really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
23,495 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 #20

Feb 082008


  • 50,000 miles


2008 Prius which experiences momentary loss of braking on rough roads or surfaces which cause the feeling of a loss of braking momentarily.

- Raymond, MS, USA

problem #19

Feb 012008


  • 18 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota Prius and I have been experiencing the same braking as the issues as the recent 2010 recall since I have owned the car brand new. When coming to a stop on a semi rough road (all the time) the cars brakes stutter and the antilock engages and dis-engages creating the car to not have proper braking control. Nothing has been done to correct the issue.

- Fairfield, OH, USA

problem #18

Feb 042010


  • 34,250 miles
The car's anti-lock brakes fail to engage when the traction control kicks in. Thus, the car slides forward uncontrollably. I have avoided accidents only by swerving. Additionally, the traction control will activate when on dry pavement. Thus, normal stopping can be difficult if the car's traction control is activated (typically due to a bump/pothole).

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #17

Jun 072008


  • 0 miles


With the brake pedal engaged, the brakes shut off temporarily while the traction control light is on. This failure occurs daily when I approach the stop sign in my neighborhood. As a approach the stop sign (brakes engaged), the road dips slightly which turns on the traction control. At this point the brakes turn off (with my foot still on the pedal) until the traction control light goes out indicating that the traction control has disengaged. So far I have been lucky and have not hit anyone after rolling through the stop sign. This is not a new problem as it has happened basically every day since I bought the vehicle. I have been dealing with it until I saw the notice about the 2010 Prius with exactly the same problem. I would like to submit a formal complaint so that the 2010 Prius brake investigation can be expanded to include the 2008 Prius.

- West Kingston, RI, USA

problem #16

Feb 082010


  • 500 miles
2008 Toyota Prius touring version. Since buying the car is 12/07, I have noticed several problems. When slowing, if gas engine kicks off it is harder to brake (minor). When going over bumps (I.e, railroad tracks, rutted roads), brakes don't seem to work even when pressed hard (moderate problem). I make sure guy in front is far away from tracks before proceding. In snow (>4") car will stall - cannot spin tires (medium) so can't get the car to move without having to dig it out. Website (priuschat.com) says this is overly aggressive traction control which protects hybrid components. Doesn't help when in traffic and stall out. Major problem - if quickly accelerating, engine will lose power with fast plummet in mph. Feels like the engine has died. Eventually with catch after it feels like it has stalled and will jerk and then slowly accelerate again. If acceleterating to avoid being hit this makes the situation much worse. I believe that the root of all of these problems is either traction control of vsc. Yellow icon flashes on dashboard when brake power lost on bumpy roads. Slipping of tires during fast acceleration or in snow causes car to stall. All events happened multiple times (multiple times from 500 to 36000 miles). Search dustyhuskie on priuschat for details. Figured that I would have to live with the problem and get used to it.

- Plainfield, IL, USA

problem #15

Nov 222008


  • 12,800 miles
Brakes release at stops where only slight road conditions exist and here there should be complete braking. I have found this happens at numerous times during the period I have owned my 2008 Prius. I believe there are valid concerns with this vehicles brake system that need to be acknowledged and addressed by the manufacturer.

- Lititz, PA, USA

problem #14

Feb 282008


  • 15 miles


1) the even happens during normal braking from 40 mph over a road with potholes. The location is here: maps.google.com/?ie=utf8&hq=&hnear=cleveland, +cass, +Missouri&ll=38.67887, -94.675729&spn=0.00139,0.00284&Z=19 2) the car loses all braking for 1-2 seconds after running over the pothole. If somebody was in front of me, it would result in a accident. It happens 5 days a week as part of my daily commute. 3) Toyota says it is normal for the Prius to do this.

- Cleveland, MO, USA

problem #13

Feb 052010


  • 38,000 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota Prius. I've noticed that when I run over a bump or a pothole on the road, the car seems to accelerate or jolt forward. It happens while I brake to a stop sign and run over a bump or pothole. It has also happened while letting go of the gas pedal but not stepping on the brake. Usually when this occurs the light for the traction control engages as if it detects a skid, even though there is no skid. I have to press the brake very hard in order to stop or slow down the car. I tend to leave extra room in front of me just in case the car accelerates unexpectedly, but there is definitely a problem with unexplained acceleration.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #12

Feb 052010


  • 58,055 miles
I just reported the brake problem for this car, but there's also a problem with the tcs. When trying to accelerate on slick surfaces there is a momentary loss of traction resulting in an overly-long compensated period of seriously reduced acceleration; this has caused safety problems in intersections, where I am unable to quickly accelerate out of the way if conditions are slick or sandy, it is so unsafe that I wish I could turn off the traction control system..

