really awful
Crashes / Fires:
9 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
15,090 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.

2013 Toyota Prius brakes problems

brakes problem

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2013 Toyota Prius Owner Comments

problem #20

Aug 082013


  • 14 miles


When I apply break at any speed (maybe above 20mph) the break system doesn't work properly. I have to press the brake paddle really hard down to the floor. Some time I even have to release the paddle and then re-brake. This is dangerous, not safe at all. Break acting like this way since I brought it brand new. I notify dealer twice to check (1st year of service and then second year of service), they came back and says nothing wrong (this was under warranty). Now, when I went to dealer to report this.. dealer like your veh is 2013 and has 10K miles on it at August, 2016, let's change the rotor and break and then we can test it (are they serious?). I am scared to drive and have a feeling, I will crash with a braking system like this Prius. Something is wrong with some/few Prius - please address before someone dies.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #19

Nov 062016


  • 36,000 miles
I was driving on a busy city street and as I was approaching an intersection I stepped on the brake, but the brake failed. As I stepped on the brake pedal, the pedal went all the way down to the floor. I kept on hitting the brake but it was not working. My car was not stopping. The ABS and slip indicator lights turned on. I was on a panic because I would be hitting other cars and possibly people because I was approaching an intersection. Luckily the traffic light turned green as I approached so I made the turn and still I was not stopping. The car was continuously moving. As I was approaching another intersection, I tried stepping on the parking brake, it decelerated but not stopping. Before it almost hit another car on the intersection, it stopped while I was stepping on the parking brake real hard with abated breath.

- Norwalk, CA, USA

problem #18

Oct 172016

Prius 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
I was driving straight on a city road with the flow of heavy traffic at about 40 miles per hour when the car in front of me came to a sudden stop. I immediately slammed on my brakes very hard. At the time I did this I had plenty of safe distance between us. But, the brakes never came on and I ended up running into the rear end of an SUV at apparently full speed without any noticeable slowdown. The brakes did not come on. They didn't grab, and they didn't make any screeching noise and there were no tire marks on the road. Also all of the airbags deployed and this was a frontal impact, which was very surprising and suffocating. A cloud of dust filled the cabin of the car and I could not breathe. I was literally suffocating until I was able to open the door and get out of the vehicle. I didn't even feel the seat belt tighten up before the crash. The brakes never felt like they came on at all.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #17

Oct 052016


  • 24,800 miles


I was traveling less than 25 mph on a city street when the car in front suddenly stopped. I panic stopped - moving my foot off the gas pedal and I believe that I hit the brake pedal. The brakes did not apply, and I rear-ended the car in front. I left no skid marks. Obviously I could have not actually pushed the brake pedal, but I sincerely believe that I did. The car brakes seem to be fine, so if the car failed to stop the problem had to be in the computer.

- Lincoln, CA, USA

problem #16

Aug 052016


  • 40,000 miles
On 07/20/15 the brakes failed completely while driving. On 08/05/16 the same brakes failed again while driving. It is the same issue verified by two Toyota dealerships, (front left caliper and brake pad replacements needed). The car was bought new. The brakes have failed twice, they cite safety defects. On 08/15/16 I photographed left front brake issue. They claim they, "don't know why it's happening." It is clear the car is unsafe and should be replaced entirely. I reported the first brake failure 07/20/15 the brakes failed while driving. The dealer stated it was a safety related defect that they could not figure out why and thus sent the original brakes to Toyota for inspection & investigation. I never heard back. On 08/05/16 (12 months 15 days later, approx. 12,000 miles driven) the same brake failure happened again. Filled it with brake fluid on 08/15/16 make it to deerfield Toyota (closest) that stated I would have to take it to the original to avoid paying. Very dangerous. Then took to same, eric jones, lipton Toyota, fort laudredale, fl, as last time. He stated the replaced calipers and brake pads were defective. The car remains there, 10 days awaiting a back order. I inquired further on 08/22/16 to which Mr. Jones stated the car was bought new with defective brakes/ calipers and that they had replaced them 07/2015 but that they had replaced them with Toyota defective brakes again. (especially specifically the front left caliper and brake pads). Brakes have failed twice. It is clear the defective issue is from the car. Photos reveal that the replacements never resolved the issue as it has been occurring ever since then. To continue driving to see if a 3rd brake failure occurs is to risk mine and others on the road lives. 1st reported safety concern to NHTSA on 07/20/15, reference #10735054 : randy reid. I am scared. Help please.

