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Toyota Prius Brake Problems



  • I went through New York's Lemon Law arbitration back in 2010 shortly after the recall and lost my case, primarily due to the arbitrator who was completely incompetent. I too had my car "fixed" but still experience the braking issue when I brake over a bump, manhole cover, etc. It's hard to replicate, especially during an arbitration case. I would check out the latest information on this issue on the NHTSA Web site to see what others have continued to report on this issue. But I would say it's going to be a longshot to win your arbitration despite your continued concern about the safety. What I have come to learn is that most cars have recallable issues and it's just a matter of how well a company addresses it.
  • cgollihercgolliher Posts: 16
    I was lucky, I guess! A few months after getting my Prius fixed after my off road event, a huge 4x4 pick up ran right over the little car. The driver never even saw me sitting behind him. The car was totaled, and I was okay except for a few bumps and bruises. I am just thankful to be rid of that car and to still be alive. It was a "death trap!". Good luck! My insurance company is still involved in a suit against Toyota! Go out and buy
    an American made car! Support your country and be safe!
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    The car is obviously NOT a "death trap" since you obviously SURVIVED!
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    Please learn how to correctly spell "brake'. It will lend to your credibility.
  • lovedove41lovedove41 Posts: 3
    edited June 2012
    ...I just paid off my car. If I had any money right now to spend on another new car or rental to drive, then there would be more options. ....I kind of bought a Toyota Prius (new) because I thought it was safe and would keep me safe. That is not what has happened in this case and the car should have had no problem to begin with. At least, I thought I was buying a good car from a good company. This also was not the case.
  • Is is strange that they were the ones who wanted to start this whole arbitration process? They were the ones who mentioned it first and the conversation prior to that wasn't about going to court at all??
  • cgollihercgolliher Posts: 16
    Well Whitey, I consider that car a "death trap" because the braking system was the worst I have ever driven and I always felt like I was on the verge of not stopping and at any moment being at high risk for being involved in a collision that could end my life. I NEVER allowed either of my teens to drive the car because of this fact. So please don't tell me what my car was or was not. You would certainly feel like an jerk if someone out there today or tomorrow in the same car exp brake malfunction and dies as a result.
  • I have a 2010 Prius IV and with the exception of the brakes it has been a safe and reliable car. I have not had any problems with unexpected/unprovoked acceleration. The cruise control has performed flawlessly. I have had problems with the brakes under certain conditions but not near as bad as some of the reports I have read. I tend to believe some of these are exaggerated.
    I first noticed a braking problem the first winter after I purchased the car, in Nov 2010. During a soft stop when one wheel went over a pothole or drop in pavement, such as after a bridge where the asphalt was lower than the concrete on the bridge, the brakes would fail for a split second. This happened sometimes when I slowed down before a stop sign or stop light and hit a pothole with one tire. It also happened if I braked when one front wheel was on pavement and the other passed over a patch of ice. In these cases would lose brakes for about for about 6 feet, then they'd catch. I took the car in and the dealer couldn't find any problems. After it happened several more times that winter I took it back again. They said there was a software update that should correct the problem. It didn't. Sometimes the brakes fail, for a short distance, under the same circumstances. It has never occurred during a hard stop, only during a soft stop and under 30mph. I believe it has to do with the regenerative braking and ABS systems not working together properly. I've learned to live with it and always leave plenty of stopping distance, and avoid potholes when I come to a stop.
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    I too own a 2010 Prius 4 and I too went through a similar process of learning to live with the switchover from regenerative barking to ABS. It is not a "flaw" it is the way the systems are designed, to date. Toyota is not the only manufacturer using a similar regenerative-ABS barking system. The other manufacturer's hybrids are experiencing a similar barking response during the switchover. So I've taught myself and my wife how to respond when barking systems causes that moment of "anxiety". We still have faith in the car and we are still happy we made the move over to the Prius. We have over 42K miles of low maintenance costs and no problems except for adjusting to driving a hybrid vehicle.
  • I have a 2010 Prius, about 26500 miles. Just two weeks ago, I experienced very bad accident by unintended acceleration. I was backing this Prius slowly towards the left direction ( I needed to go to right direction) in a flat and dry surface, my foot was on brake--like we all do when we are backing. All the sudden, it started accelerating, in a few seconds, it turned >360 degree clockwise. I then passed out because of the fast turning and because I was so scared. The car kept going wild, passed two curbs and hit a truck backward and bounced back, then stopped by itself—because two tires on driver side got exploded when the car passed two curbs.

