really awful
Crashes / Fires:
9 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 1
Average Mileage:
12,720 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.

2009 Toyota Prius brakes problems

brakes problem

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2009 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #58

Mar 032010


  • 1,000 miles


2009 Toyota Prius: When driving over pot-holes, bumps, or uneven patches of road at all different speeds, the car's "traction light" will flash and the car will momentarily surge forward. It seems at this time that the brakes also temporarily lose power. This happens several times a week. This worries me as I feel this could lead to car accidents or put pedestrians in danger. Spoke with many other Prius owners and they report the same problem. Contacted the dealership where I bought the car and the service manager told me this was a "normal function" of the ABS. I still feel this is a safety issue that is not being properly addressed. I've driven many other cars with ABS and none of them behaved this erratically.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #57

Feb 152009


  • 250 miles
The contact owns 2010 Toyota Prius. While driving 25 mph in the rain or turning a corner the tire warning light illuminated and the brakes would not engage. She will take the vehicle to the dealer to be diagnosed. The failure mileage was 250. The current mileage was 900.

- Fairburn , GA, USA

problem #56

Nov 212009


  • 9,719 miles
Multiple issues with 2009 Prius. First: Loss of air pressure in front left tire from time I picked up the vehicle to present. I continually need to put air in the tire, usually on a weekly/bi-weekly basis. The other tires are fine. Second: For the same tire, the tire pressure light would not be triggered until ~23 pounds, should have been triggered in same tire at 33 lbs. Third: Vehicle would not stop when applying pressure on brakes at slow speed. This has occurred about 6 times in a 6 month period. Simultaneously, the vsc light went on and the slid indicator went on. The terrain was on either asphalt or concrete roads, slightly downhill (concrete) and one street is a bit rough (filled in pot holes). Also, both areas are within a quarter mile of each other and near the ocean. With each occurrence the vsc went into effect. On 11/21/09 it jolted hard much more than the other occasions; this date was the incident on the bridge when the car was going in a slight downward direction. I lost control of the vehicle for several seconds and was afraid that I would hit the car in front of me; I beeped my horn to warn the driver in front of me. My vehicle did stop in time but it took alot longer than it should have taken. On a later occasion, I was going about 5-10 mph faster on a nearby street and attempted to stop for a stop sign and it did the same thing, however the vsc did not jolt back as hard. The vehicle was not angled down as much as the 11/21/09 incident. On 11/21/09 I took the vehicle to cabe Toyota dealership and they looked at the car but found nothing wrong with it. I also had the car looked at by Toyota Corp today and was told that the driver feels that I felt the ABS brakes only. This is not the case. When I stepped on the brakes each occasion it was as though there was nothing there and I had no control in stopping it. This was especially true when the vsc kicked in (the jerking). Each time it lasted many, several or more seconds.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #55

Oct 102009


  • 28,000 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Prius. The contact was driving approximately 25 mph on an uneven road. Suddenly, when pressure was applied to the brake pedal there was a temporary delay of braking power. The vehicle was able to continue in normal operation. The failure occurred whenever encountering an uneven road surface. The vehicle has not been inspected for the malfunction. The failure mileage was 28,000.

- Leawood, KS, USA

problem #54

Jan 052010


  • 22,000 miles
I have had more than 10 occasions of braking problems with my 2009 Prius. Most recently, in January 2010, but also prior to that. After the last problem, I called the local dealership to see if a brake recall existed but was told "no" only recall for floormats on my model. The issue has occurred on pavement and gravel road, in school zone, traveling at less than 20 mph. When slowly pulling up to stop sign and applying even break pressure the car will suddenly come to a jolting stop before the anticipated stop. All the kids in the car look at me like I'm crazy for making their heads suddenly hit the back of the seat. Fortunately, no one has been driving closely behind me during these abrupt stops. I am very familiar with the feel of this vehicle, as this is my 3rd Prius and I drive many miles.

