parking lot. 4 people injured, 3 seriously. A similar incident occurred 29 September 2008 when driving on cruise control at 26 mph the Prius suddenly turned left hitting a parked car. The video shows I was trying to counter steer hard right. Skid marks showed the left front wheel stopped and the car pivoted on it with acceleration marks from the right front tire.

- Keenesburg, CO, USA

problem #113

Jan 192010


  • 19,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. On January 19, 2010 while driving approximately 65 mph and applying the brakes to slow down with traffic flow the brakes failed to respond. The vehicle responded as if he was stepping on the accelerator pedal. He was able to change lanes and avoid a collision. He did not take the vehicle to the dealer, because he thought it was drivers error. The failure mileage was 19,000 and the current mileage was 20,000.

- Los Angeles , CA, USA

problem #112

May 202008


  • 3 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that when pulling up to her garage to park the vehicle, the vehicle would not stop when she applied the brakes and hit the garage door. There were no injuries. Four months later, the failure recurred, minus the crash. She had not noticed any problems since then. She took the vehicle to the dealership and the dealer told her that they could find nothing wrong with the vehicle. She had not called the manufacturer to-date. The current mileage was 26,000. The failure mileage was approximately 3.

- Fountain Hills, AZ, USA

problem #111

Feb 182010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 75,300 miles


Low speed brake failure resulting in crashing into car in front. Impact speed about 10-15mph. Damage to car >$2800. Stood on the brake and the car would not stop as it should. Updated 03/12/10

- Benicia, CA, USA

problem #110

Feb 102009


  • 11,870 miles
A. dash lights would just disappear (no display for speed or gear) B. key "bob" wouldn't release and car wouldn't turn off. - twice C. car would "rev-up" when engine cool while in gear applying brakes 1. took to dealer to resolve - couldn't recreate the problems and was told to keep the key in my pocket. 2. second time was able to take to the dealer while the problem was happening. After 30 minutes came back with the solution of not to insert key bob. The lights and the "key bob" problem happen twice. The engine "rev-up" happen when the car was cold and I would need to make sure to firmly apply the brakes. The last time it happened I wasn't so lucky - going at a speed of 40 I started a turn to go under the freeway when the engine "rev-up" and forced me into a concrete wall... totaling the car.

- Decatur, GA, USA

problem #109

Mar 042008


  • 47,000 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota Prius and have been reading about the 2010 Prius braking problem. I am experiencing the same symptons when I hit the brakes on a bumpy or pot-holed section of roadway. It is a temporary (split second) loss of braking power. Although I have not had any accidents attibutable to this condition, I am nevertheless concerned and would like the problem corrected. Will the NHTSA expand its investigation to include Toyota's 2nd generation Prius like mine?

- Landenberg, PA, USA

problem #108

Dec 272007


  • 300 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. While driving 25 mph the contact applied the brakes and they did not engage. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and the contact was advised that nothing was wrong with the vehicle. The failure mileage was 300. The current miles were 14000. The VIN was not available.

- Arlington Heights, IL, USA

problem #107

Feb 172010


  • 34,000 miles


The brakes cut out any time I hit a rough place on the road while braking. I have encountered this issue approximately once per week. It depends on where I am driving. For example: There is a road close to my work where I need to brake for a stop light right at a place where a rough bridge junction exist. When I drive on this road, the brakes cut out every time. Toyota has announced they have this issue with the 2010 Prius. My car is a 2008 Prius. I kept waiting for them to include my car, but so far they have not.

