Toyota Prius Brake Problems

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Comments

  • whitey9whitey9 Member Posts: 138
    Knowing that the two most important systems of a car are the braking system, and the steering system, I would sure as heck get any kind of a problem checked out before driving home thru the mountains.
    It is about 115mi back to Sacramento.
    Make sure the brakes work!

    Get them checked at the dealer in South Lake Tahoe! Arrive alive.
  • whardywhardy Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for the reply. I called the dealer last night and they called me back this morning. Nice guy said to bring the car in to check it out. I'm a little concerned about driving it all the way over there especially when I looked at the construction delays. Looks like it would take quite a bit longer and probably more stop and go traffic using the brakes even more. Not sure what to do.
  • whardywhardy Member Posts: 4
    Talked to the guy at the dealership. Will go to Tahoe City and down 89 instead tomorrow morning to have it checked out.
  • hal_cathal_cat Member Posts: 11
    You can bump the number of complaints up by one. I've finally submitted mine for my 2007 Prius with 37,020 miles.

    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.
  • jpeters1970jpeters1970 Member Posts: 82
    A lot of people don't realize that the Prius brakes differently than other cars. When you initially press the brake moderately and you're going 45MPH, the Disc/Drums are NOT engaging, but what is happening is that the generator is applied and converting energy for the battery, Yes the car is slowing down, but without the aid of the conventional braking system. If you slow down faster i.e. press harder, you will eventually engage the disc/drum brakes which will augment the braking power of the vehicle. I have 66,000 trouble free miles in my 2004 Prius and I've driven in snow, rain, dry weather and heavy stop and go city driving. I have never,ever had any incident with respect to the brakes not doing what they're supposed to. I did have one instance which scared the crap out of me and that was unintended acceleration. I had the car cleaned the day before and they put the mats back incorrectly. I took my foot off the accelerator and the car kept going faster!!! I immediately knew what the problem was, pulled over and remounted the mat on the holding pins. Based on the submissions to the NTSB site and also based on other sources (CR, Prius enthusiast sites) there is nothing wrong with the braking system of the Prius.
  • jacquescjacquesc Member Posts: 13
    There is something wrong with the break system. Occasionally a delay occurs between abrupt low speed brake pedal application and brake engagement. It hasn't happened to you - but it exists. And it is a design flaw. And has cost Prius owners thousands in deductibles and raised insurance rates.
  • hal_cathal_cat Member Posts: 11
    You are fortunate, as are almost a million other Prius drivers, who have never encountered the brake problem. I had driven 32K miles with no brake problems what-so-ever. I believe that the problem has to do with the interactions of the energy management software, the brake system software, and the brake hardware. I believe that the problem is the result of some very specific set of conditions which do not happen very often, given that hundreds of thousands of Priuses with the same equipment and software that I have are not crashing daily, or even monthly. I have 14 years experience in writing software for engines and transmissions. I understand how difficult it is to develop a fail-safe system, and how a very simple detail, like comparing two values incorrectly, can make the difference between something working correctly all the time or working correctly almost all the time, and with brakes, almost all the time is not good enough. I also believe that if it were happening all the time, the software and hardware engineers in Japan would have found the problem and corrected it. I do know that I slammed down the brakes hard when I wanted to stop, and that I got absolutely no observable response at all. (I don't know if it was charging my battery prior to slamming me into the car in front of me.) I sincerely hope that you don't have a brake failure like I had, but I know I won't, because I am dumping a two year old Prius which my wife refuses to ride in.
  • jpeters1970jpeters1970 Member Posts: 82
    It must be an extraordinary set of circumstances to replicate this from happening. There are over a million Prius out there and I happen to participate in numerous chats on other boards. I have not read anything about a brake issue other than a few on edmunds. Contrary to what another poster mentioned, my insurance rates have gone DOWN since I got my Prius. I haven't even heard/read anything in the media about it either. You know how stories like that tend to get everyone's attention. Like I said, with all the millions and millions of miles being accumulated daily you would think that this alleged problem would manifest itself more frequently. Oh FYI.... brake: stop break: broken. :blush:
  • nanster630nanster630 Member Posts: 2
    I just bought a certified used 2005 three weeks ago, and since then I have had this happen TWICE, which is why I'm on the Internet searching for information about it. Fortunately, so far, the break has eventually engaged just in the nick of time but it has made this usually very confident driver more than a little squeamish about driving in Chicago area traffic. I love every other aspect of this car. Are you telling me that Toyota refuses to acknowledge the problem, and there is no way to correct it? HELP!! :confuse:
  • nanster630nanster630 Member Posts: 2
    Minerva...I'm with you. I've only had my used 2005 for 3 weeks, and it's already almost failed (grabbed at the last minute) twice. Please let me know -- and I'll do the same -- if you hear about a class action suit. UGH!!! :lemon:
  • hal_cathal_cat Member Posts: 11
    In addition to Edmond, check out:
    http://www.hybridcars.com/forums/brake-failure-2007-t1013.html

