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 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #38

Dec 122009


  • 40,000 miles


When I go over a railroad track or large bumps the braking system of my Prius stops operating for a moment.

- Savannah, GA, USA

problem #37

Jan 202009


  • miles
I have a 2009 Prius, and the brakes seem to disengage when going over a bump or pothole. I notice it everytime, in particular when exiting the freeway, if there are bumps on the off ramp.

- Woodland Hills, CA, USA

problem #36

Jan 032010


  • 0 miles
2009 Toyota Prius vehicle slid into intersection, no collision occurred. Approx 3 ft past stop point. During moderate to hard braking, if a wheel hits sand or a pothole, the "traction control" system engages, causing the brakes to release for approx.25 to.75 second. It is very unnerving (to say the least) to be out of control of my vehicle. It is also repeatable when accelerating on a short entrance ramp around a corner. This ramp is very uneven. The traction control engages and the car seems to steer straight, towards the outside of the curve. I spoke to the dealer about the issue, and was told that the vehicle is behaving normally, and there is no way for an operator to disable the traction control. I thought I would have to live with this, and assumed it was something about this vehicle... but now with the investigation on 2010 I am wondering if my report is similar and if the investigation should be expanded to include 2009.

- Lincoln, RI, USA

problem #35

Sep 152009


  • 18,000 miles


I wish to report a breaking problem with my 1999 Toyota Prius. This occured in about Sept. 2009. I have a 2009 Toyota Prius that had about 18,000 miles on it at the time of this failure. I had just pulled out of a gas station (for gas only) when I got a number of warning lights on the dash board. (about 4 as I recall) all the warnings were either tire of break related warnings. I immediately noticed a big problem with the breaks. Only maximum foot presure would actuate the breaks and then they would grab very hard. Fortunately, the local Toyota dealer was just around the corner, so I carefully limpped the car in. No damage or accident was caused by this failure. Toyota did fix the problem the next day and reported that the front breaks had stopped working and only the rear beaks were stopping the car. If I recall the fix correctly, they replaced some part called the "break actuator" since then, no problem has been noted

- San Rafael, CA, USA

problem #34

Nov 282009


  • 125 miles
I am an owner of a 2009 Prius. I have experienced from day one, an issue when braking over a bump or pothole in the road. The brakes do not grasp. A picture of a swirving car appears on the monitor of the car showing out of control vehicle. This appears to be the same problem as the 2010 recall. Please recall all affected Prius' which now include 2009.

- Encino, CA, USA

problem #33

Nov 152009


  • 18,000 miles
I own a 2009 Prius and I have noticed numerous times when I am driving at a slow rate of speed and I hit a bump, I lose control of the car for a split second. It seems the brakes lose traction. When this happens, I notice a orange light on the dash lights up for a second.

- Port Orange, FL, USA

problem #32

Nov 282009


  • miles


I have a 2009 Prius. I've been complaining to friends and family, since I got it about six months ago, about its instability when I go over small bumps and ruts in the road. The car seems to surge ahead, swerve a bit, and lose contact with the ground. The other major problem is the car's horrible traction on wet highways. If I'm traveling over 45 M.P.H., my car begins to hydroplane. The experience is unnerving. I've never driven a car that feels so unsafe and that makes me feel such a lack of confidence, and I've been driving for 35 years. Plus, during the last snowstorm, when I put my Prius in park on a slight incline on the road in front of my home, the car slid about 20 feet, in park. I had to put on the emergency brake to stop. It slides all over the road, in snow. I hate this car and wish I'd never bought it. I believe that its merits were misrepresented. Despite the chosen date that you've required me to enter, unfortunately these problems are ongoing.

- Swampscott, MA, USA

problem #31

Feb 052009


  • 17,000 miles
Toyota Prius II brake issues. I have a 2009 Prius that exhibit similar braking problems as the recalled 2010 Prius. When I'm coming to a stop and hit a bumpy patch, the brakes will release momentarily. The release is for a second resulting in the car traveling 3 feet before I have to apply additional pressure to the brakes. This could easily mean a fender bender if I'm a bit closer to the vehicle in front of me. It is especially an issue when stopping down hill which is not uncommon here in seattle. I bought my car (brand new) in spring of 2009. I've always noticed the problem but thought it was just the nature of the hybrid drive. My concern is that this may worsen with the age of the car. Please advise. I would hate to see this issue disregarded.

- Shoreline, WA, USA

problem #30

Jan 082010


  • 26,000 miles
Snow covered road, was braking for stop sign, went over manhole cover, ABS (electronic stability control) kicked in, lost braking for about three feet.