- Shepherdsville, KY, USA

problem #106

Jan 202010


  • 26,000 miles
Even when new, only when braking on a bumpy surface, my 2008 Toyota Prius will reduce braking power all by itself, when I need them the most. When I press into the brake pedal, it will brake again, but by this time I will have lost 1 second of braking time. Recently on Jan 20th, I almost hit the person in front of me when I had to panic-brake, and the road became bumpy as I was braking. By pressing the brake harder after 1 second lost, I barely stopped in time. I never brought this to the dealer's attention, until two weeks ago, because I know this car has hyper-active wheel-slip sensors, and I just thought it was part of that design flaw. That problem comes up whenever I try to accelerate hard and make a right turn. Even on dry pavement (and no wheel slip) the engine cuts out for about 3 seconds and the traction control light comes on. When it was new, the dealer said that's just the way it's designed. But that's not what I'm complaining about. That's just why I didn't report it until now. Back to the brakes, two weeks ago, when I heard the 2010 Prius has a software update to fix this problem, I thought they might be able to fix mine also. But when I went to the dealer, they said they couldn't do anything with it unless there was a recall, and there isn't for the 2008. They gave me the number to report it to Toyota. I did that on 02/10/2010. Then when I heard the Toyota president (2 days ago) say that earlier Prius' don't have the problem, I thought I should report it to you also. Ps...I am an analyst by trade, I am highly mechanically inclined, and have even done my own brake jobs. I know how brake systems work and have had many cars with ABS and traction control systems. This is the first car I have had that does this on a bumpy road surface.

- Sterling Heights, MI, USA

problem #105

Jun 012008


  • miles
My 2008 Prius has the same loss of traction when going over uneven surfaces as the 2010 cas. There are two sections of road that I drive over everyday to and from work. Everyday, when I go over these surfaces my anti-lock brake light turns on indicating that it is momentarily not working. It then feels like I am sliding on ice until I get to even road. Please expand the investigation to the at least the 2008 models.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #104

Apr 152008


  • 50 miles
Our 2008 Toyota Prius has a brake hesitation. This hesitation occurs when going over a rough road surface while braking or slowing. This problem happens often. I have learned that if I keep pressing on the brake when this happens I am able to stop and/or slow down.

- Rockland, MA, USA

problem #103

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 #102

Feb 152010


  • 12,000 miles
2008 Toyota Prius with anti-slip rear-wiggle upon hitting small bumps in road. The anti-slip electronic system is way too sensitive as it is responding to small bumps in the road. I can understand how this may be helpful at high speeds or icy conditions, but at slow speeds the blinking yellow skid-control dashboard light and rearend wiggle as the system tries to recover does seem annoying. The system is overly sensitive.

- Hoffman Estates, IL, USA

problem #101

Feb 032010


  • 40,000 miles
I own a toy.pri.2008, on 02/03/10 I was leaving driveway applied gas, car took off across St. Into tidalflow of at. Ocean at high tide, the car would not shift. Brake or turn off. The police pic's noteded gas pedal was not visible, floor mat was over it, the salt water was in car and upon leaving car it was waist deep. The car was serviced 1/4/10 at Toyota dealer for state inspetion and usual mt. Never mentioned recall of mats which I now find was a well known fact in Sept.09. They are insisting it will dry out and be fine, salt water on any car is deadly buti hybrid. The hour it sat in water prior to tow, the car still would not shut off. I called Toyota that day as tow took car to it, they insisted that there was no issues with 2008 Prius. The car was moving much faster than my 10mph of origin and would not brake, shift or shut off. Water was pouring out stereo speakers and up under hood on/or under engine block, the engine ran for the hour the car sat in salt water. Toyota hsa been absolutely no help and still insists despite an offical recall that there were troubles with 2008 Prius. The police photos say it all.

- Hampton, NH, USA

problem #100

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

problem #99

Feb 052010


  • 62,800 miles
Hello, I live in israel, software expert, M.SC. In mechanical engineering. On Feb 5th 2010 my Prius 2008 crashed into the car driving ahead due to the brakes problem. Crash pre-conditions: Low speed - 28km/hour (17.4mph), slippery road during the rain, more than sufficient distance to the car ahead. The car ahead started braking sharply, instantly strong braking has been applied to Prius with no response for a few tenths of sec, there was a feeling of sliding which resulted in crash. During two years disproportionally low brakes response happened to me twice in similar low speed conditions; when coming to roundabouts at 15-20km/hour while applying significant pressure on brakes I came 2-3M further than expected with the feeling of very weak brakes response. Attempts to reproduce this condition didn't succeed, it happens in very specific circumstances. The crash resulted in no injuries, but significant damage to both cars (about $4000).

- Raanana, Israel, 00, USA

problem #98

Jan 012008


  • 0 miles
Traction control issues with 2008 Toyota Prius. The traction control makes the car almost undriveable on snow covered roads due to power being removed from driving wheels. Suggest adding a switch to disable the traction control.

- Parma, OH, USA

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