Great, Now People Are Complaining About Toyota's Brakes

Toyota is having a hell of a time lately. According to CNNMoney, “more than 100 complaints alleging poor brake performance have been lodged with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration against the 2010 Prius.” In addition, there have been 14 complaints in Japan. Ouch, if it’s not one pedal it’s another, eh?

The complaints allege that when one is driving a 2010 Prius over a bumpy or frozen surface, the brakes do not respond as expected. Instead the car lurches forward, which is the opposite of what you tend to want when braking.

We seached NHTSA’s complaint database and found several descriptions of the problem.

I own a 2010 Toyota prius ii. I’ve noticed that when I run over a bump or a pothole on the road, the car seems to accelerate or jolt forward. It happens while I brake to a stop sign and run over a bump or pothole. It has also happened while letting go of the gas pedal but not stepping on the brake. Therefore, I have to quickly step on the brake even harder to stop or slow down the car. During one incident, I nearly ran into a pedestrian crossing the street. It was a 4 way stop and I approached slowly. The pedestrian was directly in front of my vehicle and he had the right of way. I slowly approached and as my tire ran over the pained “stop” on the pavement, my vehicle jolted forward. It was a close call and it scared the pedestrian and myself. I went to a Toyota dealership and has asked about the problem. They said they don’t or have not had any complaints. Told me that mine was probably an isolated incident. I went home and googled to see if other prius drivers had the same experience. I was shocked to have read a few incidents of other prius owners experiencing the same thing.

I have a 2010 toyota prius that has often quit braking when i was driving on (a) a bumpy dirt road (2 times), (b) bumpy paved road (bumps caused by compacted snow) (2 times) and (c) a large dip in a road near my house (approx.10 times). The lapse in braking is probably less than a second, but scares me every time. Before my prius, I have always owned all-wheel drive vehicles, and I just attributed the lack of braking on the fact that i no longer have all wheel drive. But now that I think about it. That shouldn’t affect the braking! I can pretty much count on this happening over a bumpy road, or just one big bump, so if someone wants to drive my car and see what it does, that is fine with me.

Going downhill and approaching a stop sign. My foot is steady on the break and i am gradually coming to a stop. Then, I inadvertently go over a bump in the road and the prius lunges forward. I had to immediately slam hard on the breaks in order to keep the car from going into the intersection. Fortunately, there was no car or person in front of me as I was stopping.

I have a 2010 prius. When I am braking and hit some bumps in the road, my car lurches forward with brief spurts of acceleration. This has nothing to do with the gas pedal. It seems that others are having similar issues. This could be dangerous, especially on a wet road. And the roads are so terrible in Los Angeles, that I experience this problem more often than I would like. Hopefully enough people report this problem that Toyota takes action.

I have been careful but on 1/31/10 I was driving at 45mph beginning to decelerate as the light ahead had turned red, and the truck in front of me had to panic stop as a car cut in front of him, at that moment my rear left wheel hit a pothole so I was not able to break and actually accelerated toward the back of this truck. When the breaks reengaged I actually stopped 12 inches from his bumper. The consequences of this are an obvious safety hazard when you need to stop unexpectedly, you might well be endangering other drivers and/or pedestrians.

Well, that’s terrifying. Any 2010 Prius owners out there? Has this happened to you? If so, we recommend that you report it to NHTSA.

Complaints pile up about Prius brakes [CNNMoney]