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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,272 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 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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2008 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #25

Jun 012016


  • 26,500 miles


Trunk/hatch release--rubber piece, has gummed up for the second tim. It was replaced once by a recall--now what?

- Palmetto, FL, USA

problem #24

Jun 012014


  • 85,000 miles
The rubber rear hatch door release button on my 2008 Toyota Prius started to degrade and become sticky in hot summer weather. I originally thought that the latch was sticky and greasy because dealership service people had opened the car with greasy hands, but then the latch button cover became stiff and difficult to press a few months later, when the weather turned cold. This became a real safety hazard when I loaded the car completely full of my belongings on a cold night to move cross-country the next morning, and the door latch was so stiff and brittle from the cold that it cracked and broke, but the hatch wouldn't open. My chains, spare tire, tools, jumper cables, etc. Were all stuffed back there, completely unreachable from the front because the car was full (one of the items was a bed frame, which probably could not be removed without opening the rear hatch). Needless to say, I didn't feel very comfortable starting a 2-day cross-country drive on winter roads the next morning, without access to my emergency equipment. Eventually, the latch button started working again, but it remains cracked, hard in the cold, and gooey in the summer. I am hoping to replace this part as soon as I am able to spend the $300500 that the dealership charges for this repair. This latch button is clearly defective and was tested for neither cold (<40F) nor warm (>80F) weather.

- Evergreen, CO, USA

problem #23

Oct 022015


  • 105,550 miles
The latch handle on the hatchback has disintegrated. It is getting harder to open hatchback.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #22

Oct 162013


  • 70,000 miles


Trunk latch handle is a sticky mess. Leaves black marks on fingers. Fix this problem Toyota!

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #21

Jul 022015


  • 149,000 miles
When driving vehicle in warm weather it slips on its own from drive to neutral. This happens while driving down the road. In order to continue you have to hold the gear lever in D or else it slips back into N which of course causes you to lose speed. This happens if you stop at a stop light and then try to go. Also happens while you are driving down the road. There have been complaints on a Toyota forum (customers) and numerous people are having this problem. Nothing shows up in diagnostic tests. We had our 12V battery replaced because a low charge message came up. Still having same problem. Other posts say it's the shift lever and it is a manufacturer flaw. This fix is another $500.this is clearly a safety issue and a manufacturer issue.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

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problem #20

Jul 012015


  • 85,213 miles
The black rubber is disintegrating and falling off the outside trunk latch, making it difficult to open the hatchback to get to the spare tire or battery. This is also happening to my neighbor, who parks right next to me and also has a 2008 Prius.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #19

Jul 012015


  • 122,000 miles


The rear hatch handle cover - which appears to be rubber - started deteriorating rather quickly in the summer heat about 2-3 weeks ago and has turned into a rubbery, sticky black mess. The deteriorating rubber has interfered with the use of the hatch release handle. A couple of days ago, the car would not start and was completely dead. We discovered that the rear hatch had not closed completely and resulted in an interior light remaining on which completely drained the battery. There are many complaints on internet blogs and chat forums from other Prius owners having the same problem. I believe this could easily result in a safety issue due to the inability of the rear hatch to close properly and potentially opening during operation of the vehicle. My local Toyota dealer charged me $208 to repair/replace the latch. In my opinion, this appears to be a vehicle defect which should require a recall or a warranty extension from Toyota and a refund of any monies paid by Prius owners to fix the problem.

- Owasso, OK, USA

problem #18

Aug 182014


  • 25,870 miles
Vehicle starts, runs for limited time -2-3 mins. Shuts off vehicle starts no electrical visibility on dash.. blank. Vehicle starts with electrical visibility, runs for 3-5 miles, looses electrical visibility. Vehicle starts with electrical visibility runs for 3-4 miles.vehicle stops, shuts off in traffic. Vehicle will not start. Requires jump start, ,. and runs enough to take car to dealer. Vehicle will not start, requires jump start and will not hold charge. Requires towing to dealer. MA 10/8

- Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

problem #17

May 212012


  • 53,000 miles
The black hatch release on my 2008 Toyota Prius has melted making it very difficult (sometimes impossible) to open the hatch. Toyota is apparently aware of this problem yet refuses to issue a recall. The cost to replace with part exceeds $300. This is a safety issue as doors need to function properly on a vehicle.

- Bainbridge, GA, USA

problem #16

Jun 272015


  • 235,000 miles
There is a glass area below the lip of the hatchback, that exploded when shutting the hatchback. The glass was not hit by any object inside or outside the car. Glass just exploded.

- Toms River, NJ, USA

problem #15

Jun 222015


  • 57,000 miles


2008 Prius will not shift into gear. The shift gears pop back into 'neutral' position and will not stay in 'drive' or 'reverse' making it impossible to drive.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #14

Jul 012014

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
The liftgate glass release switch cover has turned into a black blob and makes it impossible to get into the trunk to access the spare tire and any safety equipment on board. This problem has been reported by many 2007-2008 Prius owners.

- Ellicott City, MD, USA

problem #13

Mar 032014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
The back latch of my 2008 Toyota Prius has degraded ("melted" almost). It no longer functions properly, and I am unable to open the back hatch door easily. Sometimes it requires considerable effort and perseverance to get it open. I am concerned that in the case of an emergency, I will not be able to get the door open. This is a major cause for concern and it is a serious safety hazard. The item in question is a rubber pad, about 1" X 3", located facing down on a horizontal surface of the trunk lid, just above the license plate. It covers a momentary contact switch. When you depress the switch, through this rubbery pad, the computer checks to see if there's a key in the vicinity. If there is, the automatic latch for the trunk is activated and the trunk opens. The rubber pad deterioration interferes with the functioning of the latch and Toyota refuses to address this issue proactively in spite of numerous complaints related to the defective materials they have used.

