really awful
Crashes / Fires:
5 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
20,476 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.

2010 Toyota Prius brakes problems

brakes problem

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2010 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #31

Sep 022015


  • 50,394 miles


All the lights on the dash associated with antilock brakes, traction control, brake are on. The braking has changed and does not slow the car as fast as it used to, almost hit the car in front the first time I drove it with the lights on that morning. Car has 50,394 miles on it, noticed all the lights on when started car in morning, brakes appeared to work normally when backed out of driveway, but at higher speed stops the car travels a lot farther and takes a lot more effort to stop.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #30

Feb 212016


  • 187,000 miles
Brake booster pump assembly vehicle in motion when on highway when loss of breaking and steering took place. Vehicle lighted icons appeared on dash along with alarm sound. (ABS) (!) (brake) (ss). This unsafe condition could have been avoided if NHTSA would have forced Toyota to recall this defective part in 2013 when Toyota notified NHTSA of the defective braking system. Or Toyota mailed notice to customers as stated back in 2013, which prevention could prevent loss of life or harm. Or class action. www-ODI.NHTSA.dot.gov/acms/cs/jaxrs/download/doc/ucm442011/rcmn-13V235-0909.pdf

- Ranson, WV, USA

problem #29

Dec 212015


  • 10 miles
Car would not drive, or reverse it shifts to neutral since first week I bought the car in Aug 2010. I bought a Toyota Prius III 2010 (from the dealership Toyota of kearney mesa in san diego) in 2010. The car from the beginning would shift back to neutral when I set it to drive or reverse. I bought the car and am the only owner). After I encounter this, within the week I took it to the dealership where I bought it (san diego kearny mesa) and they told me that it was not a problem. Yes, it was a problem and they refused to fix it. This has happen to my car from week 1. now 5 years later, today, the car would not engage in "D" or reverse. I tried at least for 10 minutes. I called a dealership now in seattle (since I take my car here for service) and I was told that they never heard about it. I searched online and I found that this problem/bug does happen. Today I could not set my car to drive or reverse for about 10-15 minutes. It's a safety issue. My steps: 1. depress power button (to turn on) 1.1. wait about 5-10 seconds 2. depress the break + engage in D (drive) or (R) reverse. 3. the car goes to "N" neutral and cannot be put in gear drive or reverse. 4. turn car off. Go back to step 1 until your car engages.

- Issaquah, WA, USA

problem #28

Jun 252014


  • 50,000 miles


Was traveling about 65 mph on route 11 in ct when red lights come on and car slows to 20 mph.pulle to side of road and called aaa/towed to hartford Toyota in hartford ct. First told it was a hybrid battery then told it was the inverter which they said is on back order. Now I, M getting the run around from the main office in California.. brought car in for a recall on software update in Feb 2014 and from what I read this may cause the invert to fail thanks for your attention in this matter.

- Newington, CT, USA

problem #27

Jan 062014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
Ever since acquiring this vehicle earlier this year, I have been experiencing loss of breaking for a second every time I hit a pothole and bumpy spot. It happens every other time. Upon goggling this problem, I learned that the problem was first reported to NHTSA way back in 2009. But I do not see any recalls related to this problem. Your website says you have received about 33 complains. Unless I missed something, is there any status report from Toyota or the recall that specifically addresses this problem? also, I live in the East coast, specifically in NJ. We had a brutal winter this year. In one incident, I was driving up a slightly elevated road (barely 2--5% incline) in a 25mph residential road with slightly slippery road (not really black ice per SE). I loss control and traction control lite up and started beeping. While trying to bring the car in control, my car ended up on the other side (thankfully there were no vehicles parked on the other side or any oncoming vehicles) and then shifted to the right but finally managed to bring it back in control. Other misc information: I learned about a recall earlier this year related to ECU board programming update from the news media (since I was a new owner, Toyota probably didn't have my information so never got recall notice) and I went to the dealer for update. I was hoping software update might also address pothole/loss of break problem but it has not helped.

