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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
57,338 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2008 Toyota Prius lights problems

lights problem

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2008 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 15 of 24)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #195

Oct 152010


  • 33,000 miles


2008 Toyota Prius with 33,000 miles experiences intermittent headlight failure. Both left and right side headlights go out at random while driving in any conditions - hot or cold, wet or dry, etc. Turning lights off then on sometimes resolves problem for a short period of time.

- Watertown, MA, USA

problem #194

Jun 152010


  • miles
Toyota Prius headlight defect. The light intermittently shut off. At times it would begin working by turning the lights off and on again, other times it would come on without doing anything and at times it wouldn't come back on at all.

- Plainfield, IN, USA

problem #193

Nov 122010


  • 62,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the headlights malfunctioned upon start-up. The dealer stated that the contact would be responsible for the cost for a new bulb. The vehicle had not been repaired. The current and failure mileages were approximately 62,000.

- Saint Helen , OR, USA

problem #192

Nov 012010


  • miles


Toyota Prius headlight problem.

- Novato, CA, USA

problem #191

Oct 262010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 32,001 miles
Toyota Prius hid headlamp goes out after turning on and warming up. Issue and concern is that the lamp appears functional at first and then goes out after some random period of time without any indication to the driver. Seems to be a common issue with the Prius hid lamps. Fixed by replacing bulb.

- Solana Beach, CA, USA

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problem #190

Oct 012010


  • 65,000 miles
Right headlight on 2008 Toyota Prius go out and to get it back on, the lights must be turned off and then on. This may happen several times during a drive.

- Marion, OH, USA

problem #189

Oct 012010


  • 68,500 miles


At random times the hid headlights on my 08 Toyota Prius will turn off. It happens to both lights but it has never happened to both lights at the same time, which may have caused an accident. The headlights will turn back on if I turn the power switch off and then back on. I have read on the internet that this same problem is happening with alot of Prius models.

- Fairfield, CA, USA

problem #188

Oct 212010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 30,104 miles
In January 2010 I began to suspect that the passenger-side high-intensity-discharge(hid) headlight of my 2008 Toyota Prius was not working properly. When driving at night, it seemed like my headlights were not evenly illuminating the road ahead of me. On several occasions I checked my headlights by turning on my vehicle and headlights, but saw both headlights illuminated properly. In early September 2010, I discovered the passengers-side headlight stopped illuminating approximately 5 minutes after turning on the headlights. As the weeks went on, the passenger-side headlight stopped illuminating more quickly. After I discovered the headlight malfunction, I did some online research and found hundreds of people experiencing the same thing. I learned NHTSA looked into the issue and decided not to issue a safety recall. As a result, I decided to wait until my 30,000 check-up to have the dealer look at my headlight. On Oct 21, 2010 I was driving on interstate 238 at night in the pouring rain. I was traveling approximately 60 mph when both headlights simultaneously stopped illuminating. Unable to see the road ahead of me due to the lack of headlights, I could not pull over. I slowed down to 50 mph, turned off the headlights then turned them back on. This caused both headlights to re-illuminate. The passenger side headlight stopped illuminating after about 60 seconds. It is a miracle I did not drive off the road and kill myself or someone else. My vehicle is still under warranty and Toyota is replacing both headlights.

