Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

7.9

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$680.00
Average Mileage:
87,426 miles
Total Complaints:
75 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (48 reports)
  2. replace lights (14 reports)
  3. replace headlamps (8 reports)
  4. replaced headlamp (3 reports)
  5. replace lights, assemblies (1 reports)
  6. Toyota made me buy a new headlamp at 36300 miles (1 reports)
2008 Toyota Prius lights problems

lights problem

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2008 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #75

Aug 082016

Prius

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,550 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

This is a very dangerous as now both head lights and running light go out!

- , Modesto, CA, USA

problem #74

Apr 142016

Prius

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Getting ready for a 12,000 mile road trip, I took my Prius to the dealer for oil change, routine care, inspection, and so on. Everything checked out well. I put on a new set of tires. Two days later, one headlight went out. I made a new appointment, and got in the afternoon before my trip. They replaced the bulb. I asked them to replace both so I wouldn't risk the other one going out during my travels all over Canada and the U.S. (Starting from Alaska).

On the way home from work that evening, a driver coming from the other direction blinked her lights. Uh-oh. That was a mile from home. When I got there, sure enough, that left light was out again. Now I had a problem. I was to drive 300 miles to the Canadian border the next morning. The border guards almost always check headlights, as the law in Canada is to keep them on at all times. The dealer was an hour in the other direction, even if I could have gotten on their schedule that quickly. I was anxious about it, but I drove up to the border town, Tok. Maybe I could get this taken care of there, quickly.

I arrived in Tok at 4:30 Friday afternoon. At the gas station/garage, the fellow said all the mechanics had gone for the weekend, but there was a place down the road that might still be open. The place down the road did not inspire confidence in me. The fellow there took a look, fumbled around a bit as though he'd never seen a Prius before. He said the parts store was closed until Monday. His opinion was that the mechanics who put the bulb in handled it with their bare hands, and their skin oil caused a hot spot which caused the bulb to burn out. OK then.

Since I had made online hotel reservations, prepaid, all through Canada for the next week, I chose to drive on to the border and take my chances. I was lucky that day. The border guard asked me a couple of questions, glanced at my passport and waved me through. He didn't even ask for my expensive dog health certificate. Whew!

Well, 10,000 miles later, I'm in Seattle, and headed back across the Canadian border. I don't want to push my luck again. So far, I've driven exclusively during daylight hours, using my parking lights as highway compliance. I need to try to get the light working now. After reading the numerous complaints about this as a common problem, I'm very discouraged. I have planned to drive this car, which I love, for quite some time. Toyota!!! You should have issued a recall on this.

- , Palmer, AK, USA

problem #73

Apr 042016

Prius

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

The headlamp failure in this Prius has now occurred for the 6th time. The first two times were covered by warranty - all subsequent failures I had to pay the cost of replacement. This must be a design flaw and Toyota has not responded to the many complaints that they have received on this problem.

- , San Jose, CA, USA

problem #72

Nov 142015

Prius

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

The left headlight will intermittently go out. Sometimes you can be driving down the road with both headlights on when the left light will go out after making a turn. The light will sometimes come back on if you turn the lights off, then back on.

- , Abingdon, MD, USA

problem #71

Sep 262014

Prius Hybrid

  • Manual transmission
  • 138,965 miles

i started having issues with my headlights going out ... started on the right at first with a bad headlight which was replaced and seemed to go out randomly ... started to happen more and more over time .. my x had a crash which then most likely knocked something lose but im not totally positive.. this made my right headlight completely fail and the left to short out flicker or shut off randomly making it extremely dangerous and kinda deadly for me to be driving and with what i do for work and on the daily basis consists of a lot of driving... i finally replaced the bulb in headlights both right and left but was extremely disappointed in my online buy when one light turned green and another purple so i then put in whatever bulb i found that had been previously taken out.. after that the left side went out and flickers off alot i am constantly having to turn my lights on and off .. and they only work with my brights on... with the amount of healight problems for this year you would think it would get fixed and that toyota would put a recall on it

- , Topanga, CA, USA

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problem #70

Dec 102015

Prius 4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,500 miles

Bought This Pruis in Vencelcia Calif 11/15 after my Highlander blew up on Route 5. It had 74,000 miles on it. I knew nothing about the headlight problem. In Dec. we noticed the left light was out. When I talked to the dealer in Gilroy he told me it would cost $375.00 to fix with no assurance it would be ok. After a great deal of research I find this to be a problem on many Pruis cars of this year. Now I find out it could cost me 900 -1000 dollars per light.