- Livingston, TX, USA

problem #53

Nov 092009


  • 7,050 miles
Three events describe safety incidents concerning the brakes in my 2009 Prius; 1) descending a ramp onto rock creek pkwy at calvert street, Washington, DC, where road flattened out, car in front stopped abruptly on a dry surface. I responded quickly, applying the brake with hard, lasting pressure.the car slowed but not to match the pressure on the brakes I was applying--I had the pedal to the floor. The car coasted smoothly, seemingly slowly to a stop, terrifyingly about 1 inch from the stopped car. The brakes did not grip sufficiently but miraculously I avoided a crash. 2) at times when I go over a bump in my Prius and hit the brakes, the car "kicks" and jumps to the right or to the left or a bit ahead. This is not an unusual occurrence and happens mostly on dry road surfaces 3) I was descening a very slight incline on a city street--reno road. The road was partially damp from a shower an hour or two before, but not puddle. I was going about 28 mph. The car ahead stopped abruptly because the traffic light at tilden turned yellow. I hit the brakes and the rear of the car bucked a bit and then slid into the left lane. Luckily there was no one in that lane and I was able to regain my position in the lane in which I'd been traveling. 15 seconds earlier and I would have hit someone in the left lane. Nb--on this form I am not sure I chose the right type of brakes. I have regular Prius 2009 brakes in my car and I do not know if they are known as hydraulic brakes.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #52

Mar 052009


  • 7,000 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Prius. While approaching an intersection the contact tried to apply the brakes and stop the vehicle. The contact stated that he was driving approximately 15 miles per hour when the brakes did not engage. The contact crashed into a vehicle in front of him. The VIN was not available. The failure mileages were 7,000. The current mileages were 21,000.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #51

Jan 012010


  • 100 miles
2009 Prius (not 2010). When applying brakes on bumpy surface, brakes will momentarily stop working. Occurs all the time.

- Brookline, MA, USA

problem #50

Feb 132010


  • 10,000 miles
2009 Toyota Prius my 2009 exhibits similar braking issues to those being recalled on the 2010. At least weakly during slow braking over a bump, pothole, or damp surface, the "slip" indicator comes on and the car lurches forward for approximately one second.

- Wellesley Hills, MA, USA

problem #49

Feb 182009

Prius 4-cyl

  • 480 miles
We bought a 2009 Prius on 2/14/09. On 2/18/09 while driving 25mph on a local road during light snowfall, the brakes failed. To avoid hitting the car in front of her, my wife steered into the curb sustaining extensive damage to the wheel, axle, and undercarriage. The car was towed to our local Toyota dealership. They found nothing wrong with the braking system and maintained the accident was her fault. A few months later we experienced another brake failure incident, this time without any accident as we were traveling at a slow speed and were able to decelerate by turning up an empty incline. Again the dealership maintains there is no problem. Since they can't find anything wrong with the brakes when they test them, they say there is nothing to fix. We speculate that there is a computer software problem, but Toyota is not yet acknowledging that this is the case for the 2009 model. Updated 04/19/10

- Larchmont, NY, USA

problem #48

Mar 122009


  • 100 miles


I live on a dirt road 2 miles long with 1 mile uphill. I bought my new 2009 Prius on March 10th 2009 and on March 12th could not drive out. Going up the hill when ever the drive wheel slipped the traction control would brake the wheel until, with many brief braking, the Prius came to a stop. I was unable to go forward and had to back down the hill till I could find a place to turn around. This created a very dangerous situation. I had the car towed out and Toyota checked it and said all systems were working properly. I asked for an off switch and they said impossible. When I came home the same thing happened again and was towed out and again Toyota refused to deal with it. I went to arbitration and presented my information along with articles I found on the Consumer Affairs website about this same problem affecting people all over the nation, some with bad results, especially on ice, stranding them, in intersections. Toyota said this was not covered in the warranty so all my information and my case were totally disregarded. This is the same thing that has happened to others with the same problem. Toyota refuses to acknowledge the problem or add an off switch. I also called the manufactures of all other hybrid or electric cars with traction control and they either have an off switch or offer one just for this reason. I was lucky that my road association spent $16,000 on the road shortly after this happened but as the road is deteriorating and there wont be enough money for several years I may be stuck again in the future. Every other car can get up the road, even at its worst, including a 2003 Prius without traction control. This happened again on another dirt road but I was able to get out thru the use of ropes and rocks and a shovel. Is there anything you can do to help as I don't want to hire an attorney to follow through. Thank you

- Chico, CA, USA

problem #47

Feb 132010


  • miles
Momentary brake failure when driving over potholes. Also, brakes are "grabby" at very low speeds. Both conditions have existed for several months. Nothing has been done to correct the problems.

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #46

Nov 152008


  • 12,000 miles
2009 Toyota Prius, brakes do not hold on uneven pavement or icy roads. You lose contact with the road which is very dangerous. The first time I noticed the icy road problem was November 2008, and the uneven lane/washboard road problem was in the summer of 2009. It was mentioned to the dealership but since they could not duplicate the problem no repairs were made.

