really awful
Crashes / Fires:
10 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,255 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.

2011 Toyota Prius brakes problems

brakes problem

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2011 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #62

Dec 012016


  • miles


Iive had my Prius from 4-14 to the present 2016. I keep having issues with the dealership I take it to for repairs. Bob smith in la crescenta ca. After mentioning and describing issues, the staff there says that unless the dash lights up with a message and gives a code, they cant fix it. So in order for them to look into it any further than me telling them dash light is nec. Ive told them about the ac noise from the first say I took the car in to grt services at 33K. They say they dont hear or see anything. My ac compressor sounds like ita going ro explode when ac is on. Brakes have been extremely diff. To explain because of terminology. They seem to lose their power when being pressed and ABS seems to malfuncion?? so they drive it and tell me its nohing I need to worry about and will be fixed when changed. Change brakes and the prob persists. Not only ABS but Firestone says my hardware has issues as well. I brinf it to the attention of the staff and nothing seems to get donw about it... my odo. Speedom is/was off +2 mph. My weather seals have been stripped and ripped off the vehicle which now causes water leaks from every crevise.. and the biggest two of all my complaints are 1- hybrid batt. Fan never worked and I wasnt told...hyb batt has nwvwr worked properly (drains way too fast when stopped at a light or in traff) along with the heat created by the batt and the engine that fill up the cabin and qwill have the temp raised upwards of 90+ on a 75 deg day. 2- the ECU's ipm's (or something like that) has not been calib. Or updated. Even received coverage stickers from toy hedqrts stating full coverage if a.B.C. (listing of problems or malfuncions) I desctibe thw exact same symptoms to them and get the same respons"no code, no fix" help and ps I just checked the VIN onlne 4my veh & it says a diff pakage w/a bunch of extras that I never got upon purchae"??_hmmm?"

- South Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #61

Oct 272016


  • 80,000 miles
Hard knocking when turning on engine until I compress and decompress my break. Has happened 3 times, only during the cold months

- Lawrenceville, GA, USA

problem #60

Oct 252016

Prius 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
When I'm braking and slowing down gradually, as when approaching a red light, the brakes momentarily stop working and the car feels like it surges forward if it hits a low-traction surface like a pothole or manhole cover or wet spot. I saw there was a recall for this in 2010, but 2011 model consistently does it and has caused me and my friend to nearly rear-end other cars when driving my car. Apparently, it pertains to the regenerative braking system being turned off when the ABS engages, leaving only friction brakes. This happens several times a week on the wet roads where I live (near seattle, Washington). This has happened since I bought the car new in 2011 but I'm complaining now because my friend borrowed it and almost rear-ended someone and pushed me to report it.

- University Place, WA, USA

problem #59

Apr 012013


  • 40,000 miles


When the brakes are pressed, if you hit a bump or pothole, the brakes lock and the car hydroplanes forward. I hit the back of someone because of this defect.

- Wayne, NJ, USA

problem #58

Jul 202016


  • 78,000 miles
Car was in motion about 20mph. When brakes was applied, the car failed to slow down but instead quickly accelerated. Continuously applying the brakes did nothing. Car came to a stop apply running into another car.

- Nokesville, VA, USA

problem #57

Jul 042016


  • miles
Brakes failing when applied hard or while driving over bumps.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #56

Jun 222016


  • 77,500 miles


The Prius has a problem when braking over broken pavement or potholes. This happens when the brakes are applied to slow the vehicle and the car enters an area of the road where there is uneven ground. The brakes seem to not work for a second even if there is steady pressure applied to the brake pedal. This problem causes quite a startle to the car's driver. This is especially a concern to us when this happens at a crosswalk. This is an ongoing problem. Toyota of America has been contacted twice, I have taken the vehicle in to my local dealership but no fix is available.

- Old Town, ME, USA

problem #55

Jun 152012


  • 50 miles
When braking while the vehicle is going over a bump or depression in the ground, the vehicle lurches forward. Instead of stopping the vehicle seems to accelerate forward. This happens consistently in this setting.

- Niles, MI, USA

problem #54

May 192016


  • 81,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Toyota Prius. While the vehicle was stationary, all of the warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the brake master assembly and the brake booster needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 81,000.

- Garden Grove, CA, USA

problem #53

May 012016


  • 40,000 miles
Brakes disengage momentarily when braking on a bumpy roadway. I have had this happen multiple times. It feels like the ABS system releases the brakes and then reapplies braking. Luckily, I have not had vehicles in front of me.