- San Ramon, CA, USA

problem #12

Feb 282013


  • miles
As an active duty member of the military, I move frequently. My mailing address was at address "a", then I moved to address "B" nearly two years ago. Since the move, I have received several mailings at address "B" from Toyota dealerships (spam mail, flyers, etc.) and from Toyota corporation (pending recall notices). I recently received at address "B" a notice from Toyota corporation that there was an upcoming recall for my vehicle's steering shaft and water pump. The actual recall notice, with instructions on how to receive repairs at Toyota's expense, was just mailed last week to address "a". I still live at address "B" and never changed my address back to "a". fortunately, the current resident of address "a" forwarded the recall notice to me, at personal expense. It's hard to imagine how Toyota could accidentally revert to an earlier address only for the mailing notice that costs Toyota time and money. I went to the Toyota website to update or verify the address they have on file for an owner. Before an owner can access that information, the owner must read through a lengthy "terms and conditions" agreement and provide an E-mail address so that, among other things, Toyota can send "offers". I'm not interested in additional "offers" from Toyota, nor permitting an open marketing agreement with them. I would only like my defective product repaired.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #11

Jan 252012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 99,000 miles
Passenger headlight suddenly went out. Will come back on momentarily if you turn lights off and back on.

- Gaylesville, AL, USA

problem #10

Jul 152010


  • 35,000 miles
(transmission problem) in a hot summer day where temperature was above 98 degrees, while in drive, the gear will not stay in drive and switched to neutral. It happened while I was going thru an intersection, it could have caused an accident due to this unexpected change from drive to neutral even though I had my foot on the accelerator. Since that first incident, it happened infrequently, but several times during the last two years and only during the hot summer months. When it does happen, it would not stay in drive, reverse or go into park, it just default to neutral. The only way to keep it running is by manually holding the gear handle to drive or reverse. This can be a dangerous condition if it happens in the middle of an intersection without understanding how to keep it in drive manually. I have mentioned this to Toyota dealer and their answer was that they have no other complaints. I think an investigation should be initiated on this defect to avoid potential loss of life. There is a forum on the internet with other drivers relating their similar experiences:

- Garland, TX, USA

problem #9

Feb 272011


  • 100,667 miles
After a vague sense that both head lamps were sometimes going dark, I noticed that the passenger side was "out" and had it replaced at a cost of $245 for parts and labor. Now the other bulb is going dark on and off. If dark, it can be made to illuminate by turning lights off and back on. Bulb most often goes dark at speed.

- Danville, CA, USA

problem #8

Feb 182011


  • miles
Problem: Rear right wheel stud broken. I removed right side front and rear wheel lug nuts to rotate tires using the Toyota supplied lug wrench. Switched the tires and reinstalled the lug nuts. However one lug nut on the right rear wheel would not tighten. After a couple turns I decided to remove the other lug nuts on the right rear wheel to see what was wrong. One of the lug nuts fell off when I attempted to remove it. Inspection revealed that the wheel stud had broken off about 1/2 inch from the wheel flange. I pressed the broken stud from the wheel flange and installed a new stud purchased from the local Toyota dealer. This kind of failure, if it were to happen during vehicle movement, could result in a catastrophic accident. I have the broken stud and lug nut in my possession. Looks like a cyclic fatigue, something that should never occur in this application.

- Simpsonville, SC, USA

problem #7

Jul 102009


  • 15,000 miles
On 3 separate days, 2 during the summer of 2009 and 1 during the summer of 2010, our Prius transmission has automatically and repeatedly shifted from D (drive) to N (neutral) without warning while the car was moving. All incidents happened on extremely hot days (temperatures near 100) in the afternoon after the car had been parked out in the sun and without us having made any accidental contact with the shifter / drive selector while driving. This created dangerous situations several times as the car erratically slowed as we entered intersections or pulled out onto busy streets. Our initial response was to depress the accelerator, but when this had no effect, we discovered the transmission light had moved from D to N. it was especially dangerous when making left hand turns on busy streets with oncoming traffic. We discovered that we could keep the car moving by constantly holding the shifter / drive selector lever in the D position. Turning off the air conditioner did not help the problem. After the first time this happened, we took the car to the dealership to investigate the problem, but the service technicians there were unable to reproduce it. This glitch remains a concern to us because the loss of power and acceleration is unpredictable and therefore dangerous, but at least we know we can keep the car moving by holding the shifter in the D position. Because the car is so computerized, I suspect an electronic component of the drive system may malfunction at high temperatures. The mileage number I gave is an approximation since I didn't record the actual mileage when this first happened, but the dealer who serviced the car shortly thereafter should have that information.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #6

Nov 152010


  • 43,000 miles
Headlight goes on, then goes off. Won't stay on. I was informed the other one could go out at any time, so I should replace both, at great expense. I was told by Toyota that the hid headlights were covered under the regular warranty, but not the extended warranty. Bulbs (especailly those costing $300) should not burn out or randomly flicker on a two year old vehicle. To prevent future/additional problems, I had to replace both headlights, including the one that was working. This is a definitlely safety issue...I check bulbs regularly, and all are working when I turn the car on. Obviously, I can't check while I'm in motion - which is when they flash off - and was fortunate that both bulbs didn't burn out at the same time, which could have resulted in a crash, injury or accident (or worse) that I would have been liable for.

- Newington, CT, USA

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