- Parker, CO, USA

problem #45

Aug 152009


  • 3,000 miles
While driving on a wet city road, the car in front of me stopped abruptly. When I applied my brakes, my car was over railroad tracks. Initially the brakes didn't respond and my car didn't slow down. I didn't hear anti-lock or other brake noises. After a 2-3 second delay, the brakes began to work normally. Had the brakes delayed much longer, I may have collided with car in front of me. I have about 6,000 miles on the car, and this is the only incident when the brakes didn't respond as expected.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #44

Feb 092010


  • 11,850 miles
On a daily basis, my 2009 Toyota Prius loses control, skids, (the traction light goes on), fishtails and has brake failures on ice and snow. When I hit potholes or big bumps, the car accelerates and I have to quickly brake. The northbrook Toyota service manager drove it today. The car lost control, skidded, the traction light went on, it fishtailed, and the brakes failed on the ice and snow. His comment was "that's the way the car is. It doesn't drive well on ice and snow". we couldn't find a good pothole for the car to demonstrate the acceleration today. I was told by an automechanic that works on our other cars that the 2009 and 2010 Prius have problems with their brakes. Presently there is no recall for the 2009 Prius. I am afraid I am going to kill someone at an intersection when I can't stop. Yesterday I had 2 catholic nuns in the car and the car failed to turn left at an intersection, almost fishtailing into an embankment before it righted itself. A Lexus SUV behind me almost hit me while trying to avoid me. I am hoping that no lives will be lost, or severe injuries occur, before these problems are acknowledged by Toyota and fixed.

- Northfield, IL, USA

problem #43

Oct 252009


  • 15,000 miles
I bought my 2009 Prius in April 2009. I have been having the same brake slipping problem that the 2010's are being recalled for. I have had my car to the dealership three times to have this problem addressed. Each time it was no fault found and "gosh these brakes are complicated and you would have an idiot light go off if there was a problem". I am feeling very unsafe with this vehicle and want to know when my software will be updated.

- Grantville, PA, USA

problem #42

Jul 012009


  • miles
When driving my 2009 Prius in either wet or snowy conditions, I've noticed that the car "skips"/doesn't hold the braking when I apply my foot steadily to the brake pedal. I've noticed this in wet conditions from the time of purchase, in June 2009, and again more recently in snow. I've wound up not driving the Prius when the roads are either wet or snowy now, but obviously have been caught in these conditions when rain or snow started while I was on the road. It is not a safe feeling to feel the car slipping.

- Madison, CT, USA

problem #41

Jan 152010


  • 5,400 miles
Toyota 2009 Prius brake problem 15 Jan. 2010 I took my 2009 Prius to lakeland Toyota (my dealer), lakeland Florida, usa 33880. The brakes had gone all the way to the floor. They have a maintenance record of the event. At the time they could not find any mechanical problems in the brake. I was driving on a rough road on a cold day just prior to the brake failure. Please expand the Prius recall to include the 2009 year.

- Auburndale, FL, USA

problem #40

May 212009


  • 1,000 miles
Last may, I purchased a 2009 Toyota Prius. For some time now, I have been aware of braking issues that sound eerily similar to what is being described with the 2010 Prius recalls. I have not reported anything until now because I was able to identify when the problem occurred, and adjust my driving accordingly. Whenever I hit the brake pedal, while simultaneously going over rough, bumpy, or potholed areas of road...my "slippery road conditions" light flashes momentarily on my dashboard. Additionally, it almost feels as though the car accelerates in that split second, but as long as I keep my foot on the brake pedal, I have always been able to stop the car. I make sure to keep adequate space between my car and the cards in front of me, but if I ever had to stop too quickly on road conditions such as I have described above I am certain that I would crash into the other car before my brakes actually took over. I am simply reporting this issue because I wonder if, despite Toyota's claim that only the 2010 model is being affected, other year models of the Prius are having issues as well. I am entering an approximate incident date below, however, I really can't pick just one. This has happened on a multitude of occasions since I purchased the car in may of 2009.

- Lebanon, PA, USA

problem #39

Dec 062009


  • miles
2009 Toyota Prius while driving on uneven pavement or icy roads, when depressing the brake pedal the car slides and it feels as if you are losing control over the car. This happens on any uneven surface like speed bumps and or wash board roads, and during the winter months for icy roads. I have an appointment with Toyota in Colorado to fix since it is still under warranty but they say no recall has been initiated on the 2009 model.

- Parker, CO, USA

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