- Hubbardston, MA, USA

problem #11

Feb 052009


  • 31,000 miles
This is for a 2008 Toyota Prius. This problem occurs during normal daily/routine driving, and occurs almost daily. Problem: While braking, if I encounter any non-smooth surfaces (small pot hole, slight gravel, etc) or while braking and turning--the braking pressure/force momentarily releases for about a 1/2 second, and is immediately followed by a flashing ABS light. When this occurs, the car also momentarily lunges forward due to having no braking force. On 4 occasions I almost ended up into cross traffic at an intersection. This has occurred since I first owned the car back in July 2009 and is not a recent development. This same problem occurred today during my commute to work on wintry mx weather roads, but I did not have any near collisions. No repairs or work has been performed on my car to fix this problem. I assumed this problem was inherent to hybrids, but in light of recent Prius braking problems on the news, I felt it was my duty to report that my 2008 Prius does have a braking issue.

- Belleville, IL, USA

problem #10

Jan 242010


  • 49,000 miles


I am an owner of a 2008 Toyota Prius. I have also experienced the braking problems that have been associated with the 2010 model. When hitting a bump in the road or an uneven part of the road, the brakes will not take hold and the vehicle seems to accelerate or jerk forward. Also the anti-lock brake light flashes.

- Swansea, IL, USA

problem #9

Apr 202008

Prius 4-cyl

  • 100 miles
I have a 2008 Prius that has the same problem as that reported with the 2010. Every time I brake on a rippled or bumpy surface, there is a repeated momentary loss of braking. On a certain downhill stretch of road near me, it happened every time I drove it, until it was resurfaced. Another problem is that if the vehicle is on an inclined surface of crushed rock, there is a complete loss of power. The dealer describes this as an "overly sensitive traction control system" that cannot be adjusted. This is also hazardous because on slick surfaces, each momentary loss of traction results in an overly-compensated period of seriously reduced acceleration; we have been sitting ducks in intersections, unable to quickly accelerate out of the way if conditions are slick, not because of the surface itself, but because of the way the vehicle mis-handles the situation.

- Edgewood, KY, USA

problem #8

Jan 032010


  • 45,000 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota Prius and it also has a problem when braking while driving over a rough surface or pot holes. The traction control light comes on and there is a 1-2 second delay before the real brakes kick in. I have learned to be aware of this issue and press the brakes harder until the brakes start to work.

- Joppa, MD, USA

problem #7

Jan 152010


  • 25,000 miles
I wanted to include my voice in the recent complaints about the Toyota Prius brakes. I have a 2008 Prius and have experienced the same issue several times- the brakes seem to stop working and the slick-road warning light comes on when I go over a big bump or pothole while braking. Braking comes right back, but I can imagine this might be a bigger issue if there was a vehicle right in front of me, in inclement weather, etc. I have heard people only mention the 2010 Prius model year, so I wanted to let someone know that the 2008 Prius also seems to be affected... thank you.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #6

Jan 102010


  • 2,000 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota Prius. I bought it new 4/12/08 in bend, Oregon I live in madras, Oregon. The problem has happened 3 times, it happens on packed snow slick conditions. It happened 2 times making 90 deg turns at 20 mph, I slow down into a right turn and half way thru I touch the gas and the car starts to slide and it will not come out of it. 1st time I hit the curb on the left side of road and went clear up on sidewalk. It did damage to left front tire. 2nd time same turn but there was now side walk I went off the road. 3rd time I was going into a left hand turn normal conditions would have been a easy 55 mph corner. With packed snow I was going about 30 mph I slowed into the turn and half way thru I touched the gas pedal and it instantly went into a slide and hit the snow bank on the right hand side and knocked me back into the road. On the Prius when you step on the gas and the tires start to spin it stops the tires from spinning instantly. If you hold the gas pedal the same it will start and stop power to the wheels until it gets to the point of no spinning of the tires. I think that when I touch the gas and the tire spins it instantly stops the tire from spinning and the car goes into a slide and it will not let me control the slide because the tires are still in the lock mode and it slides out of control. I do not want to drive the car on slick roads but I don't want to sell it and have someone else get in a wreck because of the problem. I am going to try and contact Toyota and tell them.

- Madras, OR, USA

problem #5

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 #4

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 #3

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 #2

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 #1

Jan 262009


  • 10 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota Prius and from the day I drove it off the lot its had braking problems. I have always just assumed the car was useless in bad weather because the smallest amount of rain or snow seemed to prevent me from braking. I would begin to slow down and if the car noticed a tire slide even an inch it would seem to activate the traction control and the break would release. I thought this was some sort of horribly designed safety device to prevent hydroplanning. But I've been paying more attention to when my brakes release and it's anytime I slow down and hit a pot hole, or slow down for a dip. The moment the tires lose any contact/friction on the road the brakes stop working. So far it's been most dangerous when turning onto side streets or into parking lots with a bump or dip. If a car is coming out of the same driveway I'm slowing to enter I have to "pump" my brakes when I turn so I don't hit the other car. It's much worse in any snow/rain. It's almost as though when I begin to slide a little and the brake releases it actually accelerates. The brakes give out on a daily basis, this is not rare or insignificant. This has got to be a manufacturing error with the braking system it's just so consistently faulty.

- South Salt Lake, UT, USA

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