    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.
  • mnwintermnwinter Member Posts: 1
    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!
  • jacquescjacquesc Member Posts: 13
    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 Member Posts: 138
    Yeah, it's just like with the Priui catching fire at/near the hybrid battery compartment. I have searched thru www.nhtsa.dot.gov 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 Member 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.
  • pjackiepjackie Member Posts: 1
    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.
  • hal_cathal_cat Member Posts: 11
    Be sure to file a report with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
    http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/
    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 Member 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.
  • jacquescjacquesc Member Posts: 13
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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.
  • oxymanoxyman Member Posts: 2
    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.
  • hal_cathal_cat Member Posts: 11
    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).
  • jacquescjacquesc Member Posts: 13
    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...
  • phatersphaters Member Posts: 2
    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.
  • oxymanoxyman Member Posts: 2
    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).
  • rickpoolerickpoole Member Posts: 27
    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.
  • hal_cathal_cat Member Posts: 11
    Certainly the rear brakes have changed, but I don't know that this requires a software change, and it is the software that I believe is the problem. One change they did make to the software (it is noted in the owners manual somewhere) is to record (black box style) information which would help diagnose what happened just prior to a crash. While having this information is a very good idea, it makes me suspicious that they cannot figure out what the problem is, or how to duplicate it, and are looking for data.

    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.
  • kcbcarmichaelkcbcarmichael Member Posts: 5
    I have a 3 month old 2010 Prius II and applied the brakes on snow/ice this morning and the brakes completely locked up. I felt no ABS at all. I had let off the brake and pump it myself. I don't have much experience with ABS except our 2003 Honda Odyssey has them and when they pulse you feel them. Anyway, I'm near 5k miles and am going to take it to the dealer to change the oil, disable the incredibly stupid beeping while in reverse, and now report the ABS isn't working. I'm sure I'll get a bunch of bull-crap from them about the ABS. I'll repost once I see what they say.
  • whitey9whitey9 Member Posts: 138
    ABS has no effect on snow, ice, sand, or loose gravel. If the road surface is loose or unstable ABS does not respond as it does on a wet, or dry road. The more advanced anti-skid ( ASR ) systems help prevent skidding and even spinning around, but NOT plain-old ABS.
  • hal_cathal_cat Member Posts: 11
    That's interesting... I was driving my 2010 Prius on snow/ice near South Bend Sunday AM, and the ABS kicked in quite nicely when I did a panic brake maneuver. I have had the ABS work nicely under snowy conditions in my 1998 Saturn. And I learned the effectiveness of ABS under simulated icy conditions during a training program at the GM proving grounds in 1996. Granted, in these cases it was quite slippery, more like icy conditions rather than loose snow or gravel. One of the paradoxes of our technologies is that we tend to depend on them and therefore don't learn how to respond when they can't cope with the situation at hand, and we take bigger risks assuming they will cope.
  • alwayslinux2alwayslinux2 Member Posts: 1
    I've had my 2007 Prius for almost a year now. Back in Feb I experienced the total brake failure problem. The parking break light was on (but the peddle was up), the ABS light came on, and the excamation point light was on. I aimed for some grass on the side of the road and coasted to a stop, and had the car towed to the dealership. They poked at it, and said there was a code (didn't tell me what) and that they had cleared it to fix the problem. Good as new.

    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.
  • michaelroymichaelroy Member Posts: 4
    Although not directly related to the exact brake issues in the past few posts, please see this article published today about other braking issues with the Prius.

    http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/2009/12/nhtsa-tracking-braking-loss-on-prius-hyb- rids/#more-17003
  • krashtkrasht Member Posts: 1
    One thing I think everyone should do is make sure they know the basics of driving.
    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.
  • whitey9whitey9 Member Posts: 138
    They will not disablew the "beeping while in reverse gear" system, as this is a safety system, and in doing so, leaves not only you, but them W-I-D-E open to litigation. In other words, if someone one gets hurt or dies, they will change the name on your house deed, and the auto dealership sign to the victims' survivors.
    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.
  • jacquescjacquesc Member Posts: 13
    I agree in most cases with the author of Take Responsibility For Your Own Driving, krasht. However, in the case of the Prius brake system failures occuring all across the country it is not something that falls under the "improve your driving and predict your next moves" category of accidents (or near accidents). I have been driving valet in busy downtown areas for years and never had more than a rim rub on the curb. After having my '09 Prius for 6 months I found my self in a situation that I have maneuvered my way out of tens of times before. But, with the braking being completely trumped by the recharge system for a few seconds there is nothing anyone can do to stop besides running into an object. A few seconds is a life time in such a situation. And in that lifetime of seconds we all hope to God that that object is not a pedestrian.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    As noted just above by whitey the ABS has nothing to do with stopping you in a shorter distance. It's Brake Assist that does that. Brake Assist is activated by the manner in which the brake pedal is hit.
    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.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    There are NO brake system failures all over the country. That's a gross exageration. The system is different and it feels different to new operators but they stop as they should. If the feel is not to your liking then the vehicle might not be for you but for your single experience there are literally hundreds of thousands of others who a) have felt it but know how to handle the feeling or b) have never felt it.

