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Toyota Prius Brake Problems



  • hal_cathal_cat Posts: 11
    In addition to Edmond, check out:

    And, there have been 45 reports to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration at (mine included)

    I vote :lemon:

    I am in the process of trading up to the latest (2010) Prius, in hopes that the brake problems are fixed. I will be driving with my left foot ready to hit the emergency brake, and as I always do, looking for where to swerve it the brakes don't hold.
  • I picked up my 2010 Prius three weeks ago. I am taking it in today because of brake issues experienced in the last 2 weeks. I spend a lot of time on the highway - haven't experienced problems there - just in town. The brakes engage initially - but then feel like they release. The last time it happened I was turning a corner - it was a little unnerving - that was when I decided it was going in!
  • They will probably tell you nothing is wrong. Same as they did me.
    Then, when you need the brakes the most you will hastily apply them, and they will delay in gripping or grip and kinda release. Resulting in a deductible and thousands in damage with diminished vehicle value (since the car has been in an accident). Finally, increased insurance rates. Hopefully no body gets hurt.
    FYI to all and Toyota: I have tried to report my concerns this with a discussion over the phone and have not had my voicemails returned.
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    Yeah, it's just like with the Priui catching fire at/near the hybrid battery compartment. I have searched thru for investigations into failing brakes, or fires, and have found NOTHING!
    The fires, I suspect, are the result of the hybrid system being modified by an aftermarket company, to become a "plug-in" Prius.
    I keep hearing about "no brakes", "brakes failing", but cannot reports, or investigations by the government.
    I have had issues with the HID bulbs "burning out", but no other defects have surfaced on my '07.
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    I know the feeling you are describing. Once an owner of a VW Beetle brought the car in to have the brakes checked.
    He declined to say ( or the service writer didn't write it down ) that he had replaced a section of the hydraulic brake line ( steel ) with some surgical rubber hose.
    Needless to say, when I applied the brakes, as I was test drving there was a "panic" in the cockpit due to the rubber hose inflating like a balloon whenever the brake pedal was depressed. NO BRAKING OCCURRED!
    The lack of confinement in a steel line did not allow the brakes to operate AT ALL!
    Therefore, the rapid pumping of the brake pedal in an attempt to slow the vehicle as I approached an immovable object, and the shreiking of the operator was clearly audible to those in the vicinity.
    Thank goodness the EMERGENCY brake worked better than the service brake.
  • Well, it happened to me yesterday (September 19,2009). I was in love with my 2008 Prius (despite having to spend a couple of hours to figure out how to operate the danged thing). I was pulling out of a parking lot, moving very slowly ,when I saw a car turn the corner and drive down the street which I was entering. I immediately applied the brakes HARD and to my dismay, NOTHING HAPPENED. I consequently rolled into the the approaching car (and SUV, wouldn't you know) and did thousands of dollars of damage to my beloved Prius. The cops of course issued me a ticket for failing to yield the right of way (correct) and said I must have hit the gas pedal instead of the brake (not correct). I do not feel safe in this vehicle. It is a horrible sensation to apply maximum brake force to the pedal and feel no response. I think it is a telling event that Toyota is changing their brake system in newer productions.
  • Be sure to file a report with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
    They have more clout than anyone individual, and as the number of reported problems goes up they will have more incentive and clout to work on getting the problem resolved.
    Note that the 2010 Prius now has a "black box" capability so that Toyota can find out the exact circumstances when the brakes failed so they can hopefully resolve the problems and make a safe car. Of course, Toyota totally denies that the brakes ever fail.
    BTW - I told the magistrate that the brakes failed, and my fine for my ticket was waived.
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    Check the floormat on the driver's side and make sure it isn't bunched up thusly not allowing the brake pedal to fully depress, or the throttle ( gas pedal ) to fully release.
    There is a recall in progress for floormats. Priui from MY '04 - '09, I believe.
  • There is a recall on the floor mats? That being true or not. You are absolutely ridiculous for thinking that the problem originated from my floor mat being bunched up.That would have been painfully obvious if that were the case.
    My floor mat has never budged from the position it was in when I bought the vehicle. The hooks at the back of the mat (nearest the seat) work very well as intended to prevent that from happening.

    I'm not sure if you people that right with alternate ideas for the problem are sincere, or work for Toyota. Because every idea seems to be misleading and in an attempt to redirect the consumer of the true and costly imperfection in the make of car.

    If you are truly attempting to help in a legitimate way... thank you for your input.
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    That's what the Lexus' occupants thot when they made an emergency call on their "On-Star" to see what could be done with their "runaway" car speeding down the highway at 120+mph.
    They said the brakes did not work, and they were unable to stop the car.