- New York Mills, NY, USA

problem #29

Dec 162009


  • 16,000 miles
2009 Toyota Prius. Strange behavior of antilock brakes/traction control system when hitting a single pothole or small patch of ice on otherwise clear road surface. Vehicle significantly dampens brake response and does not recognize that the tires are now on a good contact surface and continues to be in tc mode for excessive time period. Only way to assure you will stop within reasonable distance is to lift up on brake pedal and redepress (now out of tc mode car will stop quickly). This problem presents itself regularly when road conditions are right. The problem is the most noticeable at moderately low speeds I would estimate 5-25 mph but likely occurs at higher speeds which is less noticeable. It seems to be a factor of distance or the fact that the car does not realize the wheel is getting traction again.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #28

Feb 052010


  • 21,000 miles


I own a 2009 Toyota Prius and I have experienced the same issue as the reported 2010 brakes. When I drive over pot holes or street covers, my vehicle feels like it's out of control. What is the difference between the braking system in the 2010 with the 2009 models?

- Midland Park, NJ, USA

problem #27

Dec 202009

Prius 4-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
2009 Toyota Prius - delayed braking has been experienced several times. Seems to be related to hard braking. It only last about a second but is very unlike any other car I have driven. I had passed it off as just something weird but then I heard others describe it on the tv and I said that happened to me too!" as a safety engineer in the aerospace industry, it does seem to be related to the delay from switching from regular braking to hydraulic braking...sometimes it seems to switch in a weird way.

- South Windsor, CT, USA

problem #26

Jan 282010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
I have read about the brake issues with the gen 3 2010 Toyota Prius. My gen 2 2009 Prius has the exact same issues with brakes releasing after driving over a pothole. I can demonstrate this issue to anyone at will any day of the week. It is quite easy to reproduce. There is a pothole near my work that I drive over often and there is a traffic light shortly after the pothole. If the light changes and the car in front of me brakes for the light, I have come very close to crashing into the car in front of me several times. I have learned to leave an extra amount of space between me and the car in front to allow for this situation. But that only works for potholes that I know are there. A new or unknown pothole is still a danger. This really needs to be fixed as I said, I can demonstrate this issue at will to anyone who doesn't believe it.

- Hudson, NH, USA

problem #25

Feb 042010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
I own a 2009 Toyota Prius and am experiencing the same problem with braking that the 2010 Prius' are having. When braking on an uneven or bumpy surface, it seems like there is a momentary pause or hesitation.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #24

Mar 052009

Prius 4-cyl

  • 1,800 miles
My 2009 pruis had a braking problem I took it back to dealer I told them I thought it was a software problem and it caused my car to spin out on a wet road it is fixed now and has not done it again.

- Stone Mountain, GA, USA

problem #23

Dec 182009

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
The problem is that our 2009 Prius at times seems to accelerate momentarily when the brakes are applied. My wife and I drove this car for eleven months and didn't realize we had a problem until I had to drive the car during the start of the snow storm with 2" of snow. I was going down a hill that I have driven on in different cars a number of times in the snow. With the Prius, everytime I applied brakes to keep the car at slow speed, it seemed to accelerate a bit before the brakes would work, thereby causing the rear of the car to slide sideways. The loss of control was of great concern to me (I had my wife and granddaughter in the car). So I inched down the hill. A considerable number of cars backed up behind our car. Since then I have noticed the momentary acceleration before breaking on a number of occasions in dry weather as well.. today, I took the car into newark Toyota world in Delaware and explained the problem to them, including the service manager. They drove the car and said they ran the diagnostics but couldn't find the problem. I am sorry but, to me, that's not satisfactory because neither my wife nor I trust this car in inclement weather. Someone should look into this problem before something serious happens.

- Avondale, PA, USA

problem #22

Jan 222010


  • 12,000 miles
When braking on rough road, like when you hit a small pothole, our 2009 Toyota Prius handles improperly. The "slip indicator" light flashes. It briefly feels like there is a loss of control.

- Honolulu, HI, USA

problem #21

Jul 062009


  • 26,500 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that whenever the brake pedal was engaged while decreasing the speed driven, the vehicle lunged forward and accelerated. The dealer advised the contact that when the electrical engine switched to the gasoline engine it was normal for the vehicle to lunge forward. The contact stated that the malfunction occurs frequently when the brake pedal was engaged. The dealer has not diagnosed the failure. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 26,500.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #20

Jan 152010


  • 13,500 miles
I own a 2009 Prius, purchased April 2009. I have more than once, if braking in a section of bumpy road or on slick surfaces (such as in snow or ice), experienced the car jerking forward/accelerating for a split second. It almost seems to stutter as if the ABS brakes are engaging, but doesn't feel like they are working. I thought it was my inexperience with the braking system and computer software in the Prius, but I am realizing now that it could possibly be a potential safety issue for me.

- Chelmsford, MA, USA

problem #19

Dec 142009


  • 6,300 miles
The braking problem that has been reported in the 2010 Prius is not limited to that model year. I have a 2009 (2nd generation) Prius and I have at times experienced the same slight braking problem when going over a bump or a railroad track.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

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