    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.
  • hal_cathal_cat Member Posts: 11
    OK, I have probably only driven 800,000 miles, and I only took advanced driver training on the GM Proving Grounds once so that I would be qualified to drive on the test tracks there, including skid control with anti-lock brakes, so it could be that I didn't know what I was feeling when I stepped on the brakes in my 2007 Prius, at a fairly low speed, and the car kept rolling right into the rear bumper of an Imperial that was stopped in the road. Having driven that Prius for 2 years did give my some feel for knowing when the brakes were applied, but perhaps I should drive one some more to fully understand the difference between brakes applied and brakes doing absolutely nothing. I do know that I had my food on the brake pedal and not the accelerator since the engine did not rev up. I also know that the floor pads were not the problem, since the next time I tried to use the brakes they worked just fine. I will have to admit that I don't know how a brake failure feels on other cars, but the brake failure on my Prius was definitely not to my liking.

    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.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    No one ever said anything about floor mats. At this point the main discussion seems to be revolving around the transition from regen braking to hydraulic braking and the feel of that transition.

    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?
  • silver9276silver9276 Member Posts: 2
    I had a similar experience with my 2009 Prius and have been driving it for months. The braking system is different than my previous Corolla- but I have adapted to it and there was nothing I could have done in my accident in Dec. 2009 where my brakes failed to work at a low speed. When I applied my brakes there was no response, no acceloration no slow down. I tried everything I could to avoid the accident but ended up rear-ending the car in front of me. Even my coworker who was in the car was suprised that the brakes just stopped working and the car was able to drive fine after the accident. Toyota came back with nothing and this really upsets me that there is nothing that they can do about it. And it scares me that other people have posted similar incidents and it is so difficult to replicate.
  • luvmypriusluvmyprius Member Posts: 1
    I am a high mileage driver and have been through many cars through the years. I have had my 2010 Prius for 5 months and love it but I have experience a problem twice now. Both times I had gone from park to drive so was a dead stop. What happens is that I engage the break, put the car in drive, and as I release the brake it accelerates forward - it is like in the old days when an engine would rev up but being in electric mode it is silent - at the same time the brake pedal locks at a very high level and the slightest release of pressure causes the car to lurch forward. The most recent time I was in the maintaince gargage after just getting my 5000 servicing. The guys inside started laughing because they thought I was afraid to approach the automatic doors as I lurched forward and stopped a few times before I just stopped and waved them over. When I put it in park I could feel the brake pressure release to a normal level and it was all over. I don't think the guys believed me and said they did nothing to cause it. I explained it was the 2nd time it happened. This is not something I'm willing to give up my car over just something that I am now aware of since it has happened twice. I was wondering if anyone else has experience similar problems.
  • jacquescjacquesc Member Posts: 13
    I've had both of these events occur. I have tried to bring it to the attention of Toyota with no avail. I've was a valet for 4 years w/o a fender bender - then, after 6 months in my '09 Prius I had a low speed break failure and hit the car in front of me. This deserves a recall with an actual fix.
  • whitecliffwhitecliff Member Posts: 2
    I have a new 2010 Prius, one month old and have experienced the surge problem mentioned above at least three times. It happened at slow to moderate speeds, and at least twice downhill over moderate bumps. This surge or acceleration increase is unacceptable and may be a warning of a complete break failure in the future. Toyota should take this one seriously.
  • margiepriusmargieprius Member Posts: 7
    I have the 2010 Prius, within a month of having the car I was in the dealer having the brakes checked- I have been a total of three times, all with issues relating to feeling of brake failure while slowing down on a bumpy road..they sent a "specialist" on the third visit, and we could not duplicate the issue. I was told to remove my floor mat which which we did- bottom line you can stop the car, you do not actually loose the brakes, there is a delay, if you slam on the brakes you will stop hard and potentially have the car behind you slam into your rear..there is a braking issue, the latest complaints are going to be good for us Prius Owners- perhaps now they will acknowledge the issue and address it...still I love my car...
  • heavyduty5heavyduty5 Member Posts: 1
    2010 Prius. First Prius, about my 5th Toyota, 20th car. First the lurch when going over a pot hole. I live in the mountains and have experienced this twice, and I am sure I can repeat it whenever I'd like, which I wouldn't. It was disturbing, but I was non-plused noting immediately that it did not effect my braking distance, but it is a "spooky" feeling - like hitting ice without the attendant slide into the embankment. I let my wife know about the "quirk" so she wouldn't freak if it happened to her. In the mean time, we avoid holes in the road.

    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).
  • Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
    We are receiving requests from reporters/journalists seeking to interview Prius owners with this issue. If you're willing to be interviewed, please send an email including a phone number and the best time(s) you can be reached to [email protected]

    Thanks!
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