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Toyota Prius Brake Problems



  • The brakes on my 04 Prius have been causing me intermittent but potentially lethal problems over the last couple of months. I too have left my car into the dealer, who assured me that there was nothing wrong with the brakes, and yet sometimes, though I have my foot gently on the brake, the car manages to move forward, meaning I have to apply the brakes harder which is extremely dangerous, especially in icy conditions. Did you have any luck in sorting your problem out? I am looking for Toyota in my country to replace the car - -and am getting no where...
  • kareen1kareen1 Posts: 1
    I have also had a brake problem with my 06 Prius. On two occasions around 15,000 miles, the brakes failed to activate for 2 – 3 seconds, then they took effect. On the second occasion I started to swerve to avoid the car in front of me before the brakes took effect. On both occasions I was traveling at slow speeds ( under 30 mph), moving uphill, and braking with the intention of coming to a complete stop. There was no rain, sand or gravel, and the car was not skidding. The anti-skid light went on.

    I took the car to the dealership, they could not replicate the problem, they said they could not find anything wrong & were going to return the car to me. I insisted something be done, so they sent a mechanic to observe as I test drove the car. I was not able to get the brakes to fail, but I was able to make the anti-skid light go on when it shouldn’t. The dealership then bled the brakes & returned the car to me.

    That same day as I approached a stop light, the car did a strange, very slow anti-lock brake response. The brakes applied, then unapplied with about one to 1 ½ seconds between each application. On two occasions since then the brakes have not applied for 2 – 3 seconds after I stepped on them. The anti-skid light went on one of those times, the other time I was too busy looking at the road to notice. I was going over a rough road surface, but not a surface on which the car was skidding.

    I have noticed the anti-skid light goes on sometimes when the car is not skidding but going over a rough surface.

    I really liked the Prius before this happened, but I do not feel it is not a safe car to drive until this :lemon: is resolved.

    2 additional links that talk about brake problems are and
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    It's a known condition that if you go over a bump violent enough to take a wheel off the road, it will trigger the traction control. That will delay application of the brakes. Several owners have reported this. It can happen on bumps you wouldn't think were that bad.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,719
    "It's a known condition that if you go over a bump violent enough to take a wheel off the road, it will trigger the traction control. That will delay application of the brakes. Several owners have reported this. It can happen on bumps you wouldn't think were that bad."

    Is this unique to the hybrids or the Prius? I have had antilock brakes on my last several cars and have never had this happen.
  • As has been stated relating to several braking issues, I believe the ABS activating on bumps is related to the lousy traction of the Integretys. My '06 Civic will occasionally do the same thing, but much less often, which I attribute to the better tires and additional weight of the Honda. My Integritys are wearing fast on the mountain road I drive all the time, thank goodness. I don't want to ditch them with useable tread left, but, I'll sure be happy to get them out of here when the time comes.
  • brendabeibrendabei Posts: 6
    My brakes failed yesterday in the rain. I was driving on a road that has old trolley tracks and I was only going about 20 mph and I decided to stop for a yellow light. I put the brake pedal to the floor and nothing happened. I just kept rolling downhill. No ABS nothing. If there had been something in front of me I would have hit it. After about 20 feet my brakes started to work and at that point the skid light came on. I was really lucky that this intersection has a stop 20 feet before the corner or I would have gone right through the intersection. Has anyone else had this sort of a thing happen to them? I am worried when it will happen again. I have taken to driving my honda minivan instead.
  • brendabeibrendabei Posts: 6
    I had the same problem that you did. What did you do to resolve this. I am terrified this will happen when my son is driving the car. He is only 17. So for now, we are not driving it at all.
  • sewkapsewkap Posts: 2
    I am within weeks of buying a new Prius and just heard the same thing - that the brakes fail in the rain-- and that Toyota knows this, Anybody know what Toyota is going to do about this?
  • I have a '05 Prius and have been having the same problem with brake failures in rainy conditions since more than 2 years ago, and have had 2 near misses. I've brought the car into the dealership on at least 4 occasions and each time they reported that the car is operating according to spec. If that's how the car is designed, it sounds to me like there is a design defect. Does anyone know if there is a class action law suit on this matter? I would like to join them if so. If Toyota can give us a decent credit towards trade-in of a different car (one with a brake that works), I would be satisfied.
  • I have an 05 Prius. The brakes have always been fairly sensitive. Over the last year and 1/2 I have experienced problems in the rain. The brakes lock up when the car is close to a complete stop. It is almost impossible to stop in the rain without locking up the brakes. When the car begins to move again, it is as if the brakes have gotten stuck - I can hear a clunk as they unstick and begin to move. This is also a problem first thing in the morning on humid days. I have had the brakes checked - no problems reported.
  • I, too have a '05 Prius and have loved it. However, when it was about a year old, I started expereinceing the brakes grabbing when coming to a full stop. When I took the car in for service, they said nothin was wrong with the brakes. I took it in about 4 months later specifically because of the grabbing brakes, went to a test drive with the service man and he said "nothing wrong, your brakes are working fine": What I then realised was that they only grabbed when it had been raining. This time, when i took it in for a service, I said, please check the brakes. When I returned for my car they said I had to have all the rotors replaced at the cost of over $800.00.The front ones were "pitted and badly rusty". the back rotors were badly damaged because I must have been driving "two-footed" or with the parking brake on. As I have been driving for over 40 years, I felt a bit insulted at both those suggestions. Thre is a bright red light that is on if the parking brake is on when you start to drive. When I asked about the reason for the front brakes corroding, they said I must have left the car standing for long periods or parked it in salty air. None of the above; I live in a city and use my car almost every day. By the way, I have 80% left on my brake pads, and I tend to use the "B" for slowing down to save my brakes (ironically). I think everyone driving a Prius should have their service people check the state of their rotors. There is no reason why mine have all corroded. What is the normal life expectancy of rotors? Is this a safety issue? I have definitely lost faith in my Prius now!
  • My brakes continue to grab on rainy days. I have had the brakes checked by my service guy twice over the last two years and he says the brakes are in great condition. I have over 55,000 miles on my car with very little brake wear. I just can't understand this problem.
  • I have a 2005 Prius and from day one I had the same feeling that many people here have expressed, that when you push on the brakes, it feels like it is accelerating. It doesn't happen all the time, just so that when you take it in it works perfectly and everyone thinks you're an idiot. Then one day about 6 months ago, it had just started raining, and my lane came to a stop, and I always leave enough room to stop - I am a very good driver, I haven't had a wreck in 30 years - and I could not stop. It wasn't me, and it wasn't the rain - know how to drive. It was the car. I took it in and had it looked over and according to everyone its just fine. Everyone sold me the idea that it was the rain, etc. etc.

