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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 22 of 24)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #57

Sep 072009


  • 36,600 miles


I have a hid headlight on a 2008 Prius that appears to flicker and then goes out. The problem seems to be intermittent and was brought to my attention by a policeman. When I start the car at home the headlight comes on brightly. A few miles down the road the problem starts. Repair cost is very expensive.

- Mission Hills, CA, USA

problem #56

Mar 102009


  • miles
I have a 2008 Toyota Prius with high intensity discharge headlamps, and more often than not they both go out randomly, I have to turn them off then on again to get them to work as many as 5 times an hour of driving (commuter), this problem really started to be an issue back in March when the left headlamp consistently kept going out. Now I brought it in for service and Toyota will cover it this time but although my car is 1 year and 11 months old I have almost reached the 36,000 mile limitation. After which this repair will cost me approximately $1000. I do have Toyota extra care warranty for 8 years or 125,000 miles and the will not cover such issues even if they are due to defects. I am concerned that if this becomes a consistent problem it may cause an accident. I commute daily approximately 50 miles and I always return from work at night. I will get the old set of lamps back from the dealer for analysis if needed. I really think that this concern should be of utmost importance because it has the potential to cause serious injury if it is not corrected.

- Wayne, NJ, USA

problem #55

Oct 052009


  • 30,000 miles
Safety issues with Toyota 2008 Prius headlight system. After living with poor headlight illumination and other headlight issues for about 19 months, I am registering what I consider to be significant safety issues. Headlights: 1. not bright enough. 2. cannot be aimed to give distance illumination 3. blink off driving at night I have made numerous, mostly unresolved, trips to the dealer where we bought the car new. 1. it took two trips to the dealer, to resolve problems with the automatic system for raising and lowering the headlights. I was told the assembly has no shielding or seals to protect it from physical or corrosion damage 2. after alignment adjustments, the headlights continued to be aimed too low. With low beam they are so low that a pedestrian, bicycle, animal, more than about 30 feet away is very difficult to see at night. The high beam setting is somewhat better. We have had several close encounters with deer standing on the road and seeing them barely in time to avoid them. On several occasions I have not seen bicycles or people walking on the edge of the road in the dark again, avoiding them at the last second. The high beam the headlights are not bright enough to cause anyone to flash back at me when they approach from the opposite direction. I have the (expensive) high intensity lights. They have investigated auxiliary headlights for me but have nothing to offer, suggesting I go to an aftermarket person to install additional lights. (I am reluctant to do this, for reasons of complexity, and potential legality.) 3. I have made three additional round trips to the dealer for the problem of headlights (high and/or low beam) that turn off for no reason after driving a short period of time. Luckily it is just one┐.usually but not always the right side. One ┐computer┐ has been replaced. The dealer's service shop personnel indicate all these are problems they have seen previously and are characteristic of the car.

- Bar Harbor, ME, USA

problem #54

Oct 022009


  • 44,000 miles


Toyota 2008 Prius hid headlights randomly turn off (one at a time, usually not together) while driving at dawn, night or dusk. No repairs done at this time until Toyota or the vendor who supplies Toyota hid headlights, computer chip, electronics, software, sensors, etc. Evaluate why this is happening. The workaround is drive to the side of the road and stop, and to unsafely turn the light switch off, then back on. It is unfair to the consumers to pay for replacement components, labor when the manufacturer(s) does not understand why this is happening (based on talking to service rep in July 2009, no service bulletins from Toyota, at airport Toyota in vandalia, oh).

- Cridersville, OH, USA

problem #53

Sep 222009


  • 39,400 miles
Passenger-side hid headlamp failed on my 2008 Toyota Prius at ~36,400 mileage. Took it to dealer 2 days later and they said problem could be lamp or computer and that both were expensive ($300), but since lamp was on they could not investigate the problem. I took car back and once again light dimmed then flickered off while driving. I did some reading and found that this hid failure is a well-known defect on second generation Prius. Current mileage is 36,900 so not under warranty. Placed call to manufacturer to find out if there is any remedy for this defect and they will get back to me w/in 24 hours. I will have to get a replacement since it is unsafe to drive at night in semi-rural area with on-again/off-again headlights. This is a safety issue and I hope we don't have to wait for a fatality, like with the floormats, to get some action.

- Highland Mills, NY, USA

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problem #52

Sep 042009


  • 39,000 miles
I have a 2008 Prius with about 40,000 miles on it, the headlamps are turning off randomly. I quickly flip the switch off, then back on and they remain on for about 2 minutes, then fail again. Very dangerous when on country roads. I keep the fog lights on as back up. Just got back from dealer and they told me $400 to replace. Ouch! I decided to take the risk and keep on driving due to the extremely high cost and no decent guarantee after the install.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #51

Sep 152009


  • 50,000 miles


Both headlight bulbs will go out when the vehicle is hot. It can be one at a time or simultaneously. Additionally both tail light bulbs stopped working approximately 1 week prior. When the rear bulbs were replaced the headlight problem seemed to worsen.

- Valley Stream, NY, USA

problem #50

Aug 062009


  • 31,000 miles
2008 Toyota Prius headlight failure--headlights will go out at anytime. Driver switches lights off then back on to regain headlight. Dealer said it is a failure of the high density lamp assembly. Entire assembly replacement is the only repair. Cost of assembly is 250 dollars and 50 dollars to remove & install.