- , Morgan Hill, CA, USA

problem #69

Apr 012015

Prius Touring Hybrid

  • CVT transmission
  • 96,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I READ 28 COMPLAINTS ABOUT THIS HEAD LIGHT PROBLEM AND THEY ARE ALL THE SAME INCLUDING MINE . ALL STATE THAT CHANGING THE BULB DOES NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

IN DIGGING IN TO THIS PROBLEM I FIND THAT THERE IS A HID BALLEST??? AND THIS SEEMS MORE THE SOULTION I DO NOT KNOW IF THERE ARE ONE OR TWO " BALLESTS" AND AT 90 BUCKS AN HOUR I AM HESITANT TO LET THE DEALER SHIP ANALYZE THE PROBLEM. WITH THIS COMMON A PROBLEM TOYOTA SHOULD BE CHECKING IT OUT FOR THE SOLUTION. I REALY LIKE MY 2008 PRUIS AND CONSIDERING BUYING A NEW 2016. BUT I CANNOT SELL MY AND PASS THIS PROBLEM ON TO SOME ONE ELSE. IF I TRADE IT IN WOULD THE DEALER KNOWING RESELL IT AS A USED CAR WITH THE DEFECT NOT FIXED. OR WOULD THEY LOWBALL MY TRADE BECAUSE OF IT.THIS PROBLEM MUST BE RESOLVED

- , DeBary, FL, USA

problem #68

Jan 012015

Prius

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

This has been an ongoing problem which started about one year after I purchased the vehicle. I can remember the exact date it started. I've lost time from work to have the bulbs replaced every couple of months. My mechanic now tells me I should replacement both headlight assemblies because the bulbs have been changed out too many times. These tie into the wiring harness; I'm told is a costly repair. Just the headlight assemblies alone will cost approx. $700.00.

This is serious safety problem! I would think Toyota would be concerned about liability! Wouldn't it be better to do a recall and fix the problem; it would be good public relations on their part.

- , Queensbury, NY, USA

problem #67

Oct 122015

Prius

  • CVT transmission
  • 121,000 miles

I have to use my headlights more now and it is dangerous.

- , Visalia, CA, USA

problem #66

Jan 092016

Prius Touring 4c

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

Driving down highway just after dark, both headlights went out simultaneously. Checked the switch, it was on, and dashboard lights remained on. Fortunately was only a few blocks from home at that point, so when I got there I tried turning lights off and back on - they came on bright and immediately dimmed (but stayed on), which was normal. Checked online first to see if this had been reported by others and found this site - will contact Toyota next.

Update from Jan 23, 2016: Two calls, both lowered my opinion of Toyota.

The short version is that (after consulting with their master mechanic) they 'haven't heard of a problem like this' and would need to run some tests to find out what could cause it. None of the possible explanations Matt gave held any water: Bad bulb? (Not when they both drop simultaneously, and can re-light later.) Bad on/off switch? (not even touched) Bad socket? (Again, not when both go out at once) Bad ground? (Since it IS possible for only one headlight to work, they're grounded separately) Loose connection caused by going over a bump? (no bump)

Personally, I think it's a bad computer-controlled circuit, exacerbated by poor diagnostic capability - he said they can't just connect a diag. computer to it to check the onboard computer unless it's currently failing. That would make it easier, of course, but there should be some basic functions they can test. There isn't even a 'light failure' visible on the dash when light switch is on and headlights aren't - which is another indication that the computer's got dementia (along with the designer).

Mechanic suggested either driving it until it happens again and THEN bring it in while it's not working (yeah, that sounds safe and plausible...NOT) - and try turning switch on & off if it does go out (yeah, I figured that out - only (might) work when you KNOW they're out. That could also contribute to a switch problem) - or I can leave it with them and they'll park it with lights on & engine running until it fails...then begin the diagnosis process, which starts at $105. but goes up at each step after they rule out the easier stuff. Could be hours, could be days, may not even occur again - until of course the bulbs DO finally fail. In which case they'd fix that (at over $300. each), but it wouldn't solve the underlying issue.

