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 8 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #17

Sep 012008


  • 15,000 miles


On September 1, 2008 I had an accident involving my 2008 Prius. While driving South on 295 near richmond, va, traffic came to a total stop near the Virginia beach exit. I was unable to stop and hit the SUV in front of me. After seeing the traffic stopping, I applied my brakes as hard as I could but the car did not stop. I also did not feel the ABS engage. Naturally, I was charged with causing the accident. When the Prius was repaired (~$12,000), I requested Toyota to check for a failure of the ABS. They reported that the computer did not register any malfunction. I am submitting this now after hearing through the media that the Prius has had reported brake problems. I have always believed that my accident was caused by the Prius' brakes failing to stop in a reasonable distance. I was driving in the right-hand lane, not exceeding the speed limit, but the car just would not stop when I braked very hard. I had no visible or tactile indication that the ABS had engaged. Thank you for considering my issue.

- The Villages, FL, USA

problem #16

Feb 032010


  • 38,679 miles
I have a 2008 Toyota Prius which I bought new from a dealership in riverhead, NY. The car's braking system seems to temporarily stop working when I try to stop on a slippery or bumpy surface. If I depress the brake pedal forcefully, the car will eventually stop, but the stopping distance is at least 2 to 3 times what it is under other (normal) road conditions. I am a certified nys driver education instructor in my mid 60's and have never run into this situation in any other car model I have ever driven. Please have Toyota investigate this issue as I have narrowly avoided several accidents. I have not had the car checked since I thought I was perhaps just skidding, but today I have read about other drivers experiencing the same braking problem with the 2009 Prius. I believe the problem exists on the 2008 model as well. Please keep me informed of any action I should be taking to ensure the safety of my family and myself.

- Wading River, NY, USA

problem #15

Feb 022010


  • 20,000 miles
I have a 2008 Toyota Prius, and it seems to have an extremely over-aggressive anti-lock brake system. When driving over ice, bumpy roads or even potholes and pressing the brakes, the ABS system disengages the brakes on all wheels if even one of them momentarily slips. This is most egregious when the cause is a bump in the road, as traction is not in question for any of the tires (as it might be on ice). The effect is that the brakes temporarily cease operating, which can lead to dangerous conditions (but no crashes yet).

- Mechanicsville, MD, USA

problem #14

Oct 212008


  • 9,999 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius purchased new. He stated while braking at speeds less than 10 mph, the vehicle would violently jerk forward. This incident was described as, the brakes momentarily failing and attempting to accelerate but then would catch itself.the contact stated the failure occurred over 15-20 times within a year and a half. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer nor were there any recalls for his vehicle. The failure and current mileages were under 10,000.

- Lincoln, MA, USA

problem #13

Apr 162009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. Whenever the contact drives the vehicle during wet conditions and applies the brakes the rear tires will lock and then release without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealership where the contact had the rear brake drums cleaned. The failure is still occuring. The contact has noticed the failure since the day the vehicle was purchased. The current mileage is 46000, failure mileage was 27000. Updated 03/10/10 upadted 08/24/10

- Cowden, IL, USA

problem #12

Jan 222010


  • 42,680 miles
On a few occasions when applying my brake a low speeds it does not apply the brake it seems to lock up the brake but not stop the vehicle. I will release the brake and reapply the brake until I get the desired reaction.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #11

Jan 152009


  • 8,000 miles


Brakes totally failed on 2008 Prius, causing it to crash into car ahead, which in turn was pushed into the car ahead of it. Wife driving, granddaughter in back seat. Reported to Toyota, which investigated and claimed no problem with the brakes. $16000 repair tab. Same syndrome (no brakes) in same car encountered by husband last month (Jan 2010). Accident avoided due to car ahead pulling out. Car taken to Toyota dealer who kept it a week, reported no trouble found.

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #10

Aug 232008

Prius 4-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. While driving 60 mph the front brakes locked on the vehicle. On one occasion the failure almost caused a crash with a heavy truck. After inspecting the vehicle four times, the engineers admitted there was an actual brake problem with the vehicle. However they could not identify the cause of the failure. The current mileage was 94,400. The failure mileage was 22,000. Updated 1/4/10 the brake pads were replaced and the front rotors were machined. Updated 01/06/10.

