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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 9 of 24)

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problem #315

Jun 012012

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles


2008 Toyota Prius. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle headlight issues. The consumer stated around June 2012, he noticed the left front headlight would go out intermittently and come back on. He went to the local dealer and paid $ $203.60 to have the bulb replaced. Soon after, the new bulb exhibited the same problem and on September 29, 2012, the dealer replaced the bulb again at no charge. The problem continued with the second replacement bulb and the dealer informed the consumer, that Toyota would most likely not replaced the bulb again and the problem was likely the left headlight ballast needed to be replaced. The consumer contacted the purchasing dealer, to get their opinion on replacing the headlight ballast, and he was informed the problem was in litigation and as a result, Toyota could not take responsibility for the issue. On December 27, 2012, the dealer replaced the ballast at a cost of $331.24. Recently, the right headlight turned on and off intermittently. The consumer was advised not to replace anything else, until he heard from Toyota.

- Sonoma, CA, USA

problem #314

Aug 032009

Prius 4-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
Headlights intermittently turn off while driving or parked. Headlights must be cycled off, then on to make them work again.

- Valencia, CA, USA

problem #313

Mar 132013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 96,615 miles
When I started the car, the lights on the dash didn't come on so I could see how fast I was going or how much gas I had. I called the dealership and they said it's due to cold weather. After 15 minutes, the dash lights came on. Toyota suggested I could get the issue fixed for $1500 but it wouldn't be easy to get the part. Could take 30 days or more and may not 100% solve the issue.

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #312

Mar 092013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 78,217 miles


The headlights have intermittent operation. Function does not seem to be based on time, weather, or speed. It poses a safety threat when driving on the highway at night. The bulbs have been repetitively changed but the problem persists.

- Palm Desert, CA, USA

problem #311

Feb 012012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Approximately February of 2012 my headlights began to randomly turn off. If I turned the headlights off, and then on again, they would turn back on. However, since this first occurrence, both headlights would turn off. One will no longer turn back on. I have replaced the bulb ($300) and this did not fix the problem. I was told from the Toyota dealership that the headlight computer would need to be replaced ($1800). To date, I have been pulled over approximately 5 times for driving without headlights. This is a huge safety issue. I am terrified that the safety of my two boys, along with myself is at stake. Please investigate this. This is not O.K.

- Pflugerville, TX, USA

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problem #310

Jun 202012


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the headlights failed. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer for inspection and they stated that the light bulbs needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 85,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Agusta , ME, USA

problem #309

Jun 012012


  • 45,000 miles


As I was driving, one of my headlights went out. I bought a replacement bulb, but the next time I turned my car on, the bulb was no longer out. After the first incident, I noticed the lights went out more and more frequently. Many times, both lights went out simultaneously. If I turn the light switch off then back on again, both light work. However, it is temporary and after about three minutes, one or both of the lights go out again. It is creating hazardous driving conditions because it is unpredictable.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #308

Feb 172012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 1,001,001 miles
Both headlights go out without warning, I can turn the headlights back on by turning switch off and then back on. In doing research I have found this is a common defect with the Toyota Prius years 2006-2009. Why isn't this a recall? when getting an estimate to fix is up to a $1,000. I feel like Toyota needs to step up before someone is hurt or dead from an accident pertaining to this issue.

- Fall River, MA, USA

problem #307

Sep 012012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
One headlight went out. Was able to get it back on by turning both headlights off and then back on. Since the first time I have had either the right or left headlight just randomly go out and have to turn off my headlights while driving and back on to reset it. On numerous occasions(maybe about 5 or 6) I have had both headlights go out at the same time and been in complete darkness. Just last week it happened to my 16 year old daughter who was driving, on the freeway, and was very scary. About a month ago, I had my lights on during a dark overcast day for safety and a deputy pulled me over because one of the headlights had temporarily turned off. Told the officer that this is a common defect with Prius(and reported by many) and that Toyota has failed to respond. He shook his head and said he'll remember that when pulling over other Prius.

- Albany, OR, USA

problem #306

Jan 242013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 140,121 miles
This morning when I started my car the dash panel lights would not come on. I drove seven miles to top off the gas(I could not tell how much I had because of the dash being off.)I then could not shut the car off. I drove for about a half hour and my dash lights just came on. When I got to my destination I was able to shut the car off and the dash lights are fine now. This happened once before about six months ago. I see on line that several people have had this same problem.