- Walnut Creek, CA, USA

problem #187

Dec 172009


  • 43,031 miles
On 12/03/09 we were ticketed for a left headlight out on our 2008 Toyota Prius. We didn't know it was out or going out. It looked on to us. Two miles from home it looked as bright as ever. The next morning, as much as we tried, the garage could not find a bulb out, going out, weak, on or off, nothing was wrong! we had a funeral to go to and paid the fine. Two weeks later, a letter was mailed from Toyota listing issues regarding these hid lights stating that these suddenly go out, and on and off, among other things, near the end of their life. My car is a 2008. My husband and I cannot replace these expensive, exotic hid bulbs because access is in a very tight place and the bumper must be removed--seriously!!!! even if we could do it, these hid bulbs cannot be purchased in a normal automotive store. Anyhow, again on 10/17/10 I was several hours out of town, driving home on the interstate, at night, on a weekend, and the other headlight went out!!! I could not put in a new bulb myself. I had no one to call with this exotic hid light and certainly no one that would take off a bumper on the interstate. Sudden, complete light outage at night is a very serious safety issue. On top of this, hid headlamp problem, any light bulb needs to be relatively easy to replace. At $150. Per bulb, very pricey light plus bumper removal labor expense at 1 hour ($288), the Toyota dealership service clerk actually said "you chose this option." Help before someone gets killed on one of these dark roads (chances are this has occurred with no one alive to know this was the cause)!!!

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #186

Oct 222010


  • 47,000 miles
One of our headlamps began to fail intermittently without any apparent cause. The failure occurred on a frequent basis (25-75% of the time) but could not be caused. The dealer recommended we replace both bulbs due to the expense of removing the bumper which is required. The dealer claimed that it is normal for this type of hid bulb to fail at this time in the life of the vehicle.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #185

Oct 152010


  • 46,000 miles


Both of the front headlights on our 2008 Toyota Prius went out, simultaneously, while driving at night. Although quite frightening, fortunately, the incident happened on a well lit street at a slow speed and we were able to reach our destination safely. If this had occurred on a curvy road, darker area, etc. The results may have been deadly. Since both headlights went out, our assumption was that the issue was electrical or perhaps a blown fuse. We took the vehicle to a Toyota dealership where we were told, without inspection, that this was a known problem and that the headlights were defective. Furthermore, we were told that the problem is not covered under our extended warranty and we are expected to pay for the replacement bulbs, estimated at ~$500. It is extremely disappointing that Toyota is aware of this issue, has not notified its customers of the hazard, and has not recalled the part. At this point, we have no choice but to replace the bulbs immediately and at our expense, as we understand it is not safe to drive without headlights.

- Redondo Beach, CA, USA

problem #184

Jun 152010


  • miles
2008 Toyota Prius hid lights go out at night. Started to happen around 50K miles. I replaced the passenger side hid twice. The first time, it fixed the problem for several months. Now, after about 10 minutes, it turns off. Turning the lights off then on will bring the light back on, sometimes for minutes, often for seconds.

- Delhi, CA, USA

problem #183

Oct 052010


  • 38,000 miles
Passenger side headlight is not working on our 2008 Toyota Prius. It takes the very expensive hid bulbs. I do not know how long the bulb has not been working as it works for a minute then goes out. The vehicle has 38000 miles on it. A dealership has recommended replacing both bulbs at the same time to save money.

- Navarre, FL, USA

problem #182

Oct 142010


  • 70,200 miles
The driver side hid headlight on my 2008 Prius began flickering at 70,000 miles. The flicker would begin after 15 min of driving and then headlight would go out. Passenger side headlight was fine. I ordered a replacement bulb from internet because repair cost through dealer was over $200. I was driving home at night last Thursday and suddenly both headlights went out. There was never any flicker with passenger side headlight. I was plunged into complete darkness driving 55 mph on a dark country road. It was scary. I have never had a car do this. Dealer ship advises it will be nearly $500 to repair both headlights which I can not afford. I ordered another bulb through internet. I will not be able to drive my car at night until bulbs are replaced.

- Perry, MI, USA

problem #181

Aug 152010


  • 42,000 miles
2008 Toyota Prius headlamp on the passenger side fails intermittently while driving at night. Sometimes turning the lights off and back on solves the problem although this is not good to do at night. This seems like a safety issue that Toyota should have a recall on, but Toyota does not. They recommend a $300 replacement of both bulbs. I am worried that if both bulbs fail there will be a wreck. It seems like there are many complaints about this problem online that Toyota does not admit having a problem with.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #180

Sep 062010


  • 15,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. While driving 35 mph at night, both headlights flickered on and off. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer but the failure could not be duplicated. The contact called the manufacturer who stated that they offer no assistance if the dealer could not duplicate the problem. The failure mileage was 15,000.