- Carteret, NJ, USA

problem #26

Apr 182014

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
If the vehicle hits a pot hole while slowing down, there's a sudden loss of braking power and the vehicle moves a few feet forward. The vsc light comes on at the same time. I'd noticed this a few times in the past but with the roads deteriorating after a bad winter, the pot holes are bigger and this is very prominent and scary. Going to take to the dealer for inspection. I feel it's definitely an issue with the braking system.

- Hamilton, NJ, USA

problem #25

Jun 102013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 2,500 miles


When hitting larger size potholes or bumps in the road I lose control of what feels like the rear end, its as if the vehicle brakes gives way when the rear tires hit the object, car shimmies slightly, the brakes stop working for at least 3 seconds as the car lurches forward. The brake also depresses further to the floor while it happens. There's a particular spot on my way to work that continues to cause the problem. Its heading down a small declining hill before a turn to the left. If I were to tailgate someone and have that happen I would surely hit them because there's no control of the vehicle for a few seconds after hitting the object. This object goes straight across the 2 lanes as if the concrete paving was poured too high in a long horizontal line. I think it has to be above a 4-5 inches or so because I'll hit smaller ones and I'm fine and I've tested it on different objects, its higher raised items causing the behavior. It happens when its dry, wet or icy out, but you have to be applying the brake to really feel it as far as I can tell. My passenger also felt the loss in control each time this has happened and its been numerous since owning the vehicle.

- Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #24

Sep 012010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
Vehicle surges when brakes are applied while traveling over railroad tracks or rough pavement. Surge lasts for 1 to 2 seconds until braking resumes. Vehicle behavior can be easily replicated.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #23

Oct 042012


  • 69,180 miles
On Tuesday October 02, 2012 at approximately 0510 the vehicle brakes went out and the brake, ABS, and stabilization lights came on along with alarm. Vehicle was towed to Toyota dealership for repair - told it was the master cylinder. Vehicle picked up on morning of October 4, 2012 from dealership drove approximately 20 miles and the exact same thing occurred. Brakes, ABS, stabilization alarms came on. Toyota dealership was called and said that the vehicle should be fine - system had cleared with part replacement - "maybe it was a bad part or there could be air in the lines." Vehicle is presently at the dealership awaiting inspection. Fortunately, no accidents or injuries occurred on these dates. However because of the loss of brakes and near accidents this vehicle is now a threat to my safety. So far I have been lucky - I do not want to take a chance with the third being the time that I am in a serious accident.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #22

Mar 172012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 20,600 miles
I was entering a parking space. Turned right into space. The vehicle accelerated, steering wheel locked, and brakes did not respond!.the car sped over the curbing and hit the left front fender of the truck in the next space.

- Citrus Springs, FL, USA

problem #21

Jan 102011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles


I gently drive my 2010 Toyota Prius in eco mode to maximize fuel economy. Every weekday, since January 2011, I slow on a certain road to make a right turn. The road has a manhole cover recessed about 1 inch into the road along the path of my passenger side tires. Every time I drive over this manhole cover the Prius completely loses ability to brake for about 1/2 second, then braking is reestablished. There are other small bumps I drive over at other places which have the same results to the Prius braking system. Yesterday (26 Oct 2011) something different but possibly associated happened while driving over a bump. This time I was accelerating after having made a right turn from a complete stop. While still accelerating after the turn I signaled left and proceeded to merge into the left hand lane. As the Prius right front tire drove over the reflective lane marker imbedded in the road surface (the marker sticks out about 1/2 inch from road surface) the Prius went out of control. The car suddenly and severely pulled hard to the left and rapidly slowed, I struggled against the cars actions to avoid hitting the raised center median. My first though was that I must have had a complete and instantaneous blow out on the front left tire. My reaction was to immediately remove my foot from the accelerator. Then as I was further assessing my options and the surrounding traffic the Prius regained control and I was able to continue driving down the road as if nothing had ever happened. As the Prius reinstated control I heard a beep come from the dashboard, however I was not quick enough to notice if any warning lights had engaged during the incident. When I looked at the displays everything appeared normal. I also check the car externally and everything appeared normal. All incidents are on high quality road surfaces with dry pavement. Dealer indicates no recalls.

