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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
57,890 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 19 of 24)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #117

Mar 052010


  • 49,000 miles


Headlights often go out. If I stop and manipulate the connection, it will come back on. There is no guarantee the light will stay on. Primarily happens on the drivers side light but passenger side has also gone out. They have never(as yet) both gone out at the same time.

- Lawrenceville, IL, USA

problem #116

Feb 062010


  • 30,200 miles
Approx. One month ago I noticed that the headlights on my 2008 Toyota Prius would intermittently turn off while I was driving. This has happened on at least 4 occasions. Three times only the left headlight would go out, and one time both headlights went out simultaneously. I don't do too much night driving so I don't know exactly when the problem began, but my best estimate is one month ago. Again, this is an intermittent problem as the vast majority of the time the headlights are working as they should. I know of no cause for this problem as the situation has occurred during freeway driving during clear conditions and rain conditions, as well on when driving on surface streets. When both headlights went completely out it was dusk and I was only a block from home. The 3 other times when just the left headlight went out I knew of no way to get the light back on and just continued my trip with one headlight functioning.

- Pismo Beach, CA, USA

problem #115

Jan 192010


  • 20,000 miles
While driving my 2008 Prius at approximately 2 a.M.on a mountainous road with many curves and wildlife the passenger headlight went out in both the high and low beams. I was startled and swerved, but luckily I maintained control of the car. I did not feel safe driving while it was still dark. At the first opportunity I pulled of the road in a safe place and spent the remainder of the night in the car. When it was light enough to continue I drove to my destination and called the local Toyota dealer and was utterly shocked when I was told what it would cost to replace the bulb. I am on a fixed income and this posed a financial hardship. The car only had a little less than 20,000 miles. I have since learned that this is a common problem. Not only is the cost to replace a bulb (yes a bulb) ridiculous but this poses a safety hazard and Toyota should "be made" to correct this defect.

- Lake Havasu City, AZ, USA

problem #114

Feb 212010


  • 22,400 miles


I have a 08 Prius. Several days ago someone told me that one day-time running light was out. Two nights ago I checked and both lights were working so I thought I was ok. Last night after driving about an hour, both head lights went out. I turned the switch off and on again and the lights came back on. About a minute later the right light went off. After another hour of driving the left light went out and I repeated the turn on cycle and it stayed another coupler hours. (I drove home with the flasher as this would have enabled me to see the road a little is case the light went out again., ) I made it home ok and am contacting my dealer today.

- Tullahoma, TN, USA

problem #113

Feb 152010


  • 19,100 miles
Intermittent operation of hid headlight (one side) on 2008 Toyota Prius. Sometimes both hid headlights work as intended; sometimes one (in this case the left) headlight ceases to work.

- Hillsboro, OR, USA

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problem #112

Feb 142010


  • 21,000 miles
Premature headlight failure at 20,000 miles.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #111

Nov 142009


  • 55,000 miles


I have about 57,000 miles on my 2008 Toyota Prius. When driving at night the headlights will go out. Not both but either the left or right headlight. The left more than the passenger side. If I turn the lights off and back on the lights re light. As my running lights are on, oncoming traffic can still see me coming, but my vision is greatly reduced.

- Ft. Mitchell, KY, USA

problem #110

Nov 052009


  • 20,000 miles
After owning our 2008 Toyota Prius hybrid for 2 years, we have had to replace both headlamps already. They both failed prematurely. Fortunately for us our dealership replaced the headlamps with no charge as we are well under the 36,000 mile warranty. My question is what is going to happen when that warranty expires, and it will soon. Will Toyota or our dealership keep replacing these headlights bulbs. I think not! they will more than likely make me pay for them! with the 35 complaints that are listed here about the same issue, one would expect/demand that Toyota would voluntarily cover the costs involved with replacing these headlight bulbs, that keep going out prematurely. Surely this is a safety hazard as we need 2 working headlights to avoid being ticketed by the police. My wife and I are extremely disappointed with Toyota that these headlight bulbs keep failing prematurely! why is there not a recall issue about these headlight bulbs. Surely they should last a lot longer than 2 years. I have owned vehicles that never had the headlight bulbs replaced. One in particular was a 1987 camaro with 187,000 miles on it. Neither headlight bulbs were ever replaced on that vehicle in the 12 years we owned it.

