Toyota Prius Brake Issue: From Japan to U.S.

By Automotive Staff | February 04, 2010
Are execs at Toyota and the people who own its cars saying, “Oh God, here we go again?” Reports say that slow moving brakes may have led to a collision in July just months after the next generation Prius went on sale in Japan. All told, reports say that at least 14 cases of possible brake problems have been claimed in Japan since the newest Prius went on sale in May. The company has not yet said that it will issue a recall but it did admit that problems with the brakes cannot be ruled out. All this on top of the unintended acceleration problems that caused the recall of millions of Toyota’s most popular models and the suspension of their sale and production, Toyota may have been hit with another quality-issue fiasco. The Japanese government has ordered Toyota to investigate reports of faulty brakes on its popular Prius hybrid. Moreover, the government said that it will be getting involved to determine if a recall is necessary. In the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reportedly received 136 complaints about faulty brakes on the 2010 Prius. Drivers say that the vehicle surges forward or temporarily loses braking capability after the car is driven over a pothole or other uneven surface. And many add that it is a recurring problem. Out of the 136 complaints, four involved a crash and in two of those four crashes, there were injuries.
Toyota admits that the brakes in the newest Prius are different from the previous model’s. The newest Prius has a new regenerative braking system. Regenerative brakes allows the car’s momentum to recharge the battery. Engineers say that regenerative brakes can help to improve a car’s fuel efficiency in city traffic by at least 10 percent. Toyota said that it is examining complaints that it is getting from its dealers on a case by case basis. If there is a problem with the regenerative brakes, then that could cause a problem for the auto industry as a whole. That’s because most hybrid cars have regenerative brakes. via New York Times