    Fortunately, no one was in the truck. Since the tires go flat before it hit the truck, I guess it was not as fast as it began accelerating, so I didn’t get injured.

    The local Toyota collision center checked the car and told me there was no problem with brake and gas paddle. They didn’t believe me and said they never heard of Prius unintended acceleration problem.

    Insurance said it’s my fault.

    I claimed the problem to Toyota. They said we can inspect your car, but it will take up to 3 months. And I need to pay the parking fee in the collision center. Is this crazy? Anyone has a suggestion as what I need to do? Thanks a lot!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,515
    >hen I need to stop my car, i just push DOWN on the brake pedal. I do not ride around in circles tying to see how much damage I can inflict.

    Your statement that the poster tried to see how much damage he/she could do as a result of the quick movement of the car sounds like you are saying the poster intentionally did this? I disagree.

    You weren't there.

    >When I need to stop my car, i just push DOWN on the brake pedal.

    That didn't work for several people who claim their toyota products had runaway acceleration in the forward mode. Despite the floormats, sticky accelerator pedal sensor unit, and the use of NASA to supposedly rule out ALL electronic malfunctions of the drive-by-wire of the nonhybrid toyotas, I don't believe it is all solved.

    I read that this poster had something unexpected happen in reverse and that caused the driver to lose control. It seems as if the spinning or surprise caused them to faint or become uncapable of trying further to control the car. I accept that. Our concern is did the car do something unexpected, not was the poster trying to do as much damage as possible.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • I have to agree with the other post questioning the validity of your incident. It sounds like you were high, or low, on something. I doubt that a Prius turning circles, frontwards or backwards, can turn enough Gs to make one pass out. Why didn't you turn of the car off, try placing it in park or forward, or press on the parking brake. Since you didn't mention this I have to think you are not telling the whole story. If you are telling the truth then turn your car over to Toyota and have them extract the data from the on-board computer to see what really happened. I'm sure insurance claims agents have heard it all.

    I've had my 2010 Prius for 45,000 miles and it's been a superb car, saving me a LOT on gas. It's one of the few cars that delivers the MPG they advertise.
  • I was trying to stop the prius when i saw a car coming on my way. My foot was on brake. But the car itself suddenly accelrated, and turning >360 degree backward in a few seconds. I can't control the car when the car was going crazy like this. I was very scared that I passed out. I am a female, never had experienced such a terrible situation.

    I found a website describing the unintended accelration in two situations: low speed and high speed. "low speed" refers to when we are parking or or backing up or trying to change a parking position when the car accelerates by itself; "high speed" means when we are driving it froward in relatively high speed. My case is the "low speed" one.

    I contacted Toyota. They will take the EDR (Event Data Recorder) to analyse--it will tak up to 3 months for them to do it! But I am afraid they will conclude that I stepped on both Brake and Gas paddle at the same time, like some posters said.

    I was pround of my Prius before the accident. I told a lot of coworkers how fuel efficient it iwas. Some of them brought Prius recently, some of them were planning to buy. But now I am much more concerned of safety than saving gas. When they heard of this accident (some of them saw it), a lot of them don't want to go with Prius.
  • Apparently those "extraordinary set of circumstances" happened to a large enough number of people that the manufacturer decided that a fix was needed.

    From the article:
    A Toyota spokesman said the Prius braking problem is caused by a computer glitch which creates a lag in response between the regenerative braking system (which captures energy during braking to improve fuel economy) and the antilock brakes (which help the car continue to steer under emergency braking situations). The problem occurs when the brakes are applied while the car is traveling over bumpy surfaces or in wet conditions.
  • I bought a 2011 Prius in March 2012. I thought all the issues with the brakes were taken care of back in 2009 and honestly thought it was all just people trying to get rich. My car has the brake hesitation problem, dealer can find nothing wrong and the dealer said that I was the first person to bring up this complaint. I believed them and thought I had a lemon or that maybe I was just a little jumpy about my brakes. The problem has been happening more and more. I decided to do a little research and I was immediately outraged to learn that this has been an issues with these cars for years and 1000's are reporting it. Dealership doesn't know whats wrong still and that car has developed other electronic issues such as the smart key system malfunctioning and the security system not letting me lock the car. I have a 6 month old car with 10K miles on it and its the first new car I have ever bought but I'm scared to drive it.
  • I have this car for a year now and still experiencing sudden acceleration at times when I slightly press the brakes and the car hits a small bump or pot hole, it accelerates. I almost hit a pedestrian in two incidences, and many times almost rear ended other cars. I complained to my dealer but they said they did not find anything wrong with my car. They have emailed an engineer from California about it. It's been a month and I did not hear from them yet. Does anyone have a solution about this matter? I do not want to get into a car accident or hit a pedestrian....
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    What you are experiencing is the "delay" in the transition from regenerative, FRONT wheel ONLY, braking, to frictional braking ONLY, braking on all 4 wheels. Not that the addition of rear braking makes much difference in most cases.