- Boca Raton, FL, USA

problem #15

Apr 142016


  • 22,190 miles
When the driver has to slam on the brakes really quickly the car does not slowdown at all. The skid light comes on the dash board, but otherwise the car does not stop. This happens even on a dry surface, with no moisture on the surface, at speeds as low as 20-30 miles per hour. It almost always does it. If the driver lightly tap the breaks, then the car will decelerate, but not if the driver has to abruptly stopped. This is quilt a problem given that sometimes you need the car to stop suddenly it it simply won't at speeds of 20 more. The car just starts to skid. It will not stop or gain traction with the surface that it is on. This means that in a situation where the driver needs to hit the breaks all the way down, the car still won't stop. This problem is much worse if on wet or negative sloping roads. However, it can happen even on complete dry surface.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #14

Mar 242016


  • 64,000 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Toyota Prius. While driving approximately 25 mph on a roadway, the brake pedal was applied and made an abnormal noise. Another vehicle crashed into the front passenger side of the contact's vehicle while the contact was making a turn. When the brake pedal was applied, the vehicle surged forward at a high rate of speed. The front and rear driver side and the rear passenger side curtain air bags did not deploy. The front and rear passenger side air bags deployed. The vehicle was towed to a yard and then towed to a repair shop for further inspection by the insurance company. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The contact was waiting to determine if an investigator would be sent. A police report was filed. The driver sustained a head injury that required medical treatment and was having difficulty with visibility due to the impact of the crash and no air bag deployment. The approximate failure mileage was 64,000.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #13

Dec 292015


  • miles
I was driving home in my 2013 Toyota Prius on Tuesday, December 29, 2015, at approximately 4:30P.M. while turning right from the street on which I live into my driveway, the car, after I applied the brakes, suddenly surged forward. In spite of continuously pushing down on the brakes, the car would not stop. The driveway shows skid marks from my attempts to stop the car. The car did not stop. The brakes failed. The car shot forward, crashing into the closed wooden garage door and the wall to the left of the garage door. The garage door broke and one half of the garage door split and was pushed into the garage. The garage door collapsed on my car as well as items stored in the garage including parts of the garage structure and large sections of a storage unit, which was bolted to the wall. Approximately 90% of my car was inside the garage. I tried to exit the car through the driver's side but the door would not open. I crawled to the trunk area and could not find a mechanical release for that door. Finally I forced opened the driver's side rear door and exited the car through the broken wall. If the brakes had not failed this would have not have happened. As a result of the brake failure, I have incurred substantial loss, including the garage door (a total loss), damage to structural support to the garage wall, a built-in garage storage unit, contents stored in the garage and substantial damage to the car. Fortunately, I did not suffer any major physical injuries, although following the collision I experienced and continue to experience muscle, joint, hip, neck and back pain and discomfort. In addition, I continue to experience emotional distress from this incident. I want Toyota to perform a complete diagnostic safety check of all systems including the brakes and any software that controls the braking system.

- Sherman Oaks, CA, USA

problem #12

Oct 012013


  • 2,000 miles
Recurring problem. When braking the vehicle will occasionally "slide" rather than brake when the car goes over different road surfaces. This happens for about the length of the car or less (probably the length of the different surface) and then the braking continues once the road is consistent again. I have spoken with the dealer and they indicate this is a known symptom of the car's degenerative braking system functioning "properly" when all tires are not working in sync. I think it's a defect that will eventually lead to rear-end collisions. This has occurred when going over steel plates, potholes, approaching toll-booth stops - all in good weather, and on slick road surfaces during poor weather.

- N Royalton, OH, USA

problem #11

Jul 192015


  • 27,000 miles
The brakes stopped working completely and suddenly. Extremely dangerous.

- Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

problem #10

Sep 302013


  • 800 miles


ABS, brake and traction control warning lights came on while driving on posted limits on highway under dry conditions. At same time, brake pedal suddenly required more pressure to stop car. Warning lights stayed on, and returned after car was turned off and on again. Dealer stated it was brake stroke sensor malfunction and replaced part. Car was purchased new and had only driven it for a few weeks. Exact same thing happen again June 2015 and July 2015. Driving on highway, dry conditions, all three warning lights came on, and brake pedal required much more pressure to work. Steering also lost some power. Dealer diagnosed a stroke sensor malfunction. Computer code was C1247. First dealer I took it to in June 2015 couldn't recreate the problem, cleared the code, and said everything was fixed. Wrote "car is safe to drive" on my receipt. 2 weeks later same problem reappeared and a different dealer said brake master cylinder was failing.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #9

Aug 272014


  • 24,250 miles
I was driving on the highway at 55~60mph, and suddenly the power steering trouble light indicator came on. I noticed the steering wheel was a bit harder to turn( left or right). I slowed down and took the first exit, reducing speed to 30~35mph. At the stop sign, all indicators light came on and I couldn't turn the steering wheel (left or right). I was able to accelerate out of the stop sign, but then I felt a "thugh" in the engine, and notice I didn't have any braking power for a few second. So I pulled over, I turned the car off, and turned on again, I immediately drove into a parking lot after the stop sign, the car just died; I couldn't brake, no steering, no gas power, nothing. The car was towed to Toyota dealership. This was the 2nd incidence within 3 weeks. The first time this occurred with similar sequence of failure. The car was towed to Toyota dealership and they said the auxiliary battery died, and replaced it free of charge ( car was 24,250 miles at that time). This second time, I hope Toyota can find the root cause of this issue. I don't think the new auxiliary battery died again. It's only been 3 weeks since Toyota installed the battery. This is a huge safety risk. I'm afraid to drive my car now. I think I will need to sell the car.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #8

Jul 272014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 588 miles
The rented 2013 Toyota Prius with one passenger and the driver, pulled into a diagonal parking space in front of a strip mall store. Traveling at maybe 5 mph to park, the car's brake pedal gave way and hit the floor flat, providing no braking at all. The car kept rolling toward the corner of the brick building. The car then suddenly surged ahead, smashing into the corner of the entry to the brick building at such a sudden force that the doors to the building were wedged shut. After emergency vehicle took the driver and passenger to the hospital, the policeman on the job, as well as the wrecker service that came to extract the vehicle, could not move the car because there were no brakes, as stated in the police report. The wrecker driver could not load the vehicle to tow using the car's power because there were no brakes. No airbags deployed, but the condition of the corner shows damage that a vehicle moving faster than 5 mph would incur. The policeman came to the hospital to inform the driver that there indeed were no brakes on the car and the driver was not at fault - the vehicle's braking and acceleration systems had failed.

- Edgewater, FL, USA

problem #7

Oct 252011


  • 12,000 miles
TL * the contact owns a 2013 Toyota Prius. While driving 40 mph, the contact depressed the brake pedal and the vehicle accelerated. The vehicle resumed to 40 mph once the brake pedal was depressed again. The contact depressed the brake pedal again and the vehicle accelerated. A crash occurred. There were no injuries and a police report was filed. The failure recurred on three separate occasions. The manufacturer was notified. The vehicle was taken to a mechanic who stated that there was a delay in the braking system. The failure mileage was 12,000.

- Rinder , GA, USA

problem #6

Apr 112014

Prius 8-cyl

  • miles
Today, April 11, 2014 around 6pm pst, my dad could have been killed because of your Toyota Prius 2013 failed at breaking and malfunctioned and accelerated out of control. I am very very concerned and angry about this. You should understand. My father almost got killed by Toyota. Because you failed at making sure that the system does not have any issue. My father today was parking the car after the dropping my mother off at work and coming back home. He was parking the car at the usual parking spot in front of our home. He pressed the breaks as he normally does when car was traveling less than 5mph. But instead of Prius stopping, it accelerated out of control. We have thick plants in front of our home and this stopped the car. But the malfunctioned car got a long scratch on the bumper and we most lost my father to this tragic incident. We thank god that no one got killed but you can understand that this could have ended with someone dead. Murdered. We trusted Toyota. As a consumer, we rely on the manufacturer to learn from their mistakes and make sure same thing does not happen. But you failed us. We bought your Prius believing in the integrity of Toyota and trusting that the abrupt acceleration that caused death and injured people were resolved. You recalled and fixed this issue for your previous vehicles. This should not have happened. We are genuinely concerned about our safety. We contacted the dealer but because it is outside of their business hour, they were unreachable. We are too scared even thinking of driving this car back to the dealer. What if this happens on the road" what if we cause a death of a person, a child on the way to the dealer" I am terrified. We are very shaken up by this experience. I want answers as soon as possible. I called Toyota customer support line, I called the dealer... no one was there to help me.