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #9

Aug 152009


  • 22,700 miles
On my 2008 Toyota Prius, the brake actuator and brake regulator failed first in November 2008-- car was less than 6 months old. In about August 2009, chirping front end noise returned somewhat intermittently-- noise has gotten to the point that it happens repeatedly every time the car is driven. Took car to Toyota dealership to be diagnosed yesterday (10/17/09) and they have determined that it is the brake actuator that has failed again-- twice in less than 1-1/2 years of owning the brand new car. Vehicle mileage as of today is 22,900. They have not fully diagnosed the car and will not look to see if the regulator has also failed again until they replace the actuator. Meanwhile, they've put me back out on the road in this car for a few days until they get the part in. These are multiple failures of components of the anti-lock braking system early in the life of the car. They do not seem concerned about trying to diagnose the true root cause-- what may be causing these parts to fail. The dealer has asked multiple times if this vehicle has been in an accident-- no, it has not. Evidently brake actuator failures is a known problem on the 2004-2007 Prius (Toyota issued a technical service bulletin-- not proactive, but "if a customer complains... here's what to do to fix it"). it seems that no such bulletin has been issued for 2008 model. I'm very concerned that it is not safe to drive this car with two different parts (and maybe others?) of the ABS having failed repeated times. I'm also very concerned about Toyota's cavalier attitude about it.

- Media, PA, USA

problem #8

Sep 292009


  • 7,800 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. While parking the vehicle, the brakes failed. As a consequence, he crashed into a fence. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. Since September 29, 2009 the dealer has had possession of the vehicle, but they haven't identified the cause of the failure. He filed case #0910101726 with the manufacturer. The vehicle identification number was unavailable. The failure mileage 7,800.

- Santa Monica, CA, USA

problem #7

Sep 182009


  • 21,251 miles


2008 Prius hybrid. Brakes failed at low speed on September 19, resulting in a collision with an on-coming car. I was pulling out of a parking lot very slowly when I observed a car making a right turn into the street I was attempting to enter. I immediately applied the brake, with absolutely no response. No one was injured because it was a very slow speed impact. I have consequently read of other drivers' exact same experiences. Toyota has modified their braking system for the 2010 model. From what I can read, the problem lies in the computer system which has trouble deciding which system to use, resulting in a delay which causes a collision.

- Brighton, MI, USA

problem #6

Jul 292008


  • 100 miles
Every time we step on and off the brake there is a grinding noise. I have visited 2 dealerships to help identify the problem at least 7 Toyota people have verified the noise but are unable to determine the cause. The local rep originally said I hear it, don't know what it is and therefore cannot fix it. After I contacted their corporate hqs in ca he now says it is a normal noise.without explaining cause. This is a 2008 Prius vehicle. Friends who have 2005,2007 and 2009 Prius' do not have this noise. It is a life threatening problem until the cause is determined. Since it involves the brakes. I have a detailed list of all the actions I have taken, which individuals verified the noise and the individuals I have spoken to concerning this problem. Is it a faulty electric motor or controller between gas and electric motor" this vehicle uses the electric motor as part of the braking system. Did the vehicle design put a noise in 2008 and take it out in 2009" please help me have Toyota examine the vehicle and determine the cause of the noise and fix it. Please help before someone gets hurt. Fred zivitofsky

- Lake Worth, FL, USA

problem #5

May 182009


  • 10,000 miles
No brakes, 2008 Toyota Prius with only 10,000 miles. Failed sensor.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #4

Sep 102008


  • 2,200 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the brakes on her vehicle were highly sensitive. When she barely depressed the brake pedal, the vehicle would come to a complete stop. There were four warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. Once the indicators illuminated, the contact depressed the brake pedal and discovered it was soft. The pedal then extended to the floorboard. The vehicle was taken to the dealer six times for replacements, but the failures could not be duplicated. The brake actuator was replaced, but this did not correct the failure. While driving less than 15 mph, the vehicle came to a sudden stop without the contact touching the brake pedal. She then turned on the emergency lights and depressed the accelerator pedal until the vehicle responded. The failure mileage was 2,200 and current mileage was 8,800.

- Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

problem #3

Feb 032009


  • 3,382 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. While driving in stop and go traffic at 15 mph, the vehicle would not slow down when the brake pedal was depressed. The contact crashed into the preceding vehicle. There were no injuries, but a police report was filed. Through online research, he discovered that there is an ongoing issue with the Prius' electric brakes. The dealer stated that water may have entered into the electric brake system and caused the malfunction. The current and failure mileages were 3382 updated 4/14/09 updated 04/17/09.

- Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #2

Jul 192008


  • miles
While coming to a stop at a red light, another car changed lanes in front of us. My husband pressed on the brakes harder to stop faster, the car did not continue to stop and instead continue to accelerate into the car that had changed into our lane causing us to rear end the car in front of us. Since then we have had the car serviced and they say the brakes are fine. The car still will not slow any faster if the brakes are pressed harder and often the ABS will engaged as we come to a stop causing the car to jerk to a stop.

- Santa Clarita, CA, USA

problem #1

Sep 262008


  • 3,500 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. While driving approximately 25 mph, the vehicle failed to stop when the brake pedal was depressed. The contact rear ended the preceding vehicle. No passengers were injured. A police report was filed. The vehicle was towed to the dealer and the mechanic stated that the brakes were not defective. The manufacturer has not been notified. The current and failure mileages were 3,500.

- Austin, TX, USA

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