    Obviously the car "wants" to use regen braking, especially so if the HV battery charge is close to being marginal. regen braking only occurs on the front know, the one's you constantly rely on for directional control.

    So any, even the smallest, indication of front wheel slip during braking will be, MUST BE, reacted to instantly. So, would you like to have, with definity, a sudded increase in braking rate, or a "slow" transition into a less pronounced braking mode...?

    There is a serious level of MG mass inertia to be ovecome inside the PSD/CVT in switching from "brake" to "neutral". The multiphase rotating electric field(s) inside the MGs cannot "lead" the rotor by too great a margin without the possibly of becoming unlocked.

    And you DO NOT want the frictional braking to come online until most of the regen braking has been abated.

    Drive the new RWD Infinity to get an idea of the overall driving dynamics of a RWD hybrid vs a FWD.

    Hard call for the design engineers.

    An ideal solution overall would be ofr the Prius to become a RWD hybrid.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..sudden acceleration..."

    More like "lurch forward" as the regen braking is released, "wound down", during the transition to frictional braking, with all wheel "distributed" FRICTIONAL braking and ABS capability.

    Regen braking can be PERFECTLY "metered", fine resolution modulation, moderation, while frictional braking simply cannot be. So Toyota dare not bring on frictional braking until regen braking is mostly "wound down", the PSD has gone from regen mode (reverse[?]) to "neutral"

    The only solution I can think of is to ALWAYS brake EARLY and HARD, only lighten the braking once you have slowed to your comfort level with DEFINITY. Always "coast" up to a final stop.
  • I'm having the same problems with my 2011 Prius, purchased in July 2011. After only a month or so of driving it, I started to become scared daily by the unsafe driving conditions due to the car's tendency to lurch forward while braking over bumpy ground coming to a stop. It does not help to always "brake early and hard" as another poster suggested because the car simply fails to brake when it hits potholes - it doesn't matter how hard you're pressing the brakes. I also brought this to the dealer's attention last fall and they said they checked the brake system and there was "nothing wrong, that's just how the braking system works." I know that this exact issue is a problem on 2010's but have not found a recall for 2011's and the dealer claims there is no issue on my car.

    Well, now this "non-issue" has caused an accident as my husband was driving my car last weekend and the car lurched forward while he was braking over potholes (there are a lot of them around San Diego) coming up to a stoplight and it didn't stop and it resulted in him rear-ending someone. There was no damage to the Prius, just some dings in the bumper of the other car, but $2000 later I feel pretty upset that my Prius clearly is not reliably safe to drive. I'm going back to Toyota soon with my documentation in hand that I brought this issue to their attention months ago and I'd like to see what they have to say now it's led to an accident because they ignored the problem.

    I also have other electronic issues with it - smart key system not working well either. It completely failed about 2 months after I got it, then Toyota reset it and it hasn't worked as well as new since. Oh and the radio system sounds terrible, with lots of electronic interference that makes the sound very muted. It will sound clear for a split second when I turn the car on or switch from CD to radio, and then it gets muffled. Dealer also found "nothing wrong" on the radio. I do like the car but am seriously frustrated to have spent so much money on a car that does not perform as a new car should or provide the level of safety a consumer would expect.
  • Keep up the pressure on these problems. I have tried a ton to really fight these issues we are all having. However, on this forum every response seems to be from someone that has been employed by Toyota to pacify the complaints.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Most defintely not, NEVER, employed by Toyota...


    "Pioneer 10" Osprey
  • lmmaralmmara Posts: 6
    edited December 2012
    I have a 2011 Prius III and would like to know when and how it switches from regenerative braking to normal braking when stopping or slowing down? I am also interested in what happens as I apply the brakes when the cruse control is functioning. This knowledge will help us maximize the regeneration and extend our Prius's brake life.

    Thank you,
  • I purchased a new 2012 Toyota Prius and absolutely loved the car....except....

    Within one month, I had 3 'incidents,' the first was when it transitioned from battery to motor with such severe force, I initially believed I had been struck in the rear.