- Laconia, NH, USA

problem #305

Oct 132010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 41,000 miles


High density headlight on passenger side burned out quickly, after only 2+ years of driving. Dealer garage replaced at no cost - since it was still under the full extended warranty. High density headlight on driver side went out while driving. It went back on later that day, and has been intermittent since, but mostly not working. Just started researching replacement bulb prices when I found out how many people have been having this same issue. Passenger side tail light went out. Wiggling the bulb, socket and wiring got the light working again.

- Kent, WA, USA

problem #304

Jan 172013


  • 68,000 miles
Recently purchased used 2008 Prius. When driving at night I noticed that the headlights shut off intermittently. They go back on by turning lights off and on. This happened three times when driving for 10 minutes on a dark road. Very dangerous!

- Broomfield, CO, USA

problem #303

Jan 152013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 65,929 miles
Headlights will go off spontaneously either separately or together. Sometimes will come back on by toggling the light switch. Can be either headlight when fails singly. Problem is variable but can happen when parked or while driving. Most recent episode both lights failed at 50 mph then after toggling the switch came back on.

- Clearlake, CA, USA

problem #302

Jan 112013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Right hand headlight started turning off intermittently when starting the car or driving at no particular speed. Today the left hand light start remained off when starting the car. It turned on once I cycled the light switch. While driving in the dark experienced both lights intermittently turning off individually and simultaneously about ten times. After cycling the switch the lights would come back on.

- Woodburn, OR, USA

problem #301

Oct 262012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
On several occasions, I have been driving at night and noticed that both of my headlights have gone out. After flicking the on/off switch, the lights came back. I took the car in for new bulbs, believing this to be the cause. The mechanic replaced the hid bulb on the passenger side and when we turned on the lights, the passenger side failed within a few seconds. We tried turning the lights on and off several times and eventually, both lights stayed on. We put the old bulb back in and it worked again, although it failed again quickly and had to be turned back on by flicking the lights several times. My mechanic told me this indicates a problem with the headlight module(s). The previous owner of the car had the entire headlight system replaced within the first year or two of ownership because Toyota of downtown oakland offered to do it free of charge because, as they told her, "all of the headlight components were about to be recalled." This is a major safety issue, and I have several Prius owner friends who are experiencing the same problem with their 2nd generation priuses. I have not heard of any other car that needs new headlight modules regularly and believe this to be a factory defect.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #300

Sep 122012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 21,234 miles
I was driving to work on highway 327 North of highway us 20 and traveling along at 45 mph and all of a sudden both headlights went out. It was dark. I slowed down immediately and turn the headlights off and on again and they came on. I have noticed that at times one headlight turns off or the other. People have told me that I have headlight out and I might get a ticket, but when I check them and one is out I just simply turn the switch off and on again and they usually come on. I thought about changing the headlights but saw a video online that says that is not the problem and there should be a recall. So please check into this before someone is killed.

- Angola, IN, USA

problem #299

Nov 052012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
Intermittenly either headlamp may go out. Turning off and on the headlamps turns the dead lamp back on.

- Shawnee, KS, USA

problem #298

Sep 032012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 23,000 miles
One evening in early September I was driving on a surface street when my passenger headlight went out. I turned off my lights and turned them back on and the passenger headlight came back on. A few days later I was driving on the highway when both ( driver and passenger) headlights went out without warning. I was able to pull over to the side of road; almost causing an accident.I verified the lights were in the on position. I turned the lights off and immediately back on and both headlights turned on. Both headlights have gone out without warning with the most recent occurring this evening on a busy not well lit highway. I have replaced the passenger light bulb with no resolution therefore I have not replaced the driverside light at least every couple days one of the headlights ( passenger and/or driver side light) turns off which require me to turn the lights off and back on to bring both headlights to operational status. Definite safety concern.

- Playa Del Rey, CA, USA

problem #297

Dec 112012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 140,100 miles
I've got a package 6 2008 Prius. The passenger side headlight keeps going out. I can't really tell when or how it goes out since I can't see it. I'll notice it when I see the reflection in the back of another car or is someone tells me. If I turn the bright lights on and off it has no effect, but when I turn them all the way off and back on the light comes back. Sometimes on long trips it will stay on the whole time, sometimes it won't. sometimes on short trips it will go out, sometimes it won't. it is not an event I can make happen. I've taken it to the dealer and they can't make it happen. Dealer replaced both bulbs and it still happening.

- Laguna Beach, CA, USA

problem #296

Mar 312012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 58,500 miles
Someone pointed out that my right front headlight was out. However, when I got home and checked it, the headlight was on. It has continued to go off and on intermittently since then and is getting worse. I've learned from other websites that several owners of Prius models from 2006 to 2009 have had the same problem.

- Pacifica, CA, USA

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