- Fort Mohave, AZ, USA

problem #109

Jul 072009


  • 15,000 miles
Headlights unexpectedly stop working.

- Basalt, CO, USA

problem #108

Jan 032010


  • 65,500 miles
Hid headlights go out when driving. Sometimes can be turned on again by turn off headlight and turning the switch back on. The headlights go out one at a time.

- South Windsor, CT, USA

problem #107

Sep 152009


  • 34,000 miles


2008 Toyota Prius (touring model) -- driver side hid headlight began to fail in Sept 2009. Became more frequent as time elapsed (would occur 3+ times during 30 minute trip). Turning lights off and back on temporarily resolved issue, but driver bulb would eventually fail again. Resulted in reduced visibility and potential blind spot for driver in front of vehicle. Researched online - suspected ECU. Contacted Toyota corporate around December 2009. Was advised that ECU was not the problem - bulb repair suggested. Dealer diagnostic suggested. Did not go to deal to spend $100 to tell me a light bulb should be replaced. Received notice Jan 2010 that symptoms matching mine was due to headlight reaching end of life. Ordered and attempted to replace bulbs in Jan 2010. Did not bring to Toyota as cost to replace bulbs was at least 6X more that "do it yourself". attempt to replace bulbs resulted in mixed success. Was able to get both hid headlights replaced and functioning (after passenger side or driver side would not remain on consistently). Tested high beams - after high beams were disengaged both headlights went out, but headlight switch remained engaged. Disconnected and reconnected wiring. Only passenger side bulb functioned. Afraid to use high beams and no faith in headlights. Reluctant to spend hundreds of dollars to have dealer change bulbs, same problem occur, and spend hundreds or 1,000+ dollars. Original bulbs retained and I will be putting them back in once weather is warmer. Strong belief that bulbs are not to blame and ECU or other electrical component is at fault. Dozens of similar issues reported online.

- Medford, MA, USA

problem #106

Jan 262009


  • 39,000 miles
Hid bulb went out on front left of car when it was just out of warranty.

- Clermont, FL, USA

problem #105

Nov 282009


  • miles
2008 Toyota Prius. Brakes seems to "lose hold" when driving at slow speeds and hitting a bump in the road. The loss of braking seems to only last for a fraction of a second but is very disconcerting. Also, driver's side headlamp kept malfunctioning, going off periodically when driving. Dealer could not replicate problem in shop, so stated there was no problem. Took car back three additional times for same issue. Finally dealer said there'd been numerous complaints and changed out the headlamp at a cost of $250. ($150 for the headlamp and $100 for labor) later got a letter from Toyota acknowledging the faulty headlamp issue, but said Toyota had given us a discount by only charging $150 for the headlamp instead of the regular $300 cost. $300 for a headlamp seems excessive and if it's a common issue why is Toyota not issuing a recall for this matter.

- Midway, KY, USA

problem #104

Oct 092009


  • miles
The headlights on my 2008 Prius will intermittenlty fail, sometimes both at the same time while driving. The intermittent failure is daily, and will happen several times depending upon the duration of the drive.

- Elkton, MD, USA

problem #103

Jan 302010


  • miles
Hid going on and off constantly.