    I wish there was some kind of a class action lawsuit or something. I need to get reimbursed for my $500 deductible I had to pay. This is dangerous. One day it could be worse.
  • I have a Prius that is about 6 months old. A couple of weeks ago I got into a rear-end collision when, in stop-and-go traffic the cars ahead of me came to a sudden stop. I stepped on the brakes but the car did not slow down. I hit the car in front of me because of this. It was not raining at the time but it sounds like another version of the same brake problem.
  • i have a 5 day old prius and i was driving in the rain and the brakes failed. i put my foot all the way on the break to no avail and had to crash into the side of the ride to stop it. Now they say it is my fault and nothing was wrong with the brakes.

    I think we might want to organize a class action suit.

  • lyndelynde Posts: 1
    I have a 2006 prius. about 10 months ago i took it to the dealership due to a brake problem. I told them it only happened in the rain or on wet days. They replied they haven't had any complaints about the breaks. After months of the same problems on wet days, I called again. They said bring it in when it is raining and having a problem. I travel daily as a visiting nurse. Hard to just bring it in when I am in another town. However last week it was raining and on my way home I decided to drive right to Toyota. I took the manager for a ride and nothing happened. Then he started driving and while stepping on the break during the last few seconds of stopping the car stopped short. So he saw I was not crazy. We went back to the dealership and he gave me a loaner and would not let me take the prius home. The next day he called and told me they took the brake drum out and found one of the shoes was not clipped on. So I picked it up that night and drove home. This friday it was raining, as I came to a stop, still not completely trusting the repair the same problem happened. everything went flying off my seat to the floor. I think we all have a very serious problem and need to call the state. I will be willing to be on a committee. please reply................lynde
  • jacquescjacquesc Posts: 13
    I had an accident this morning...
    I was a valet for about 4 years and know exactly how many models drive - but, did not know about this. I regret buying a Prius.
    This morning I was attempting to stop in my 6 month old '09 Prius traveling at low speeds in dry conditions. My brakes did not engage until it was too late. So, now I decided to research this problem and think it should be taken up in a class action or recall. If not at least to require a better braking system to be built by toyota.
  • franny2franny2 Posts: 2
    to all those who have experienced brakes not engaging with the Toyota Prius: I just filed a report with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 888-327-4236. Speak to an agent, tell the agent your circumstances and file a complaint. This agency investigates these complaints and IF they find a problem with the car they can actually try to get a recall!!. I don't know if a class action suit is another way to bring this to public attention but it also might be expensive. One thing the NHTSA does is check other similar reports so the more reports filed the better. They also have a website at
  • I had exactly the same problem with my brakes grabbing especially on rainy days. On my last trip for service, even though I had been told my brakes were absolutely fine (80% left on brake pads) I insisted they take a better look. Then I was told that the rotors were pitted and rusted and the drums needed replacing completely! They told me I must have been driving with the hand brake on or live close to salty air. I went to another Toyota service place and they said all that needed doing was sanding and lubricating of the shoes and drums ($100 instead of $600), and now they are no problem. I have no idea why the rotors deteriorated. I have started braking harder as I have heard that the brake pads have a cleaning action on the drums. I also don't use the "B"button for deceleration as i think maybe I just wasn't braking enough to keep the drums clean of rust. I am still being told that it is normal for brakes to grab with electric braking but I don't believe this and mine are fine now. If you have a the same problem, make sure you ask your service guy to check beyond the pads and look at your drums.
  • etnpauletnpaul Posts: 2
    I have the same(similar) problem as you. I have 2009 Prius which is about 2 months
    old. I have had several instances of it seeming to speed up. I took it back to Toyota and the service manager said he had noticed that, also - in other cars. After his mechanic looked at it, he said that if I needed any more adjustments to bring it in.
    Whether they did anything or not, I do not know, but I thought the problem was gone. On the other hand, I was exceptionally cautious when I approached places ( parking spaces) where I had had trouble.

    The other problem was 3 situations where there was a complete or partial failure of the brakes to work in low speeds and dry weather - there hasn't been any rain. The first case was in traffic where I would have hit the vehicle in front if the brakes had not suddenly grabbed. The other 2 case (occurring in the last week) were when I was driving slowly, but there was complete failure of the brakes.

    I am going to call the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin. at 888-327-4236 and file a complaint. Also I will investigate the possibility of my car being considered a lemon.
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