    The second 2 incidents were BRAKE FAILURE - the pedal traveled to the floor and a dashboard warning light came on - there were NO BRAKES!

    I demonstrated the BRAKE FAILURE to the Route 44 Toyota technician repeatedly as he sat in the passenger seat, yet the dealer's response? "No Computer Error Message" !

    How often has Toyota employed that phony response??

    I refused to drive the vehicle to prevent injury or death to an innocent person, maybe a child in a crosswalk in front of my LEMON Prius.


    The comments and complaints posted here seem consistent with the quirky or failed brakes I experienced.

    Might I recommend that you post your complaints on the NHTSA web site - that's the only way Toyota will correct this problem.

    Consumers also have a right to file a Petition for Defect Investigation with NHTSA in which you itemize other complaints that are publicly available.

    You might also consider posting your complaint on the web site of the Center for Auto Safety.

    How many innocent people must die or be injured before Toyota corrects this problem?

    Whining in this forum doesn't solve the problem.
  • I have the same issue as everyone else with our 2010 Toyota Prius...hit a bump and the brakes don't work for a short time AND the care 'accelerates.' I've taken the car to one dealer who says the issue 'can't be duplicated' and the other says that Toyota (corporate) does not see this as an issue so it is not covered under my extended warranty. Has anyone had any luck getting their brakes actually fixed? Any advice? I don't want my wife driving around in a car that is going to randomly accelerate when in fact, she wants to brake.
  • rikki22rikki22 Posts: 1
    I've had the same issues with my 2006 Prius. Feels like you have no control for a second when braking over bumps/potholes. One back road I take often has a 90* corner. I never go fast, it is thickly settled with a park and lots of kids. Maybe 10-15 mph over the bumpy patch just before the corner and the problem happens without fail. I usually am able to go around it but not if someone is coming the other way. Some people are saying to apply the brakes harder, that won't work for me as I am not actually stopping, just slowing. It has happened numerous times in other places but this is one place it always happens and as I said, NOT going fast at all. I've read other blogs where many people have had issues with their 2006 as well so how come there was a recall issued only the 2010?
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 320
    edited June 2013
    I have had that happen with regular cars with anti-lock brakes when braking on bumpy roads. Cars without anti-lock brakes won't do that.
  • kateinpvkateinpv Posts: 1
    I'm trying to understand what just happened in my Prius. It's a 2012 plug in and I have been telling everyone it's the perfect car and it was-- until tonight. I was on my way to a lecture and going down a hill when the car suddenly began to lurch. It's hard to describe it accurately. It was almost as though I had decided to break violently five times in a row. It later reminded me of what happened when our two teenagers had problems learning to drive a stick shift--the car just lurched on it's own. forward and back. The seatbelt went on suddenly as though I were going to crash, throwing me back tightly in my seat. It was very frightening.
    I decided not to go the event. Instead went straight to the Toyota dealer nearby. They were closing but a very kind employee ran and got the manager as he was about to drive home. The manager suggested I bring it in tomorrow morning and they would loan me a car. And he said the problem might be "unassisted braking" something a lot of cars now have.
    I was too scared to continue on to my lecture so I came home. I tried going up and down the same hill since there were no cars around. I wanted to understand what happened. But the car didn't repeat the lurching problem.
    I would greatly appreciate if someone could explain what happened. I'm scared to drive it. But I have really loved the car and had no other problems with it. It seemed like the absolutely perfect car. Would appreciate any input or solutions. Tomorrow I will take it back to the dealer but in reading the other posts, I suspect that there isn't a problem that will be detectable. Although I don't know that yet.
    Thanks in advance for any and all input.
  • I have a 2007 Prius. The car was involved with an accident on August 30, 2013 because "no brake". It was in a stop and go situation travelling at about 20 miles per hour. The car in front stopped, I slamped on the brake and TOTAL no brake. My 16 years old son sitting at the car observed the "no brake" scenerio. There was a 25 pound of rice at the truck did not even more. No skip mark... nothing. Took my car to Longo Toyota and found nothing with the brake system other than the front pad is thin, tire is marginal etc. None of the findings expain the NO BRAKE scenerio. For some reason I cannot make this NO BRAKE to appear again. I want people to aware of this and gather information to alert someone to review the design of PRIUS braking system.
  • my break light comes on in my 2013 Toyota Prius

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,966

    @celerybean said:
    my break light comes on in my 2013 Toyota Prius

    A few more details will help. Do you mean a light on the dash?

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