- Saint Albans, WV, USA

problem #52

Apr 292016


  • 75,000 miles


Every once in a while - it can be months between events - our Prius momentarily slams on the brakes when driving at highway speeds while nothing else is going on. We know it's not operator error. It's happened to my wife several times and me once. When it happened to me I was driving straight ahead on a dry, lightly traveled divided highway during the day. Everything on the dashboard lights up, alarms go off, the car decelerates like I suddenly stomped on the brake pedal though my foot never moved off of the gas, it lasts for maybe a second and then the car is back to normal. It's the same each time it's happened. Luckily each time this has happened we haven't had anyone tailgating us. We've taken it to the dealer multiple times. The first couple of times they looked at us like we were loony. They checked it out and we got it back with a message that said the technician checked the computer and test drove it for 20 miles and the car was operating as designed. Except it happened again. We finally convinced them that this was maybe a legitimate issue and they said they brought in a Toyota field specialist who checked the car out and they said that the issue was the pcs wave radar sensor that was slightly out of alignment due to body damage (my wife had hit a small deer about a year prior to that - damage was minor and repaired at a local body shop). After they realigned the sensor, the car behaved itself for about five months. Until yesterday when it happened again.

- Woodstock, MD, USA

problem #51

Nov 102015


  • 62,000 miles
While driving and braking on a bumpy road surface, the brakes will initially work, quit working momentarily, then reengage. This happens regularly. I just took it to the Toyota dealership, and they say the brakes are fine and there is no problem. There was a Toyota recall for this issue on 2010 models. I'm afraid this issue will cause an accident. How can I get Toyota to address the problem?

- Mahomet, IL, USA

problem #50

Oct 182015


  • 59,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Toyota Prius. While driving at various speeds, the vehicle hesitated to decelerate without warning. The contact stated that the brake pedal traveled to the floorboard. The contact stated that the brakes needed to be pumped in order to stop the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the brake cylinder assembly needed to be repaired. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 59,000.

- Nevarre, FL, USA

problem #49

Sep 022015


  • 99,000 miles
I was moving forward in a turn lane on a city street preparing to make a left turn. A vehicle cut in front of my car and it was necessary to make a quick stop to avoid an accident. Immediately red warning lights lit up indicating a problem with the brakes. The repair statement from the dealer indicated that the brake booster with master cylinder assembly had failed and needed to be replaced. The repair required over two weeks to complete and I was informed that the procedure in the service manual for repairing the problem was incorrect.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #48

Sep 142015


  • 21,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Toyota Prius. While attempting to park, the driver depressed the brake pedal and suddenly the vehicle accelerated forward and crashed into a pole. During the crash, the front end sustained significant damage. The air bags did not deploy. No injuries were reported and a police report was filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 21,000.

- Walnut Creek, CA, USA

problem #47

Jun 012015


  • 52,200 miles
On at least six occasions, I have lost control for a second or two while braking. While applying the brakes, and simultaneously crossing any sort of uneven terrain, the vehicle suddenly darted forward as I slowed. After reading a large number of similar incidents via a web search, I decided I needed to report this possibly dangerous issue.

- Evanston, IL, USA

problem #46

Sep 182013


  • 115,000 miles
While pressing the brake pedal in a bumpy road, I feel the car accelerates and try to jump and I usually press the brake hard to stop. I have been experiencing this several times but never report. To clarify more, it happens while pressing the brake.

- Hyayysville, MD, USA

problem #45

Sep 012015


  • 63,000 miles
There are 3 issues I am having with this Prius. The brakes are the first problem. As others have stated, I too have the same lurching forward when braking over bumby or rough roads. This has been ongoing over the last few years. Second, the suspension is creaking and crunching when making turns at low speeds under 20mph. This happens when the wheels are turned all the way right and all the way left. This crunching noise happens when backing out of the driveway, making U-turns, coming to a stop on an incline, and braking over speed bumps. I've had the dealer look at this for the last year when I come in for service and one tech says they can't figure it out, another tech says he hears it but can't find the root of the problem, the service mgr. Also went on a drive with me and reproduces the noise concern but the techs couldn't find it. Most were suggesting new front suspension components-struts, towers, links, etc. I replaced the two front struts and all of the extra components-the noise concern is still there. I am very upset about this. Third issue is the ice-motor. When stopped at a red light and the engine shuts off, the car lurches forward and makes a creaking sound. It's appears that something is not right. The engine seems like it is loose. The engine also makes rattling sound when cruising lightly at 15-25 mph with the accelerator pressed slightly. The sound is coming from the passenger side, under the dashboard-glove compartment area. This is a rattle sound coming from the engine. I've had this looked at as well and the dealer states they cannot duplicate it. I have recorded all sounds related to these concerns and am taking it back to the dealer this month.

- West Hollywood, CA, USA

problem #44

Jan 162012


  • 1,000 miles
Just want to add to the list of complaints about this car lunging forward when the brakes are applied, primarily when the car is driving over rough terrain but not always. It is always unexpected. I've had to change the way I drive, but I'm not always sure I could stop it in every circumstance. I've taken the car in to a Toyota service center twice to look at it. They either can't get it to happen while they have the car or they say it's normal. It's not normal for any car I've ever had in twenty plus years of driving. It has only gotten worse and more frequent over the course of the three years that I've had the car.

- River Ridge, LA, USA

problem #43

Aug 072015


  • 42,000 miles
Traction control and ABS warning lights came on. Cruise control stopped working. Took it to Toyota who said codes indicated failure of master cylinder. Cost of repair $3,400. I think they have a defective part problem.

- Santa Fe, NM, USA

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