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 7 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #37

Feb 042010


  • 37,000 miles


I have a 2008 Prius and it does exactly what they are reporting the 2010 models are doing. Mine jumps forward while braking over a rough road. My friend owns a 2007 model and his does the same thing. Mine occurs almost daily when transitioning home from work over a particular stretch of road. I will be glad to testify. I also sent a complaint to Toyota.

- Richmond, TX, USA

problem #36

Apr 112008


  • 30 miles
Toyota Prius braking problems not limited to generation 3 vehicles. I have and 2008 Prius (generation 2) that always lunges forward while braking when the vehicle rolls over a pothole.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #35

Jan 282010


  • 47,000 miles
2008 Toyota Prius. Have not experienced the braking failure currently being investigated in the 2010 Prius, but I have experienced multiple similar failures with the traction control system on both slippery and bumpy roads where the car will completely disengage from the drive train for an unreasonably long period of time, and then pulse wildly between having the drive system engage and disengage. In Minnesota with slippery roads for many months in the year, it can be very tricky making a left had turn even when oncoming traffic is a very safe distance away. You can "stall" mid turn in a very vulnerable broadside position. Same issue has happened, to a lesser degree on bumpy roads, not just icy roads. I have not pressed Toyota on the issue. I raised it once in conversation and they simply said that it was just how the traction control operated. I am telling you as you open the investigation into the 2010 Prius braking system. I think the scope is wider than brakes, it is acceleration as well, and I don't think it is limited to the most recent model of the Prius. I drive a late model previous generation Prius.

- Andover, MN, USA

problem #34

Dec 152009


  • 21,500 miles


I drive a black 2008 Toyota Prius and after reading the news reports, I think there might be similar braking issues with my vehicle. The condition definitely does not happen very often, but I would say at least 5-10 times over the 23 months (March 08 - present) that I have had the vehicle. With the brake pedal applied after going over a rough spot or pothole in the road, it felt like the car was skidding or sliding. The car would resume normal operating conditions within a few seconds. The car was never out of control, but the steering wheel and brake pedal definitely felt very loose which is different than under normal circumstances. Also, when this condition occurs, the low-traction indicator light on the dashboard illuminates for a few seconds. These incidents occurred when there was not other traffic around. Up to this point, I attributed the condition to driver error, but I would rather add my description and err on the side of being overly cautious.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #33

Feb 082008


  • 10,000 miles
Pulling into a driveway, my brakes failed to hold, my 2008 Toyota Prius car jumped forward while my foot was still depressed on the brake, and my car hit a parked car. I reported the accident to my insurance company. Damage was done to the parked vehicle; only minor damage was done to my car. I advised my dealership of the incident, and I was told that they could inspect the brakes, but there was nothing else they could do regarding the incident that occurred.

- Bridgewater, NJ, USA

problem #32

Mar 012008


  • 5 miles
I have a 2008 Toyota Prius; it has the same problem with braking as what you describe in the 2010 models. When approaching a stop, if you hit a bump, or pothole, the brakes kind of 'release' momentarily. They do grab again within a half-second, or so. But it is very unnerving. I could see how it could lead to a crash under certain circumstances.

- Newcastle, CA, USA

problem #31

Dec 242009


  • 9,980 miles


I was driving approximately 25mph. A fire engine entered the intersection ahead of me without warning. I applied the brakes immediately, but they locked up and I slid on ice. I could not stop and hit the fire engine. My vehicle was totaled and I was found at fault for the accident.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #30

Oct 012009


  • 8,500 miles
2008 Toyota Prius - the car had strange acceleration issues and would act like it was going over potholes when the road was smooth. The ABS would engage when the roads were dry, even at slow speeds. I was driving approximately 15 mph, looking for a parking space. I saw one, applied pressure to the brake pedal, and my car lurched sideways, to the right. I thought my axle had broken. I got out and saw that I had hit the car that was parked along the street, but had not caused any damage to it. My tire rods and axle were broken and damage to my steering column was found. I thought this should have been covered by my warranty, but the dealership said it was caused by hitting the car next to me. My car should not have gone sideways when I braked. The dealership hooked the car up to the computer and said that there was no record of any failures.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #29

Apr 242008


  • 13,605 miles
Prius brake problems - on 4-24-08 I brought my pruis into Toyota to replace a brake actuator. At the time of the incident my dash board lit up like a christmas tree. It took Toyota about 4 weeks to fix the problem. Is this related to the brake problems released recently or a new problem. There was no accident involved.