- League City, TX, USA

problem #20

Feb 152010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 32,204 miles
I have a 2010 Prius, and when I apply the brakes at any intensity and my vehicle hits a defect in the road surface, the ABS system seems to release brake pressure to all 4 wheels completely for about half a second. This makes me question the effectiveness of the brakes in an emergency situation, especially on houston's notoriously neglected roadways. I was told that this was normal by both Toyota motor co. At 1-800-331-4331 and also by the dealer. Tmc informed me that this is the way that the ABS system was designed. Please launch an inquisition and/or investigation into this matter, for the safety of the owners of all Toyota Prius vehicles.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #19

Dec 262010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 33,145 miles
My 2010 Toyota Prius comes equipped with an intrusive traction control system that can't be turned off manually. Due to the restrictive system, the car had been stuck on small inclines in several occasions. If I carry too little speed, the traction control would slow the car to a crawl and prevents me from going up since it doesn't allow itself to spin any tires and therefore all forward momentums are lost. On the other hand if I carry too much speed, it becomes too dangerous as I can't steer the car in snow or ice. Could NHTSA please get Toyota to retrofit a system that would disable the traction control and therefore we can actually get up hills in the winter by maintaining momentum using limited amount of wheelspin. My car is equipped with a set of brand new snow tires in case you are wondering. I have recorded videos of the car getting stuck on small inclines due to the traction control, I can provide it to nhtsb if needed. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bristol, CT, USA

problem #18

Oct 082010


  • 2,500 miles
On 2010 Prius, brakes seem to release, generally for a moment, at low speeds when going over a bump on passenger side of the car. Car seems to accelerate momentarily, until brakes are hit again. This has happened a number of times but is sometimes hard to recreate. Car has 3000 miles. Dealer says brakes operating as designed and recall adjustment has been made.

- Port Washington, NY, USA

problem #17

Jul 272010


  • 18,500 miles
Was driving Prius 2010 model II with brake software applied by dealer about 1.5 months ago. Today (7/27/2010) I exited highway and began gentle braking on offramp, as suggested by manual to maximize regeneration. About half-way down offramp, I realized car in front of me was completely stopped and that I had to stop much more quickly than I was planning to. I don't recall being particularly distracted, but I can't rule out I noticed the stopped vehicle later than I should have. In any event, I'm not sure how hard I pressed the brakes, but I recall distinctly thinking "oh, my god. Nothing is happening" and 1-2 secs later I plowed into the car in front of me. The collision was hard enough to cause temporary pain to the driver in front of me, but no air bags were deployed and the Prius appears to not have major frontal damage - hood is bent back and maybe slight frame distortion => the impact clearly was not at the ~40-50 mph I was going when just exiting the highway, so some braking clearly did occur -- but I have the distinct feeling that my previous car (Subaru outbook) would have easily stopped in time. After accident, I tested brakes by going 15-20 mph in parking lot and braking hard. Always stopped quickly, I'm guessing w/100% friction braking. So brakes are probably not "defective" in sense of lost hydraulic fluid, etc... but I have never before experienced the feeling "I'm not stopping" except once when losing traction on icy road with a non-hybrid. The fact had time to think this thought at all probably means maybe 0.5-1.5 sec passed while braking ineffective. Checked for tire/skid marks on road or evidence of strong tire wear and found none, while I have on other cars when I have had to brake hard => Prius not braking hard despite emergency. Seem to have been caught in transition between regen & friction mode" this is still discussed in Prius forums -- software fix not good enough!" this is potentially very dangerous. Btw, car was in "eco" mode.