------

Took it into another Toyota dealer across town, who also hadn't heard of a headlight issue (other than requiring bulb or ballast replacement 'due to normal wear'. They couldn't replicate the problem, but what they could see appeared OK. Same advice: Keep driving, turn off & on if they go out again (and I can tell), or bring it back when not working.

- , Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #65

Dec 192015

Prius Hybrid

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,100 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

We were starting out on a six hour drive on a vacation and noticed the passenger side headlamp was out. We modified our plans to only drive during the daytime whenever possible, and ordered a headlamp for $49.96 on Amazon.com, so we could replace it when we returned. On the drive back, we noticed that the headlamp had come back on! Then, I did some research and found out that this intermittent headlamp problem is fairly common in my 2008 Prius. Now, I'm not sure if the problem is the headlamp or some type of circuit problem. I will try replacing the headlamp myself the next time it goes out, and see if that fixes the problem. I have heard it is fairly expensive to have it done at the dealer.

- , Los Osos, CA, USA

problem #64

Nov 012015

Prius

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

My left headlight goes out while driving. If I turn my headlights off and then back on it comes right back on, but only for a few minutes usually. This is a huge safety concern and I can't afford a ticket for not having a working head light.

- , Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #63

Nov 132015

Prius LMT 3,2V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

I went out to a meeting and left after dark, had no headlamps. Stopped and played with the switch and headed home. Got a few miles from home and headlamps blacked out and had to drive the rest of the way home with my emergency blinkers on. Frightening!

- , Lone Oak, USA

problem #62

Feb 022015

Prius

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I've been driving Toyotas for YEARS, but the fact that they have issued so many recalls in recent years, and REFUSE to fix this extremely dangerous issue--my headlights cut out completely with NO warning!--makes me reconsider whether I want to buy another potential troubled vehicle from Toyota!

- , Glendale, CA, USA

problem #61

Apr 152015

Prius 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles

Right headlight goes out. It will come back on if you flash the headlights on and off. However, it soon goes out again. I went to my independent mechanic for this. I have a longstanding relationship with this guy, and he's had success in the past. He put a lot of effort in. He changed the ballast once and the bulb twice, but the problem resurfaced almost immediately. I should have don't this earlier, but I googled this recently, and this is a notorious problem with 2006-2009 Priuses. Also got pulled over for this once. Trooper was a nice guy and let me go without issuing a summons. Anyway, I am going to suck it up and go to the dealer tomorrow. If they intend to skin me alive over this, I will be heard.

- , Fishkill, USA

problem #60

Oct 012015

Prius

  • Automatic transmission
  • 203,000 miles

The headlights keep going out while I am driving and this is a huge problem!

- , Henderson, NV, USA

problem #59

Aug 032015

Prius

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

Known formally as high-intensity discharge (HID) lights, they either work intermittently – making nighttime driving a lot more exciting – or fail entirely.

- , Madison, AL, USA

problem #58

Sep 152015

Prius Hybrid 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles

2008 prius nasty light problem. the left rear tail light goes off and when banged on it goes on and the left front marker light also deserves a bang. now we were stopped by mister state trooper approx. two weeks ago, very nice fellow no ticket. we removed bulb and reseated socket. still goes off. called lebruen dealer in canandaigua and was quoted $96 including diagnostic to replace bulb. what!!!!! asked about a recall and was told no recall for that problem. now looka here peoples if you have complaints for head light problems and bang on the light and it works how long would it take to realize you got a problem with wiring for headlights and taillights and banging or tapping especially on the left side. it ain't the bulb . could it be the socket but why the left marker light????? WHY DO YOU IGNORE SUCH PROBLEMS ??? YOU CAN'T HIDE THIS FOR MUCH LONGER. anybody out there with this problem care to weigh in??? the headlight problem you can see but the taillight isn't noticable until someone tells you .but i still have to get it fixed. oh my god!!! i managed to type this without swearing although its very close!!!

- , Livonia Ny, NY, USA

problem #57

Sep 212014

Prius

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

Toyota, you should be providing compensation for this headlight failure. I was on the highway over the mountain pass at night, and my headlights were going out and it was incredibly dangerous.

- , Kirkland, WA, USA

problem #56

Sep 012015

Prius

  • Automatic transmission
  • 158,820 miles

The headlamp is very expensive by itself and replacement requires the front end of the car to come off, so labor is outrageous for fixing a defective leadlamp. This is a known issue in this model year Prius. Why aren't the bulbs cheaper at this point?

- , Stafford, VA, USA

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