- Litchfield, NH, USA

problem #28

Jan 302010


  • 34,000 miles
2008 Toyota Prius. Brakes fail/inoperative when driving over bumpy roads and/or potholes. It seems as though the ABS or the electronic stability control engages when there is no need. This is the same type of incident that is being reported in newer Prius models as well.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #27

Jun 302009


  • 32,000 miles


2008 Prius brake acceleration. I pulled slowly into my regular parking spot at work. My Prius all of a sudden sped up and I couldn't stop it before the car hit the utility box on the side of our office. I have pictures and a witness. I informed my insurance "allstate" when the problem was brought to public attention but because I had moved and no longer have allstate, they were not concerned. I have notified Toyota and as of this date, they have not commented. I was told at the time that it was my fault, therefore I assumed it must have been. I want you to know that I experienced this problem and now realize I was not at fault. The accident is on my record for three years and my Prius had to have a new bumper which causes it to no longer have full resale value.

- Pasco, WA, USA

problem #26

Nov 072009


  • 30,000 miles
When trying to brake at slow speeds for very bumpy, rough or pot holed road, the brake pedal goes dead for a very short instant. It feels like there is no brake pedal at all. Your not sure if you lost your brakes or what. It is like it skips a beat or something. It must be when the car is in the traditional braking mode versus re-gen mode. This has happened about 10 times over 2 years. No accident. It just makes you stop slower/longer.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #25

Jan 052010


  • miles
2008 Prius on very slushy roads can momentarily "lose" its brakes when transitioning from regenerative braking to the wet and ineffective friction brakes at about 6 mph. The friction brakes then dry quickly and work. Consider requiring automatic intermittent light friction brake application during regenerative braking so that the friction brakes are ready to take over when they are supposed to. There is no single incident date; it's an ongoing problem.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #24

Jan 052010


  • miles
2008 Prius ABS takes much longer to resume braking after losing traction over railroad tracks or other bumps than did my three previous ABS-equipped cars (from 1987 and 2001 with Bosch ABS). Car travels tens of feet at 30 mph with no apparent braking before braking returns. Don't believe regenerative braking forces bad ABS performance -- there's an ample source of accumulated high pressure fluid available for the friction brakes that is quite instantaneous if ever you stamp on the pedal enough to trigger "brake assist". if Toyota can't make regen compatible with good ABS, ask them to revert to the hydraulics. Please update FMVSS no. 135 to disallow this kind of ABS performance. It's an ongoing problem. There is no single incident date.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #23

Feb 022010


  • 0 miles
Whenever I drive my 2008 Prius over an uneven road surface, the brake ABS light goes on and the brakes appear momentarily unresponsive. This happens on a regular basis. It has not caused an accident, in part because I am a very conservative driver. But, I worry that in an emergency situation I would not be able to stop in time.

- Marlboro, MA, USA

problem #22

Jan 102010


  • 13,000 miles
When going downhill and approaching a right turn near my home I apply the brakes and often runover the same uneven surface on the road. That triggers my 2008 Toyota Prius' traction control light to blink on and off a few times and my brakes seem to stop applying pressure at that point while my car's speed increases for 1-2 seconds then the traction control light goes off and the brakes work fine. I am just worried about all the issues with Toyota cars and want to make sure my family is safe. Hence, telling my small story before it happens and I can't control it.

- Hoboken, NJ, USA

problem #21

Dec 152009


  • 23,000 miles
When braking, if a pothole or bump in the road is hit, the car seemingly jerks forward/accelerates for a split second.

- Swampscott, MA, USA

problem #20

Jan 022010


  • 30,000 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota Prius. Given the already many complaints, I would like to add my comments on this Prius. First this car is very unsafe due to poor visibility. You can not see out of this car. Second, I had the headlight failures that these cars have. I have had both headlights replaced in this car. The headlights would go out while driving in the dark. Many times I had to turn the switch off and back on while driving in the dark to get the headlights to come back on. This is not safe and many, many Prius's have this problem. The dealer replaced the headlights but not without a struggle on my part. Last point I would like to make is that this 2008 Prius has the same exact issues with brakes and stopping that the 2010 does according the accounts I have read. For example, I went over a railroad track recently which when it hits an uneven surface it is very hard to stop! I almost hit a car that was turning just past these tracks because it feels like the car does not have a good "grip" to the road. It happens also with even a small cluster of small pot holes. This car is not safe in my opinion. I do not understand how the headlights alone did not make a recall. It is an ongoing unsafe situation. The car not stopping however is something that needs to be recalled and not just limited to the 2010 Prius.

- Seabrook, TX, USA

problem #19

Feb 012010


  • 24,055 miles
About once a month the brakes partially fail then I press the brakes harder and they reengage fully. This happens after I've had my foot on the brakes for 5-10 seconds when I am trying to come to a complete stop. This has never led to an accident. I'm planning to take the car into the dealer to have it inspected.

- Brookfield, WI, USA

problem #18

Feb 012010


  • 200 miles
I would like to report a brake problem on my 2008 Toyota Prius. This is an apparent momentary loss of braking when hitting a rough spot in the road. The same problem was apparent on an earlier 2002 Prius. It has not caused any accidents, but it is worrisome. It happens consistently and reproducibly.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

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