- Madison, CT, USA

problem #16

May 152010


  • 14,500 miles
While braking at low speeds (15 mph or less), especially under wet road conditions and after hitting a bump (pot hole, rough road, etc.), the brakes temporarily fail and the car skids, with loss of power steering it seems as well. I have had the recall work performed on my car, but it still occurs. The Toyota solution to "step on the brake harder" is not always a solution, especially as the problem sometimes occurs not coming to a full stop, but breaking during turning. This has happened at least 6 times since the so-called recall "fix" for the braking software was installed.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #15

Mar 132010


  • 5 miles
My prior Prius was repurchased by Toyota 09/09 with severe electrical issues which only escalated. I believe the man in ca because that happened to us on the highway, and our car behaved as if it were 'possessed'. now my 2010 is having intermittent issues, including an anti-skid/ braking light that we'd thought was remedied by resetting an ABS actuator Friday-it was on since test driving the car-but I was told many excuses, and eventually they were aware but did not know how to correct this. (?) I'm concerned about driving this vehicle as my 2007 trapped us in the car twice-911 called in a panic-plus my small daughter's safety was at risk just by owning that crazy car. Please see if you can locate that car and inspect it-you will see this is not some chance situation-and now I am extremely concerned about our new car 'performing as designed' when brake warning light comes on when applied! feel free contacting me on this!!

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #14

Jan 282010


  • 3,000 miles
This is an update to an earlier complaint (#10304111). We had an accident with our 2010 Toyota Prius which we firmly believe was caused by brake failure. My wife was driving the car on a slippery road, it was lightly snowing, at about 10-15 mph and came to a stop sign. She applied the brakes and said nothing happened. As a car was at the stop sign she turned to avoid the car and hit a raised and sharp curb, which pierced the tire and bent the tie-rod. Our car was towed to a body shop. After about 10 days, state farm inspected the car, but by this time the recall for the Prius had been announced. The body shop then refused to fix the car and we had to take it to a Toyota dealer. State farm has since decided not pursue this incident as they feel the snow caused the accident and that the temporary loss of brakes is not what the recall is about. From our reading of numerous articles (NY times) and the recall information itself, plus what happened, we are strongly stating that there was in fact a temporary or momentary loss of the brakes which directly caused this accident. From our reading of the recall and other complaints, slippery conditions are one of the factors which cause this problem. In our case, this problem was exacerbated as not only was there slippery conditions, but the car was on a hill as well. We have also experienced prior to this accident a skipping or momentary brake problem when going over bumpy roads. When asking about this we were always told it had to do with the ABS system and that it was normal. Well the recall proves this was not normal and now we've experienced the problem on slick roads as well -- which has now cost us money.

- Peekskill, NY, USA

problem #13

Oct 122009


  • 4,500 miles
2010 Toyota Prius - driving on Alabama state highway closer to nashville, tn we hit a deer. This was on Oct 12, 2009 around 8:30 am in the morning. The road was very empty and clear visibility. The deer came in from the left side of the road from the oncoming traffic and jumped into our lane. I had clear visibility of the deer and applied sudden brakes...we hit the deer and had extensive damage on the car. We never thought it might be an issue with the car...but now with so much of scrutiny going on with this new Prius, we do want to bring to the attention of your organization that from day 1 of purchasing the car the brakes are really funky. We had an SUV before and compared to that this car is very very sensitive on the brakes. If we are going in at high speed and brake suddenly it does not come to an abrupt halt and we always thought that is way these cars were. I never had a new car and never could imagine something like a break issue. So coming to the deer hit I feel now in hind sight that we had enough time and distance to avoid hiitting the animal and could not stop on time. The car took an extensive damage and we got it repaired at a Toyota dealer ship in nashville and took a rental car home. The car looks great like a new one but the brake is still the same. On low speeds if I break it feels like I have placed really hard/slammed on the brakes and on high speed the car definetly needs lot of time to stop

- Weddington, NC, USA

problem #12

Jan 222010


  • 15 miles
Toyota Prius 2010- when we go into a pothole and apply the brake, the brake doesn't work. Instead, it accelerates. Once, it hit a curb and damaged the bumper.

- Piscataway, NJ, USA

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