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It is about 115mi back to Sacramento.
Make sure the brakes work!
Get them checked at the dealer in South Lake Tahoe! Arrive alive.
Like others, I was traveling at a low speed, about 15mph. I had to do a quick stop because of a car stopped in my lane. There were parked cars on one side and opposing traffic on the other so I had no avoidance options. When I jammed on the brake, absolutely nothing happened before I hit the Imperial in front of me. The time from hitting the brakes and hitting the car was long enough for my wife to realize that we weren't stopping, shout "stop the car" and for me to reply "I'm trying to, but nothing is happening."
The dealership checked the car, and of course nothing mechanical was at fault. Toyota sent a regional rep to investigate, and a couple of days ago we got a letter from Toyota legal saying that obviously I did not step on the brakes until it was too late. Now we are getting the car repaired (we have insurance, and the cost is estimated at $4000 to $5000), but we are unsure what we will do with it when we are done. We don't like the idea of driving it - the though of cruising slowly into an intersection of fast moving cars doesn't appeal to us, nor the though of driving down a mountain without guard rails which we have done in other cars. If we sold it to someone ourselves and something happened we would feel like we had blood on our hands. Our best option is probably to sell it to a Toyota dealer so at least they would have the responsibility for future lawsuits.
What I would really like is for Toyota to fix the brake problem for my car. I really enjoyed it for the first two years. I don't expect to see a fix though, the recall would be too expensive for them, and stonewalling will probably see them through.
And, there have been 45 reports to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ (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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There is a recall in progress for floormats. Priui from MY '04 - '09, I believe.
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.
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.
What I am trying to say is not everything that happens, necessarily happens on purpose.
Tire pressures OKay? Tires not worn?
Too much speed? Braking too late?
Any function/malfunction lights illuminating on the dashboard?
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.
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'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).
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.
When I took my car into the dealership in Michigan, I came in with the many page printout of customer complaints posted at http://www.hybridcars.com/forums/brake-failure-2007-t1013.html . I appreciate that they took me seriously.
4 days ago it happened again. same exact scenario. I managed to limp it home and take my wife's car to work that day. We took the car in again Sat driving about 25 mph the whole way. Wouldn't you know it, by the time I got to the dealership, the error lights went out, and the brakes were magically working again.
I told them to take the time actually figure it out this time. I didn't even get back home before they called me up to tell me they were ready for me to pick it up again. (Really? Full in depth investigation into a critical system failure in less than 20 minutes). I went back to pick it up and was told that the error this time was the error from 14000 miles ago that for no good reason the computer "pulled back up from cache". They said they did a hard-reboot on the computer and that it is now totally fixed.
This sounds like BS to me, and my wife won't let me drive my car anymore. Has no one figured this out yet? I love my car, but if I can't drive it, I might as well trade it in for something else.
The one thing I can add is that in both failures, it was very cold out. I have a tendency to leave the parking brake engaged when not in the car, and the first indication of a problem in both cases was that the brake light did not turn off when I released the parking brake. I don't know if that might help a gear-head figure out what is really wrong, but it might be a suggestion that Prius owners always do the same, and not leave the parking lot if the brake light stays on when they release the brake.
What I mean by this is you should know how to drive a good old fashioned car with none of the bells and whistles or any of the electronic "crutches" that newer cars have. All the new "safety features" on newer cars are depended on way to much, resulting in drivers not having the requisite skills to drive the car safely if something fails. Any car that has ABS brakes will revert to good old fashioned standard brakes if something fails in the ABS.
As stated previously, ABS has NO effect on snow/ice/sand/loose gravel. Also, pumping the brakes is not recommended, just light constant braking way before the situtation becomes dire. Drive safely.
BLAM>>> hit it hard and hold it down, then BA activates and you come to a screeching stop. I've done it many many times.
PRESS it normally and then jam it down to stop and BA doesn't activate.
It's the same in all vehicles.
ABS will not help you to stop shorter in a panic situation. That's a common misconception that needs to be clarified. ABS only keeps the brakes from locking up the wheels so that the operator can steer out of danger. It has no other function. When it's activated you feel the vehicle and the pedal pulsating.
Wet and slippery roads will make stopping longer, there's no way around that.
The issue being monitored by the NHTSA is being discussed and analyzed by very knowledable engineers and techs over on the major Prius sites. Apparently from what those who've encountered it can explain it seems/feels like a surge as the braking switches from regen to hydraulic/friction braking. It only occurs at moderate to slow speeds and only when the tires hit good-sized bumps or defects like potholes. The sensation lasts about a half a second, but from what the various testers are discovering there is no increase in braking distance. It's a sensation to the operators but the vehicles stop as they should.
In my 140,000 miles or so if I ever felt it the sensation was so minimal that I adjusted immediately and continued without any reaction.
If the sensation is too severe for you to handle then you should unload the vehicle rather than be unhappy. I on the other hand plan to put another 140,000 miles on mine.
When someone posts a message that they had a problem with their brakes on a Prius, I am very tempted to believe them since I've been there and know quite well how it feels. And having talked to the people at the NHTSA I know that they are taking it seriously too.
Loss of braking entirely? If there are instances like yours then they appear to be very very isolated in a population here of Prius drivers totalling several hundred thousand. Why your case resulted in an accident once but not every time you braked is certainly curious. Now that they work again, curious again.
These sporadic anomolies that cannot be repeated are the worst kind to try to resolve. If there doesn't seem to be a problem when the vehicle is brought in, what is it that the techs or the engineers should attempt to fix?
The "surge" has happened twice too, and I expect it will happen again. It has only occurred to me after the car has gone through the car wash and is on the down hill grade driveway at this particular car wash. The other car wash I use is flat and I have not experienced it there. It's alot like when a very stiff clutch is let out too fast and then you push it in, let it out, etc. Hoppity hoppity. The first time it happened I wasn't too worried as the first time my G35 Coupe came out of the wash I had NO brakes for a second or so. Now that was scary (the car's a rocket)! But knowing the Prius may buck and jump, I now just be sure to use "light" pressure and not try to inch my way across the sidewalk. I just make sure the road is clear and drive away. Ditto informing the Mrs.
I have no worry Toyota will issue a recall if it's needed. As a student of the TPS and a 6 Sigma black belt, I have high confidence in Toyota to resolve the issue, if it is more than just a quirk of the series. It is interesting to note that the people below reporting low speed brake loss all seem to be in 2009 models. Is that a common trait (I haven't read all the thread, just a dozen or so).