- Middleboro, MA, USA

problem #49

Aug 252009


  • 38,000 miles
2008 Toyota Prius - hid headlights. Lights turn off independently and intermittently. Sometimes one, sometimes both. Restarting vehicle will resolve problem temporarily, but they usually fail again. I contacted Toyota experience hotline. A case manager stated that this is normal behavior for these headlights when they are starting to need replacement. This vehicle had 38000 miles when problem started. If the behavior were normal, wouldn't it be in the owners manual? a normal behavior wouldn't create such a safety hazard without some kind of warning light. For instance, when my tire pressure is low, a warning light comes on. We were only told to bring it to the dealer for inspection.

- North East, MD, USA

problem #48

Aug 312009


  • 40,000 miles
Headlights on car go off while driving. I have to keep turning the switch off and on to get them back on. This is happening more and more. I will be driving on a dark road with no streetlamps and my headlights will go completely out. All of a sudden I find that I'm driving blind.. I have found that other Prius cars are having this same problem. I have a 2008 Prius with 41,000 miles on it. It's scary and very dangerous:

- Titusville, FL, USA

problem #47

Oct 012008


  • 25,600 miles


Hid head light goes off while driving in Toyota Prius 08.

- West Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #46

Sep 062009


  • miles
My 2008 Prius frequently had failure of one and both headlamps at the same time. I was unable to bring them back on by turning them on and off. They would reset after vehicle sat for a time.

- Peoria, AZ, USA

problem #45

Mar 012009


  • 42,088 miles
2008 Toyota Prius pkg 6...lost power at 65mph...engine shut down and I lost control of car...pulled over...lights said there was no fuel but I had refueled earlier that morning. Took to dealer...could not find a problem. Also, hid headlights intermittently don't work...very unsafe...has caused trouble with police...I am beyond irritated with Toyota.

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #44

Jul 012009


  • 35,000 miles
We have 2008 Prius that first began having left headlamp go out when driving, we would have to pull over safe place along road turn mess with turning headlights on and off... created unsafe driving remainder of trip, aprox 200 miles night drive to get home with one headlight... not good on Montana roads with wildlife prevalent on roadway... dealer replaced under warranty... two weeks later same trouble with right headlight while driving home at night from spokane wa. To bigfork, mt again dangerous 5 hr drive at night on freeway with poor visibility... this time dealer said they needed to replace both the right headlight and a computer sub assy... help.. both instances caused unsafe driving conditions, night with only one headlight with lots of wildlife crossing the hwy... and it is important to know we can not simply pull into service station and replace the headlight, it is a dealer only item that we are told involves removing the front bumper to replace...

- Bigfork, MT, USA

problem #43

Jun 092009


  • miles
Headlight failure, had to have replaced. The part was covered by warranty but labor for $700 was not.

- Tustin, CA, USA

problem #42

Aug 012009


  • 36,020 miles
Both the driver's and passenger's side high intensity discharge (hid) headlamps in my 2008 Toyota Prius have been flickering while driving over the last several weeks, creating a sudden unexpected hazardous limited visibility condition. There is less than 40,000 miles on the car, which I bought brand new from the dealer in November 2007. Toyota's warranty does not cover the exorbitant repair cost of the prematurely expired hid bulbs, though there have been over 400 complaints against this defect. Therefore I am filing an official complaint, and a suggestion for a full investigation into the possibility of a recall of the hid lamps.

- New Rochelle, NY, USA

problem #41

Apr 102009


  • 32,000 miles
In the 2008 Toyota Prius "touring edition", the hid (high intensity discharge) lamps fail at a more rapid pace than their standard halogen counterparts. When they do fail, they fail without warning and can be turned on intermittently, giving the impression of a loose bulb or wire and delaying repair. If the headlights are outside of their extremely short warranty period (only 36,000 miles), Toyota also wants over $500 in parts and labor to repair these nigh-impossible-to-replace light bulbs, per bulb, even though the bulbs only cost about $123 each from a third-party supplier ($215 through Toyota). Because of the false sense of security caused by the appearance of a loose wire or bulb, and the reluctance to shell out $500 for repair, many drivers will choose to wait on repairs. Shortly after the first bulb fails, less than 2000 miles in my case, the other bulb will fail, most likely because of an imbalance in the high-voltage hid system.should this happen at night, it could pose an extreme safety risk to the occupants of the vehicle. I recommend that a recall, or possibly a warranty extension on the headlights, be issued with all haste.

- Sandia Park, NM, USA

problem #40

Feb 012008


  • 32,000 miles
Hid headlights have performed poorly, dim - particularly on high beam, since it was new. Now left headlight only works intermittently.

- Healy, AK, USA

problem #39

Apr 092009


  • miles
Head lamps went out with only 30K mile and both went out within a week of each other costing me 1K to repair.

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #38

May 152009


  • 33,000 miles
About 33K on my new beloved '08 Prius my left headlight went out as I was pulling into my garage. The next morning it came on just fine. I noticed a decline from there. A few days later the right one went out and on a Sunday trip about 2 months later both headlights flickered. I found that in the interim turning them off and then back on again helped sometimes. Now the lights are out and I cannot drive at night or in the rain! the first dealership said they couldn't replicate the problem, so they couldn't fix it under warranty. They said they could replace the headlight, but at my cost. It doesn't seem like the light itself is the problem (why would it then come on after turning it off and on again?)

- Cherry Hill, NJ, USA

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