- Costa Mesa, CA, USA

problem #5

Mar 062014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 5,500 miles
While the car was going down the ramp to the parking basement, the brake in our Prius didn't function even though the driver slammed on it and the car continued to picked up acceleration. None of the airbags deployed either, amazingly. The driver was able to make a right turn and missed the wall/concrete pillar, but the driver hit a parked car and that's what stopped the Prius from moving further.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #4

Feb 102014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 1,200 miles
I was driving on the freeway at approximately 55 mph. The steering began to veer back and forth. I thought it might be due to an uneven road. I switched lanes and experienced the same problem. It became very apparent that it was not due to an uneven road. As I began to apply the brakes due to a traffic jam, the brakes were weak and had to eventually slam on the brakes to stop on time. I have to begin applying the brakes at about 50 yds from a stop sign traveling at 45 mph in order to stop on time.

- Desert Hot Springs, CA, USA

problem #3

Dec 162013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 3,300 miles
2013 Prius C two, bought brand new with 15 miles on it 5 weeks ago. A few times when driving, I noticed the brakes seemed weak, like they weren't stopping the car very well even at low speeds. My driving is mostly in town on residential streets, so I'm rarely going over 35 mph. Even so, I'd have to really mash the pedal all the way to the floor to get the car to come to a complete stop, otherwise it would keep moving forward. Several times I ended up about 5-10 feet past the line, sticking the front bumper into cross traffic. Luckily no one hit me. I chalked it up to the quirks of a different car than the one I was used to, and figured if it kept happening I'd take it to the dealership. On Monday, my wife was stopped at a red light. The light turned green and the car in front of her started to move forward. After a few hundred feet, he suddenly slammed on his brakes. She said her brake pedal went all the way to the floor, and the Prius didn't slow down at all. She hit him going about 25 mph and totaled the Prius. She's an excellent driver and I've been with her before when she's had to panic-stop. She's never driven a car without ABS, so she is used to pushing the pedal hard and keeping her foot on it. She wouldn't even know how to "pump" the pedal. She swears the pedal just went all the way to the floor and the car didn't slow down at all. Thankfully, she's okay and no one was injured.

- Cleveland, TN, USA

problem #2

Dec 132013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 7,500 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while driving approximately 5 mph, the brakes failed. The vehicle accelerated abnormally, traveled over a sidewalk and then over the steps of the contact's residence. The vehicle was taken to a dealer however, the technician was unable to diagnose the problem. The contact stated that the acceleration failure was recurring. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 7,500. Updated 01/08/14 the consumer stated the dealer went far beyond, what they had to do, to make sure she was taken care of. However, Toyota corporation was less than helpful. Update 01/09/13

- Traberse , MI, USA

problem #1

Jun 182013


  • 650 miles
I own a new 2013 Toyota Prius V-5. while on the freeway taking an interchange. I had cruise control set at 65 mph, disengaging it as I approached the interchange that slows to 35 mph due to the curve. I was coasting when the car suddenly brake, internal warning light flashing, alarm beeping and seat belt locked up. I was alone in the car (thank god) with no cars behind me or in front of me. It was an extremely windy day and was told by Toyota that it is possible something blew in front of the sensor. That in itself is another safety issue. Can I not drive my car on a windy, rainy or snowy day, in fear of the pre collision system misinterpreting what is in front of the sensor" I immediately took the car to the dealership only to be told today that they couldn't find anything wrong and that I am more than welcome to take a drive with their technician to see if I can replicate what had occurred. I inquired if the edr had recorded the event and they told me no. Is there something wrong with the edr? shouldn't it have recorded something like that" I can't understand why the pre-collision system (pcs) would act as if it were trying to prepare for impact if there was nothing if front of the vehicle. I could have been rear ended or lost control of the vehicle. This is a serious safety issue.

- Lathrop, CA, USA

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