- New York, NY, USA

problem #102

Jan 152010


  • 38,500 miles
I own at 2008 Toyota Prius. Recently, I was driving at night on a dark stretch of rt. 15 in pa and my headlight turned off. I thought I must have somehow hit something to cause it to turn of, I quickly turned the knob and it went on again. It has since happened a few times and may in fact have happened more frequently but I only notice it if I'm on a unlite or not well traveled road. I see from Prius owners' message boards that it is an ongoing problem that Toyota is well aware of. I see from a nyt article that it has been reported to your Agency but you haven't taken action. I believe you should, because losing a headlight is a danger to the driver and to oncoming traffic. It seems doubly unfair that a driver can be cited for a violation that is beyond his/her control. I contacted the dealer who said it would be $385 to replace the light bulb have not gone in for the repair, it's expensive and from what I've read, the problem may be electrical rather than a burned out bulb. These high-intensity discharge (hid) headlights are not an option on the car, it's the only bulb that fits the Prius, but if the problem is electrical then changing the bulb for $385 will not stop the headlight unit from shutting off again without warning, sometimes in dangerous situations. Please take Toyota to task for this, they know the problem exists but they are passing the buck to the owners without guaranteeing that the problem will be solved and we'll be safe driving at night. Toyota has known about the faulty brakes, the sticking gas pedal and headlights suddenly turn off, what else are they hiding from consumers? it's time for NHTSA to step and force Toyota to fix our headlights before tragic accidents happen.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #101

Feb 052010


  • 55,000 miles
To whom it may concern, I am writing to file a complaint about the short lifespan of the hid headlights of my 2008 Toyota Prius. After less than a little over two years both headlights require replacement as they have been shutting off while driving on the interstate/surface streets resulting in being pulled over by the highway patrol and local police departments. The failure of the hid headlights represents a serious safety issue for both myself/passengers in my vehicle and surrounding cars driving next to me on the road. For such an expensive vehicle (over 28K sticker) - the headlights should have a longer lifespan than a little over two years. I have brought my vehicle back to the dealership and have been informed that each headlight costs near $200/each and would require an hour and a half labor to replace them as the front bumper needs to be removed to replace the headlights bringing the total replacement cost to near $600. For a company that touts having such high quality and being so eco-friendly - you would think that they would use parts that lasted much longer and were not so expensive to replace? it is nonsensical that Toyota has designed a car with headlights that require professional installation and cost near $600 to replace. The short lifespan and expense of the hid headlight replacement should be enough to warrant an investigation. Any assistance that you can provide is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

- Cave Creek, AZ, USA

problem #100

Feb 042010


  • 45,000 miles
My 2008 Toyota Prius, touring edition with hid headlights: The passenger-side headlamp goes out intermittently after initial ignition at start. Turning off the headlamps momentarily will restore illumination, but it will again malfunction after 20 minutes or so. Other exterior lamps will also shut off momentarily without indication or reason. Toyota refuses to admit their defect, which could prove very dangerous.

- Jackskonville, FL, USA

problem #99

Feb 032010


  • 51,000 miles
I purchased a new 2008 Toyota Prius in Oct. 2007 with hid headlights. It is currently 28 months old and has 51K miles. The hid passenger headlight just prematurely burned out and I must have it repaired in order to safely (and legally) drive at night. This is a known Toyota defect that needs action to correct.

- Ramona, CA, USA

problem #98

Jan 052010


  • 46,000 miles
I purchased a new 2008 Toyota Prius in June 2008 and had several major issues with the auto. Currently, I have a problem with my headlights. They flicker and now the driver side headlight does not stay lit. Initially, Toyota said that I would have to pay for the repair because although I have only had the car for approx 19 months, I have exceeded the 36000 mile warranty. They wanted almost $300 to change a light bulb! I complained and was told to call their 800 number by a repair tech at the dealership. I did. Meanwhile, the dealer offered to do the job for 1/2 price. I said that I would like to think about it and was then contacted by Toyota of N.a. concerning my call made to them. They knew about the dealer offer and asked if I was happy with that offer. I told them that I believed the repair S/B done for free. They then told me that the 1/2 price offer ┐could┐ be retracted if I wasn't happy with it. Toyota wasn't going to waste "good will" money on a customer that still wasn't happy with their offer. I indicated at that time that I wanted to think about it but when I called the dealer the next day, I was told that the offer had been retracted due to a call from Toyota N.a.. I never indicated to them that I wasn't going to take the offer but I do believe Toyota has a serious defect with the electrical system on 2006 ┐ 2009 Prius cars. I have researched the issue and found numerous owners with the same defect! I also have direct knowledge of a Prius car with defective headlights that have failed twice in the 1st two years of ownership with as little as 45,000 miles on the car! that Prius is on it third set of headlights!

- Warrenton, VA, USA

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