- Richmaind, KY, USA

problem #179

May 042010


  • 35,000 miles
My 2008 Toyota Prius had a problem around May 2009 with it's hid headlamp - the headlamp will turn off without warning while I am driving the car - Toyota replaced the passenger side hid headlamp. Same problem I am experiencing with the driver side hid headlamp - light turns off while driving the Prius.

- Monroe, NJ, USA

problem #178

Apr 112008


  • 26,000 miles
Toyota Prius headlights flicker and go out intermittently every time the headlights are on since April of 2008 and when taken to the dealership for a repair, dealer informed me that there was nothing diagnostically wrong with my lights.

- Richmond, KY, USA

problem #177

Dec 102009


  • 40,000 miles
Toyota Prius headlights intermittently fail. When driving with the headlights on, one or both headlights will fail. Upon turning the lights off and back on using the headlight switch on the turn signal handle, the light(s) will come back on. The issue began in late 2009 and has continued to occur about 50% of the time when the car is used at night. It is usually limited to one headlight or the other and failure of both lights at the same time has only been seen once. Toyota customer support has stated to myself (and other owners) that the issue is "premature failure" of the hid (high-intensity discharge) headlights installed on 2006 - 2008 model priuses. They are aware of the issue and are offering "discounted" lights for only $150 each, with no discount offered for the labor-intensive process of replacing the lamps, which requires removal of the bumper. The vehicle is not compatible with any other type of bulb (such as the halogen bulbs that are standard on the newer Prius models), so owners are forced to pay Toyota an incredibly high fee (even after the discount) to get their cars safely back on the road. I have not had the issue resolved because of the high cost. This issue has been observed and documented by hundreds of owners on the forum and hundreds or thousands more on other websites. Previous NHTSA investigation documented that this problem may have been present in as many as 100,000 vehicles. This is a safety issue that needs to be dealt with by the manufacturer. The issue is apparently resolved in 2009 and later models because the hid lamps were replaced with halogen, but the danger of headlight failure on earlier models will remain high until Toyota makes the earlier models compatible with more reliable headlights. All of this assumes Toyota is being forthright in their claim that the hid bulbs are the culprit. If there is a bigger issue, consumers should obviously be made aware of that, as well.

- Erie, CO, USA

problem #176

Sep 172010


  • 43,754 miles
I purchased a new 2008 Toyota Prius in Feb. 2008. It has the xenon high-intensity discharge (hid) headlights. In Oct. 2009, the drivers side headlight went out and I took it to my dealer who replaced the bulb and computer sub-assy all under warranty. Dealer said good thing under warranty as bulb alone cost $300 (I was shocked). Dealer said bulb should not have gone out that quick (I have never had a vehicle have a bulb go out that quick. My mom has a Tahoe that is 10 yrs old, leaves lights on all the time when driving and has never had to replace the bulb). They replaced computer sub-assy as well to be safe. Weekend of Sept 17, 2010, passenger light started flickering and would be out sometimes and sometimes not. I took to dealer on 9/27/10 and had to have that bulb replaced. Car was out of warranty by 7,000 miles so it cost me $216. Thankfully the price of the bulbs had dropped from $300 to $150, though cost still ridiculous. Dealer did not replace computer part this time as they did in Oct. 2009. I got on web and noticed others have had this problem. Headlight bulbs going out in such a short time. I called Toyota, and of course was told nothing they could due since car out of warranty. Said to hold onto paperwork in case there was a recall. Decided to file complaint in hopes gov't will look into this issue that is a problem with a sizable number of Prius owners.

- Prairie Village, KS, USA

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