    Only 1 person died in the resulting crash, a bystander.
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    Without being overly coy, the purpose of bumpers on cars is when something happens that is not expected, or that does not normally occur.
    What I am trying to say is not everything that happens, necessarily happens on purpose.
    Stuff happens.
  • ggholgghol Posts: 1
    My 2008 Prius slides when I brake on wet roads. It's scary. Has anyone experienced this? Is it the brakes or the tires? I only have 21,000 miles on the car.
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    Slides? Or drifts ( sideways )? Steering sharply while braking?
    Tire pressures OKay? Tires not worn?
    Too much speed? Braking too late?
    Any function/malfunction lights illuminating on the dashboard?
  • vspin1vspin1 Posts: 1
    I have had this happen on more than one occassion on my 2007 Prius. I had to brake hard when a vehicle cut in front of me to make an unexpected turn, but it felt like the brakes never engaged. I hit the vehicle that cut me off, which caused no damage to his pickup truck, but about two thousand dollars worth to my Prius. I have contacted my dealer, the main Toyota company, and have spoken with a rep. Basically they sy that it needs to be documented by my dealer in a road test, but trying to simulate this is nearly impossible. I have new tires on the car, and it happened to me again about a week ago. I feel its a combination of ABS sensitivity, and the lack of weight of the car which causes this problem. . . but I can't prove anything at this point.
  • Success!!! Got it to happen without causing an accident. After reading all of these messages I decided to try this with our 2007 Prius. I've never put the car through its paces until I heard news of a recall. I didn't need wet conditions like reported on this site, just going down a hill over a speed bump at about 22-24 mph I slammed the brake and the car did not stop normally on first try. I'll need to videotape this to figure out how long before the brakes acted normally, but I experienced about 1 to 2 seconds of weak braking before I felt normal brake action with the car finally coming to a halt.

    I was also able to replicate in an empy parking lot in a spirited turn at about 20 mph. Every panic (stomp the brake like your life depends on it) brake application results in extremely weak braking action. When I hit the brake less violently the car stops normally under control also.

    I did not feel the ABS pulse in any of these tests until the last few milliseconds before the final stop. The anti-skid light came on in many of these tests so I suspect that the system is overriding my panic stop. In my mind this is clearly caused by a system (software & hardware) malfunction, or design flaw, not mats, hitting the wrong pedal etc.

    While my tests were certainly not standard I you should know that I have experience autocrossing with the Porsche Club of America and know how to test a car and see how it should react to driver inputs. In my mind there is no question that the Gen II Prius could be deadly in a panic stop. While I would be comfortable in my ability to handle a panic stop in this car I would gauge it as being dangerous for general public use until Toyota reprograms or redesigns the braking systems.

    My next step is to contact Toyota and find out if they have a solution. Otherwise I will have to video tape my tests as evidence should it be needed.
  • Please forward your comments and test results to the National Highway Traffic Safety Board. There needs to be corrective action and a recall before someone is killed by malfunctioning software. (I don't believe the problem is mechanical).
  • Fantastic job on the testing. I have performed similar tests which resulted with the same conclusion. I was appauled with the attempt to create a campaign to pitch the problem being the floor mats. Almost as if they had planned it from before the vehicle release.
    I have attempted to contact Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Board -- but, have not yet recieved a repsonse.

    Please continue your exposure of this plight with aggression...
  • I had a problem with my 2009 Prius a few days ago, scared me to death. I was driving down a hill and the roads were wet. I was going about 30mph. The car in front of me hit the brakes due to the guy in front of her decided he wanted to turn right. Anyway, I hit the brakes and the car started jumping! It felt like it was in slow motion. I had 2 1/2 to 3 car lenghs in front of me yet the car kept stopping and then jumping. I had plenty of time to look around. I looked at the floor mat, it was fine. My foot was hard on the brake, I looked to make sure the car was in drive and it was, I then put both feet on the brake and still the car keep jumping until I hit the lady in front of me. I'm really scared to drive this car, living in Seattle there are a lot of hills and the roads are always wet! I must say when I test drove the Prius what sold me is the sales guy was bragging about the brakes and that they could save my life someday. We drove the car up to 50mph and slammed on the brakes and it stopped on a dime. Now with that said the roads were dry. I've called Toyota to complain, haven't heard back yet.
  • I have been able to carry out a couple more test with our car over the Thanksgiving holiday. I've found that the brake delay symptom is harder to evoke on a full fuel tank. Also we had rain recently and I took our 2007 out and easily provoked a 1-1/2 second brake delay going downhill on a wet road coming off a speed bump, and after passing over a storm drain. The ABS came on hard only after the delay and I was able to stop with no further problem (My wet road tests were with full fuel tank).

    I'm presenting my findings in writing to Toyota and will document their response to the ODI office of the NHTSA if I judge it to be irresponsible in light of the public risk. In the meantime I've found someone with an accelerometer that I can borrow to get some hard facts on this, and remove subjectivity. I'll post the results of our g-force tests here when I get that done.

    I hope that the Anti-skid system interference in Prius braking is easy to fix (without causing other problems).
  • Has anyone who has experienced the Prius brake failure/delay reported it to one of the Toyota dealers in the Dallas, TX area? I called all the service managers in the Dallas area and all of them denied this problem exists and said they had never had anyone report it to them. A few of them claimed all of these were made up stories from people who didn't want the Prius to succeed. Even after pointing out all the reports on the NHTSA website these few still denied the problem exists and still thought people were making these up. Given that the 5 other cars we've considered have a sum total number of brake failure reports of zero and I counted 50 for the 2004-2009 Prius in just a few minutes there is obviously an issue with more than just a few cars. I even called the regional Toyota Service Manager and got the infamous "since we can't duplicate it there is no problem and it is user error" crap.

    The one question I could not get answered by either the service managers or the regional manager was if the 2010 Prius brake system was redesigned to solve this problem. I was hoping to confirm this was the case since we're really interested in the 2010 Prius.
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